Friday, November 25, 2016

practice lesson

Froebel's gifts in the Trondelag-Sverresborg Folk Museum
Last night I dreamed that I was required to present a practice lesson before a group of adult observers. My point was to show an integrated lesson that gave the opportunity for cross disciplinary engagement. So I had some materials prepared that would be used in the course of my presentation, but I began by instructing the observers in my own philosophy of education. I have some doubts as to how much good that can do. But the teacher must consider how a lesson might fit the child (or adult learner). Even when a lesson is likely to be absorbed at only a cursory level, it is good to prepare for it to run broad and to run deep.

On Wednesday we went to the Denver Nature and Science museum, and among the many activities they had to do for kids, was a discovery/play room filled with blocks with which to build structures of various kinds. There were many high-tech exhibits, but interest in the simple blocks was high. Some of the children and adults were stacking blocks as high as they could. That's one of the  things that we humans do. To then knock them down is another. Some blocks were made from tree limbs, carefully sanded. These had the bark intact, but  would have been so much more lovely and interesting if the names of the species had been included in each piece. It would have been obvious to most that these special blocks came more directly from the natural world, and an important point was missed when they neglected to lead the users into a multi-disciplinary discovery and engagement. If they had labeled these blocks, children and adults would have been led more deeply into their use.

In the photo above from the Trondelag/Sverresborg Folk Museum in Trondheim, the gift blocks are mixed up. The number 4 blocks are in the number 3 boxes, a thing you might not notice if you are unfamiliar with their use.

This is black Friday in the US and I'm being bombarded by those trying to sell me things I do not want and do not need. We would be a better nation, if we were to learn to make things for ourselves, and the gifts we gave to each other would be more meaningful expressions of our own character, and development.

Make, fix, create and suggest by your example, that others learn likewise.

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