Wednesday, February 21, 2018

mining tools...

My students in 4th, 5th and 6th grades will travel around Arkansas later in the spring. Yesterday we made mineral collection tools for them to use for crystal mining in Hot Springs. The students are under orders to keep them at school so they will be ready for the trip, but that did not stop them from wanting to test them on our own rocks. If you've made something useful, do you not want to test it immediately in your own hands?

I'm attempting to prove a simple point. If you've done real things in school, the artificiality of testing is not required. And if we gave students the opportunity to do real things in the first place, they would love their time in school. So what are the real things that students can be trusted to do that offer educational benefit? I'll not recite a whole list as there are some you will want to come up with on your own. I'll start with these: science, woodworking, music, and athletics.

While waiting for the M-60  bus to LaGuardia on Monday, my daughter asked what the K-8 students in Finland do in Kindergarten and first grade since they don't begin reading in school until age eight. They learn woodworking, sewing, crafts, art, physical exercise and how to get along with each other. Finland ranks 1st in literacy among nations and allows more time for recess than any other European country. The US, despite the huge attention we give reading in schools and at such an early age, is tied for 7th.

Make, fix and create...

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