Monday, January 23, 2017

January 23, 2017





Why Young Kids Learn Through Movement



Children acquire knowledge by acting and then reflecting on their experiences, but such opportunities are increasingly rare in school.

One of my children is spinning in a circle, creating a narrative about a princess as she twirls. The other is building a rocket ship out of a discarded box, attaching propellers made of cardboard and jumping in and out of her makeshift launcher. It is a rainy day, and I’ve decided to let them design their own activities as I clean up and prepare a meal. My toddler becomes the spinning princess, imagining her character’s feelings and reactions. What seems like a simple story involves sequencing, character development, and empathy for the brave princess stuck in her tower. The rocket ship my first grader is working on needs a pilot and someone to devise the dimensions and scale of its frame; it also needs a story to go with it. She switches between roles and perspectives, between modes of thinking and tinkering.

Movement allows children to connect concepts to action and to learn through trial and error. “If you walk into a good kindergarten class, everyone is moving. The teacher is moving. There are structured activities, but generally it is about purposeful movement,”comments Nancy Carlsson-Paige, a professor emerita of early-childhood education at Lesley University and the author of Taking Back Childhood, describing the ideal classroom setup. In the classroom culture, she advocates for, “[Kids] are getting materials for an activity, they are going back and deciding what else they need for what they want to create, seeing how the shape of a block in relation to another block works, whether they need more, does it balance, does it need to be higher, is it symmetrical. These math concepts are unfolding while kids are actively building and moving.”

Research has shown repeatedly that children need opportunities to move in class. Memory and movement are linked, and the body is a tool of learning, not a roadblock to or a detour away from it. Any parent who has brought home a kindergartener after school, bursting with untapped energy yet often carrying homework to complete after a seven-hour day, can reasonably deduce why children today have trouble keeping still in their seats. Many children are getting 20-minute breaks, or none. (In Florida, parents whose children have no recess have been campaigning to legislate recess into the curriculum.) Recess, now a more frequent topic of research studies, has been found to have “important educational and developmental implications.” Schools that have sought to integrate more movement and free play, such as short 15-minute recess periods throughout the day, have seen gains in student attention span and instructional time. As Carlsson-Paige points out, “Recess is not a separate thing in early-childhood education.”


Enjoy,
Ms. Nora Sierra
Early Childhood Assistant Principal


Friday, January 13, 2017

January 17, 2017





Can Movies Replace Books in Reading Class?



Can students' time in reading class be spent as profitably with a bowl of popcorn and a movie as with a novel and notebook?

In central New Jersey, a former school board member and parent are raising questions about the Hamilton Township School District's policy of allowing teachers to use movies for instructional purposes and teaching students reading skills through short excerpts instead of whole books or stories.

Research says that teachers might screen movies or portions of movies in order to stimulate discussion, but that the movies wouldn't be part of the teacher's approach to teaching reading skills.

 George Fisher, a former district school board member, argued in an email to the Trentonian that teachers should not use films to supplant, rather than to supplement, novels, and that asking students to read excerpts instead of whole texts is depriving them of important context. 
Fisher said this approach could lead to ignorance among students. From his email to the paper:

"Text is most certainly not simply a part of a text or a work. It is the book, the work, itself," he added. "A student assignment may well be to analyze a part of the book and compare it to/contrast it to, fit it into the whole of the book. It is not to analyze that 'part' in isolation. How can one do the required analysis of a part without knowing the whole?!"

Fisher writes that, while middle school standards for literacy ask students to be able to analyze live or filmed dramatizations of literary works, they wouldn't permit teachers to entirely replace reading a novel with watching its movie incarnation.

Enjoy,
Ms. Nora Sierra
EC Assistant Principal
Discovery School


September 18, 2017

Why are Stories Important for Children? Stories play a vital role in the growth and development of children. The books they r...