High School: the land of opportunity, college preparation, and overstressed humans.
Kindergarten: the land of boogers, non-matching outfits, and questions. Lots and lots of questions.
Today, Mrs. Frazier gave me the opportunity to come in and work with her kindergarten class, which just-so-happened to have my beaming little Kinderkid in it. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: if you teach secondary and have children, take a day/period off and volunteer to teach in your kid's class.
Not only is the experience good for your child, to see you in the role of an educator, it is crucial to understand what is happening at that level and gives context to conversation that your child brings home. And, if you're as lucky as we are, your child has an amazing teacher that you can learn from while you are teaching the lesson.
I was prepped with the standard that the students would be learning about:
Directly compare two objects with a measurable attribute in common, to see which object has "more of"/"less of" the attribute, and describe the difference. For example, directly compare the heights of two children and describe one child as taller/shorter.
Immediately, I thought about BreakOutEDU, the concept of having students solve a number of clues, then using those clues to unlock a box within a given amount of time. However, knowing that this is kindergarten and those kinds of humans in large groups scares me, I needed to make some modifications. Here is what we ended up doing:
We went over how we can use a ruler, starting at the end and measuring out, making sure to stop when we get to the end of the object, and looking to see what number is there. I have to say, it isn't a whole lot different than how I show the middle/high school kids. True story. The kindergarteners actually listened better than the humans who are 10 years older...
Once that was done, each group had an envelope of "clues" with strips of paper they needed to measure and put into the boxes of the handout. They worked in groups, sharing the strips of paper and measuring each with their own measuring tape.
Something else I learned: given the right amount of guidance, kids can do some pretty incredible things. The groups were sharing, working together, and working really hard to figure out the clues in order to get the lock and box open.
My son's group had the first crack at it, much to my dismay. Nobody wants to play "daddy ball" in the demo lesson, so I was really hoping his group had to struggle through it a bit more...
With the time winding down for the AM class to get picked up, I reminded the class that the words they were measuring needed to form a sentence that made sense, and that's all it took as little-mister-rosy-cheeks made his way back to the lock box with a s-eatin' grin on his face. He said in a confident-yet-sheepish voice, "Hey Daddy, I figuhhed it out."
With the remaining time, the PM class meandered around the room, measuring other objects on the walls, at the desks, and more. I even had a couple kids measure my height (only a 60" ruler makes that tough), shoe length, hands, belly (at that point I shooed them away). Watching their minds wander as they measured was something I will cherish for a long time.
And thank you to all the teachers out there who do the same with their students, making their room a space where kids want to go, are invited to be curious, and leave a better person than when they entered.
Happy "Hey Daddy, I Figuhhed It Out" Fishing