Floating down the Delaware

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 24 2008

we never did this at my old school

that’s what one of my kids told me today. “We never did this at my old school, I love it here

We planted seeds today. The kiddies gobbled it up. Who knew digging a hole and planting seeds could bring them so much joy. I also had them wear their goggles to make them feel more like scientists and let me tell you, there is nothing cuter than a bunch of 6 year olds in goggles. They loved wearing them so much that a lot of them wrote in their science journals with their goggles still on and when they took them off they all rocked out the goggle lines on their foreheads, coming up to me going, “Look Ms S! I have lines on my head like a real scientist!” I’m pretty sure my I Can/I Will motivation strategy is working on them.

One of my classes still gives me agita – they just love to talk. I was late and frustrated going to my next class and told them that Ms S was feeling frustrated and hoped they could cheer me up. We started talking about what plants need to live and grow and one boy, N… raised his hand and said “the sun, water, and food.” I had a whole speech planned about how plants get their food from the soil, involving how you don’t give a plant cereal for breakfast or sloppy joes for lunch and was about to start giving it when A…, one of my brightest, raised her hand and said “but Ms S! Plants get their food from the soil!” I must have gotten a huge smile on my face because the whole class said, “Look! We made Ms S happy! She’s smiling!!” I was sooo close to happy tears. After a rough pretest I was feeling a little down about this unit but it’s amazing how 13 first graders can quickly change my outlook.

Now back to lesson planning…

6 Responses

  1. nbroadsmiths

    Hi Sunshine! We’re all still laughing at the image of your kindergarten gym class trying to hop on one foot! Never fails to brighten the day, thinking back on your decision to stop that attempt at coordination due to them falling down all around you and your telling them “Don’t worry! You’ll get it in first grade!”

    I think your most recent posts demonstrate exactly what you’d hoped for is happening sooner than you would have dared to dream: “your kids” are engaged and responding to being treated as intelligent, curious individuals. Not only are you MAKING a change, Mariel, you ARE a change in their lives. Powerful stuff.

    Someone asked if the kids have asked you where you sleep at night in the school: said it was one of the questions her kids had for her! Told her I didn’t know but that they were impressed that your have friends and a little sister! Ah, the life of a teacher.

    We love you, Miss Smith, and are very proud of you and all your TFA colleagues. The future of your kids looks brighter each day!
    (“Apple pie! Apple pie! . . . “)

  2. msklem

    Well, the joys are small, but they can make your day. I always smile when kids notice that I’ve gotten my hair done – its amazing what they pick up on!

    Lets not mention those dreaded words “lesson plans”….

    Glad all is well and you are thriving!

  3. Mariel, seems we have a few things in common including… we plant seeds with students and your mom comes to our blogs. I hope those seeds sprout soon if they have not already. What did you plant?

    Plants amaze me on many levels. ask your students how water gets to the top of a tall tree?

    get plenty of rest and remember to give yourself time for the things in life that bring you joy. love yourself as you love your students.

  4. Careful careful careful about how you teach about where plants get their food. Technically, the plant’s food is simple sugars which it makes primarily from the CO2 that it extracts from the atmosphere. I know this is picky, but I’ve been learning about student misconceptions in science lately, and this topic is one of them. I actually needed to be “corrected” when I first answered a probe on this topic. You can help set your students straight from the age of six!

  5. Mariel, just came across this at another blog. see if you can fix the situation of misconceptions children (and many adults) have about science


  6. Mariel and A/ Teacher—- funny that my second message came in after yours. I had not seen it. Mariel, since you mention the need for sun in your post I assumed you also spoke of photosynthesis. The truth is most of the mass of a plant does come from converting a gas into a sugar. However, there is a good dose of needed nutrients that come by way of roots.

    congratulations on the results of your second unit.

    I just corrected my second set of bio tests. the one student who failed the first got 100%. while a student who did well on the first got an F on the second. That speaks volumes to me and how I am only slightly in control of the situation.

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The few, the proud, the Camden Corps

Greater Philadelphia
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Elementary Education

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