Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~Elizabeth Stone

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tales from My Grade 8 Classroom

Short and sweet today...I have been teaching about the Industrial Revolution for a few weeks now and I really was starting to feel like the kids "got it". They were understanding the big ideas, how people's lives changed, what it lead to and came from. Until that it is...

Me: "So let's think about some short and long term changes that would come as a result of the innovations and inventions during the Industrial Revolution. For example, what might be a short term, immediate change after the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed and people could travel all the way west across Canada on the train?"

Student A: "Easier transportation of goods and people."

Me: "Yup, excellent."

Student B: "More people would immigrate west into the open land."

Me: "Love it. Anymore?"

Student C: "There would be a lot less pollution because more people would take the train and that would mean that there would be less cars on the road going west."

Me: "Ummm, okay...let's step back a bit and think about this?"

Oh dear...

Sometimes teaching is such an...adventure? I've learned, over and over, that I should never take prior knowledge for granted. Background knowledge is such a powerful thing and I think that teachers, myself included, too often forget that our students aren't bringing as much knowledge as we are to the classroom.

A little knowledge goes a long way and I believe it's not only our job to teach students what they need to know for the future, but what they need to know from the past to help them learn even more in the future.

2 Thinks and Thoughts of Others:

Helen's Book Blog said...

Great story. Reminds me of when I took graduating seniors to Europe for a couple weeks. As we neared Pompeii I said, "Oh look, there's Vesuvius. It erupted in 79" One boy's response? "That's the year I was born!" It took me 5 minutes to get him to realize he was born in 1979 and that Vesuvius was just 79!

Jill of The O.W.L. said...

I've sooooooo been there. Like the time I was helping a student with percentages. After a few he reached one that asked him was 100% of a number was. He had no clue what the answer was! Middle schoolers - gotta love 'em.

Last Words...

Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one's thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe