Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Different Perspective

Last week I observed one of my student teachers teaching a lesson using the Fundations reading and writing program. It was a first grade classroom and the students were learning how to say and form letters of the alphabet. Now I'm not an expert in the area of reading and language arts so I tend to see these type of activities through the lens of a math/science person.

The lesson involved using four horizontal lines to help children form their letters. At the top was the "sky line" where the tall letter start or end. Next was the "plane line", the upper limit of letters like a,e, c and so on. Next came the "grass" line, the line upon which all letters rest, and finally the "worm line" or the lowest line where letter like g and p finish their tails.

Each line is represented by a picture; the "sky line" by a cloud, the "plane line" by a Boeing 757, the grass line and worm line by grass and a worm respectively. The more I looked at the image of the four lines and associated pictures projected on the screen in the classroom the more confused I became. Every large plane I've ever traveled on has flown above the clouds as in the picture above. I would imagine many of the students in the class have flown and marvelled at all the fluffy white clouds as they look down on them through the window. I wonder if they were thinking about this? Probably not, but it's an interesting example of how the things we spend our time working with bring a specific perspective to how we see the world.

All the Elementary Education majors at St. Mike's are required by the Vermont State Department of Education to take a second major. I wonder if the types of second major the students are studying affects the way they see teaching and education? Maybe I'll ask them.

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