Thursday, March 25, 2010

Creating a Unit Part Five: Wrapping Things Up

So far we've covered picking a topic, planning your time, finding materials, and instruction. Now it's time to wrap up some loose ends. What? You thought we were done? Sorry. . . a teacher's work in never done. It's just a few things, though.

Review. I keep cards from the last few weeks around and go over them with Charlie in the following weeks. So every week he's got new cards, but also some old ones. There are natural ways to review without cards--re-read books from previous topics, sing songs, just point out things that occur naturally. Small children should not be tested. Have faith in yourself, your methods, and your kids. Besides, you'll be back around to this stuff again.

Speaking of which, don't throw anything away! I mean, you can throw away finished craft projects, but don't throw away materials you make. The book, How to Give Your Baby Encyclopedic Knowledge suggests a method where you teach your child one thousand facts and then go back around, and teach those same concepts again while adding a level of complexity. In the beginning you're teaching your child things like, "this is a grasshopper." By the end, you're going over the genus and species of said grasshopper. I'm not saying you have to teach your child a thousand facts, but there's ample evidence to suggest that people learn best when they have prior knowledge of a subject from both the education and neuroscience fields.

My final thought is to think about the activities you did and what worked and what didn't. It doesn't have to be a formal thing, but just consider these questions and that will help you plan better activities in the future.

Rolling cars down the hallway and talking about which ones went far and which ones stayed near. I had to do most of the rolling, though. Charlie's technique sends the cars sideways. You can see some examples of that if you look closely at the picture.