I visited three classrooms last week as a mentor and supervisor for university student teachers. I’ve only just begun several jam packed weeks of school visits and report writing but I’ve already had a great time.
In a grade nine language arts class I listened to the music of Canadian rapper Shad for the first time. I must admit rap isn’t necessarily my genre and I knew Shad only as the host of the CBC program Q. But together with the students I considered the lyrics of his piece Remember to Remember and heard kids discussing among other things alcohol and drug use, life goals, if it is better to be rich or poor and whether we can rise above our past. Later in the class the kids used Shad’s lyrics and a black out technique to create poems of their own.
I also watched grade twos working on a list of things they’d like to do to improve their neighborhood. They are preparing to visit their councilor at City Hall in a couple weeks to present their ideas to him. One idea they have is to create a butterfly garden on their school property to help save the monarchs, but they’ve got lots of other great ideas too. Those seven years olds made me take stock of what I’m doing to make my city a better place to live. There’s a new book just out called Re-Imagning Winnipeg. It is written by adults who have a vision for our city. I wonder what a similar book written by kids would look like?
I visited a group of grade ones who were designing fish nets. My student teacher had a table full of supplies, pipe cleaners, plastic bags, straws, string, wool, popsicle sticks, tape …… She talked about volume and porisity with the kids and showed them the little foam number fish swimming in a tub of water they would need to catch with their nets. The little designers and engineers all went to their seats to draw plans for their nets and then they built them. They were AMAZING! Each one unique and all except one able to trap fish.
My first week of classroom visits has me all excited about the visits that remain. It’s going to be fun!