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Lesson Plans

Re: First Day

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Tue, 22 Jun 1999 11:10:03 EDT

In a message dated 6/22/99 8:10:44 AM Central Daylight Time, writes:

<< Love to hear from all of you art experts your first day speech (so the
don't fall asleep) and an awesome first day project. What are your rules?
Do you discuss that on your first day with them? (My students seem to
the rules real fast) >>

Dear Jill,
I'm sitting here reading your questions and saying to myself, "Jeez, the
woman is thinking about the start of school and its only June 22nd!" And then
I said to myself, "Y'know, Fred, its really only less than nine weeks from
now and you always put off thinking about this stuff until its almost too
1. Less speeches, more art. I don't know about you, Jill, but I get to see
my k-5 students for less than 30 hours a year. A YEAR! I would guess that is
true for you too. Who has time for speeches? I know you don't really mean a
speech speech. But still, I try to jump right in, start a project, get the
paint flowing and the glue spreading and the scissors cutting. And so do my
students. If I start talking too long, feeling very profound, I start to
hear, "Mr. K, aren't we gonna make anything today?" Our students are, all too
frequently, what the writer, Calvin Trillin, calls the "Tiny Deflators."
2. Awesome first day projects? What I've seen over the summer sometimes
excites me and drives some project ideas. Folks have been talking about the
Chicago Cows. Its amazing the way they've affected people. Of course, they're
fun. But, just walk down Michigan Avenue and look at the faces of people as
they stop and look at them. I was thinking of doing something like this for
the start of school. Big kraft paper cows, or maybe a zoo of animals with
designs and fanciful scenes painted inside. For the older students, I think.
The k-3 kids have a tougher time working as a team, don't you think?
3. Rules. I think it was the educator John Holt who said his only class rules
were, "no murder or mayhem. Everything else is negotiable." Maybe it was Herb
Kohl. I can't remember now. But I do think class rules should evolve in some
ways out of the class experience and the dynamics of the kids working
together. If its not a problem, why have a rule? Maybe we should divide the
issue of rules between the "hard rules" such as No Hitting and Clean Up After
Yourself, and the "soft rules" such as "don't quit after the first solution"
or "how will you ever finish something if you keep starting over after the
first mistake" or "this week sit with someone you haven't sat with before --
you might learn something new from them."

Anyway, thanks Jill for making me think about these things.