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How children really like to learn.

on March 28, 2015

It came to my attention the other day, when my boys( I can have as many as 14 boys and only 3 girls in my classroom at the same time) or all boys(ouch), that when they are engaged (actively learning) they drive or motivate their own questions, ideas, and learning. When I put out something so exciting and new, they are so busy, happy and often ask HOW MUCH MORE TIME DO WE HAVE TO PLAY?One  seasoned teacher told me if the children asked, “Is this right? is this what you want , am I done yet? that isn’t engaged learning.  If I have to ask the child to come over, sit still,  listen, pay attention, and so on, they aren’t learning!  I often reflect on this ideas when the boys are unfocused or wild. How has my classroom management of learning been that day?  It is difficult to really understand HOW to teach children without  xerox sheets, letter tracing, coloring, notebooks, rote memory tasks, but believe me once you understand, the classroom is filled with excitement, happiness, energy and fun for the teacher.

I have so many boys this year, I thought it would be so hard- instead I have taught engineering and math concepts of weight , structure, balance and volume. We have planted a garden, tasted, smelled and pressed everything from mint to lavender. We happily paint everything including rocks, wood and aluminum foil.  We built structures that are as tall as the TEACHER and zoom cars through WRAPPING PAPER  tubes. My classroom is always a mess! It is always loud.  It is always filled with happy children!

IMG_2923 IMG_2926

Look what happens with a tub of water, various items that sink or float, tongs and a net. The children asked for  more tubs. I added a touch of food coloring for each tub to be different colors and different sized items in each tub. I used a 2 minute or 3 minute timer, which one child controlled.  One tub had colored styrafoam balls,stones, jewels and rocks. One tub had animals and heavy alligators, the tub you see in the photos had  ping pong balls that float and  fish that sank. Sorting and scooping  lasted most of the morning. Then they drew what they got out of the  colored tubs.  It is a portfolio sheet under SCIENCE discovery.

A few years ago I studied the results of children who learned in a happy active learning environment. As a whole the results showed the  child’s learning is stronger and they tend to remember more if it is learned in  a pleasant environment, they tend to forget the information that was forced or taught in a negative way, often blocking out all of the information. The memory imprint is stronger and retained at a high level when the child is relaxed and having fun.  Indirect  learning then becomes even more relative to a preschool teacher with her students- make it meaningful and they will learn.  We, as teachers and parents,  are all so worried about our competitive world (meaning kindergarten) that we over do the child’s initial phase of learning.  We forget that building  a strong initial foundation comes  from SELF MOTIVATION and SELF DIRECTED learning.  This doesn’t mean each day is not planned, in fact you need to understand the needs of your classroom even more. You need to build the early educational  foundation within the interests of your children and diversity.  Understanding your state  STANDARDS, driving motivation, building trust and  recognizing strengths and weaknesses in your class will help you build interesting lesson plans.

On Monday go into your class with a happy perspective and enlighten your children- SHOW THEM SOMETHING INTERESTING and see what happens. What questions do they ask, do they ask for additional supplies or materials, do they invent other activities to go with what you brought?  Look at life from the child’s viewpoint.  You will be more relaxed  and enjoy the children more.


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