Hi, Melissa and others on this train of thought....
I'm all for reading child development articles/books in anticipation of
teaching BUT (and I might be the only one here who thinks this way...which
is OK by me) one must really take EVERYTHING you read with a grain of salt
and a giant pinch of skepticism. If nothing else, experience has taught me
to believe what I have personally seen in the classroom and some of what is
out there to read is just plain bull. Remember that some of these child
dev. writers have been out of the classroom for 15 or more yrs. or have
made observations from isolated groups of kids....nothing to do with what
we as teachers are dealing with in what some of us refer to as "real life".
I don't think the art educators discussing lollipop trees are about
"forcing" anything. I'm a firm believer that kids can learn anything at any
age with the right teacher. Kids are always ready. Maybe the "teacher"
isn't. Can 1st, 2nd grade kids learn algebra concepts like adding
variables? Yep. Can 1st, 2nd grade kids learn calligraphy? You bet! I know
because I've seen it and done both.
Imagine what runs through my mind when a colleague says one of his math
students isn't ready for algebra. I think my esteemed colleague is the one
who isn't "ready"!
I teach middle school and still see the corner suns, m&m birds, lollipop
trees in my 6th graders (and 7th graders if I haven't tackled them to the
I silently bless the few elementary teachers who have taken the time and
energy to teach their younger charges the difference before they reach the
dreaded, fabulous, lovely, funny, mean and bitchy...(pick one) Mrs. K.
I have an art teacher friend who one afternoon (a long time ago) gave me an
excellent thought which changed my thinking and rearranged my teaching
forever. I keep it in my mind every day and every project I
orginate....."kids will give you exactly what you ask of them". If you ask
for little, that's what you'll get. If you reach above their
level...they'll give you that too. Again, I teach mid. school...I ask my
kids for h.s. level in most cases. They give me that with joy and
enthusiasm and confidence. Kids are always ready! Cya.....
Los Cerros Middle School
968 Blemer Rd.
Danville, California 94526