17 October 2005

A Day of Fives

As expected, I learned a few things about dealing with the younger crowd today. I ended up presenting most of the lesson. This was okay, even if it wasn't entirely expected. The other teacher and I hadn't had any time to plan together.

I had assumed too much on the part of the kids. But the most basic concepts about what makes a "good" experiment (such as only changing one thing) were not part of their minds. Next time I present things with kids, I need to scaffold more. However, I only had 45 minutes today and did the best I could. The kids were more or less into things. They were good sports.

Their teacher told me later that only three of her students last year passed the science WASL last year. She wants very much to do better by her kiddos this year. So, we planned a bit for the future---how she will build on what we talked about today. I'm hopeful for her. She's motivated and cares about what happens in the classroom. She can make a difference.

Other items from my Monday also went well. I'm really learning how to just sit back and listen to teachers talk...and to ask them questions to move their thinking a bit farther...all without judging or being authoritative. One thing that I learned from my conversations today is that teachers want some meaningful recognition. I mean, I know this---but they were specifically talking about their lesson design. After pouring over the information and carefully crafting something---no one sees it but the kids, who may or may not appreciate it. How do I help give them the recognition they deserve?

I wish everyone a pleasant Monday evening. My Sweetie and I are celebrating five years together. Makes me smile, no matter how tired I am.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

But the most basic concepts about what makes a "good" experiment (such as only changing one thing) were not part of their minds.

This is true for a surprising number of adults as well. I work in the software business, where debugging a program is essentially a science project. You don't know why it's not running, so you often end up experimenting to find the problem.

It's crucial, however, that you know which change you made actually led to the fix. If you make six changes at once and it suddenly works, you don't know what the actual problem was. If you don't know what the actual problem was, you don't know if you've really fixed it or just masked it or possibly fixed it for some cases but not in general.

I run into programmers all of the time who haven't grasped the idea of just changing one thing at a time. At first I just couldn't believe such otherwise smart people would be so stupid, but then I realized that a lot of these folks don't have science backgrounds and they just don't have a good familiarity with the scientific method.

Funny how "science" pops up in all sorts of non-scientific places...