Friday, April 22, 2011

Laugh With Your Students

"Tewks", a wonderful teacher at the Sustainability Academy , in Burlington, VT, told me many years ago that she makes sure she laughs with her 5th grade class at least once a day. This, amongst many other wonderful teaching skills makes Tewks one of the many outstanding teachers we work with in the public schools that host our students in the courses they take as part of their teacher licensure program at S. Mike's. Tewks also teaches in our grad program and was one of my daughter's favorite instructors as she went through her Special Education courses. The Sustainability Academy is one of two elementary magnate school in the inner city district of Burlington Vermont and focuses the curriculum on science education and the idea of a sustainable environment. The other school, The Integrated Arts Academy has a focus on developing the arts.

Yesterday, was the first science class in my Elementary Math and Science course and for some reason there was much laughter throughout the afternoon. One of the topics that generated so much laughter was the students relating tales of the joys and perils of having live animals as an ongoing feature of the elementary school classroom.

Caroline shared her experience of when all the crickets escaped from the aquarium at the back of the room and were hopping, flying and chirping all over the classroom including in some students' hair. Someone else also shared the story of the unfortunate demise of one of the newly hatched Easter chicks the third graders were allowed to take home for the weekend. I also shared the time when the two gerbils I kept in my fourth grade class got out of their cage and one student tried to catch one of them by stepping on its tale as it fled through the door for freedom. Yes, science education can certainly be fun at times.

The picture is of Whitby in NE England where Bram Stoker is reputed to have written Dracula. The ruins of the church of St. Mary on the hill certainly evoke images of sinister events. Perhaps inducing laughter or perhaps not.

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