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Animals in the classroom? | Posted in Life Science

In preparation to have my own classroom, considering the pros and cons of having a class pet is important. While I agree with past posts that having a pet is a great way to help students take ownership of their classroom, practice responsibility by caring for the animal, and inspire curiosity and research, I also appreciate everyone's advice on precautions and even possible downfalls of taking animals out of their natural environment. Ideally, it would be fantastic for kids to take lots of field trips to partake in learning experiences in the 'real world'. Logistically and financially this is not an efficient option most of the time. So its important to bring a variety of real artifacts and specimen into the classroom to enrich learning experiences. The ethics concern in respect to having animals caged in your class is something important to consider. I think should be a topic of discussion among students before getting a class pet. If students decide having a pet is unethical, I really like the bird feeder option. Bird watching can be done almost anywhere. Catching bugs and then returning them to their natural habitat may also be a good compromise to having a pet. I think its important to demonstrate critical thinking for students and will continue weighing the pros and cons of having animals in the classroom.


Jordan Hammerand

STEM as a "special"?? | Posted in STEM

[size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]Beth and everyone,[/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]You might also post this question on the STEM, earlychildhood and elementary [url=http://www.nsta.org/membership/listserver.aspx]email lists/listservs run by NSTA[/url]. You will add to the conversation and reach even more experienced NSTA members. The responses come to email instead of being archived on a platform but the conversations are just as helpful.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]My experience is with children ages 2.5-5 years old--also a wide developmental range : ) I haven't taught in your situation but over the years I've heard from others who have.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]They say that organizing the materials for 5 classes a day of children in grades K-8 will make your teaching time more productive. [/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]Think about what materials can be left out for subsequent classes. For example, having high shelves where I can quickly move trays of materials used by the 4/5s when the Twos come into the room is essential. [/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]Think about projects that can involve multiple ages at different levels, such as gardening. While middle school students are examining cell structure using microscopes, Kindergarten students can be planting seeds. The [url=Progressions Within the Next Generation Science Standards]NGSS Appendix E[/url]-Progressions Within the Next Generation Science Standards can help us make decisions about what to teach when.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]In keeping with research that shows children learn over time, plan to teach a concept over weeks and months, not just one week, especially the K-2 students.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]I hope your colleagues in the grade level classrooms can meet with you to see how you all can collaborate so science-technology-engineering-math doesn't become isolated from the rest of the children's learning.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]Best wishes for a successful program![/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]Peggy Ashbrook[/font][/size]


Margaret Ashbrook

Learning Science Concepts through Play | Posted in Early Childhood

In the last couple of years, I have learned just how important play is to students. Play is just as important in the elementary grades, as it is for students preschool and below. I have learned that allowing students to play through STEM activities, allows them to work out their problem solving skills, monitor their emotions, and enhance their social skills. I believe that as teachers we need to remember that we can't hover. We need to allow our students to have play time. They need this time to enhance their skills in multiple different areas. One of my favorite play activities that students can do is through clay. I have seen so many different students play with clay, but I have never seen the same creation from a different student. This play can be as simple as having clay on the table and letting them create whatever they want, or it can be as complex as asking them to create different structures to hold something or withhold wind or water. I really like the link that you added! I believe that it is so important to allow students to learn and socialize through play as well as different experiments, and these different experiments would be great in the classroom.


Tera Porter

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