I recommend you review Rod and Staff science. Each level from grade 3 and up has a pupil edition, helpful teacher’s annotated edition, and tests. I had the opportunity to teach from the latest edition of 7 & 8 and found them very practically useful. Each lesson introduces a concept well, concluding with helpful review questions and activities.…[Read more]
…in grades 1–4… we only have social studies class two days a week for half the year, i.e. on about 20% of the days of school. (This schedule allows more time for reading and language, and is unlikely to change anytime soon.) Our social studies priorities for these grades are building basic geography knowledge and skills.
Peter, I recommend t…[Read more]
A couple titles to extract stories from include
Peace Was in Their Hearts: Conscientious Objectors in World War II by Richard Anderson.
American Mennonites and the Great War 1914-1918 by Gerlof D. Hofman
Mennonites, Amish, and the American Civil War by Lehman & Nolt.
A recent publication is Bearing Witness: Stories of Martyrdom and Costly…[Read more]
Summer may be a good time for your board to review student absence policies before the next term is upon you. An excellent resource to consider as you review your policies is a CASBI recording entitled “Establishing School Absence Policies” Along with its accompanying notes, it offers helpful direction in crafting your own school’s policies.…[Read more]
The refreshment offered by summer activities is a major reason teachers can return to the classroom year after year. In addition to summer classes and workshops, I offer these suggestions for personal summer enrichment.
Choose a subject area to study or read up on…
History: read a biography such as Sandburg’s on Abe Lincoln or a book such as…[Read more]
Numerous schools sponsor some type of “track and field” day at year’s end. I’m wondering if anyone out there has advice on actually developing track and field skills as part of the Phys.ed. curriculum leading up to the year-end events? Or is the day a tradition that has little connection to the year’s routines of basketball/volleyball/softball…[Read more]
Earlier posts on this thread suggested ideas for prompting discussions. As the year winds down, I wonder if anyone out there has a brief story to share regarding an actual discussion that went well. What prompted the discussion, and what was memorable about it?
For example, one 7th/8th grade class, having read a selection about rock climbing,…[Read more]
Tim Elmore’s 2012 book entitled Artificial Maturity notes that today’s children are typically overexposed to information far earlier than they are ready but underexposed to real-life experiences far later than they are ready (p.4). “At six, they act like they are ten; at sixteen they act like they are still ten,” (p.17).
Tim recalls a young c…[Read more]
These comments are intended for daily classroom devotionals rather than all-school chapels:
Students from middle grades and above can plan and lead classroom morning devotions occasionally. The teacher can appoint groups of 2 or 3 students to plan each one. Standard components can include a scripture reading, song and leading in prayer. Resources…[Read more]
Students typically grapple with what to write more than they do with how to write. I’ve found that approaches to teaching writing that focus on technique (use of periodic sentences, active voice, strong verbs, thesis statement, three-point essay, etc.) often frustrate students who have nothing to say.
I’ve had best results with integrating writing…[Read more]
When will I ever use?… reflects utilitarian thinking–something is of value if I can use it (and presumably not worthwile) if it’s of no use. Although utilitarian thinking serves an important but limited role, its focus devalues many important studies.
Motivating students toward the Psalm 111:2 level of studying…
The works of the Lord are…[Read more]
Poems for Memorization (published by Rod & Staff) contains about 300 poems in the public domain grouped into grade levels from 1-10. You can see samples of its contents on Milestone Book’s site:
A sample from Grade two:
In my little garden bed raked so nicely over,
First the tiny seeds I sow, then with…[Read more]
[books] rescued from the storage to which they were relegated from our school library a couple years ago because nobody was checking them out
I found that provocative statement in Peter Goertzen’s Feb. 28th post under “Inspiring Lifelong Reading.” I wonder how many “living books” (defined by C.Mason as a book written in a narrative style that…[Read more]
Your reference to The Battle Hymn of the Republic reminds me of the value of introducing some songs of each era (as appropriate) in the history curriculum. Songs add a powerful heart component to the conceptual aspect of history teaching. The heart-wrenching civil war era is particularly noteworthy in this regard. Consider Longfellow’s I Heard the…[Read more]
I wonder…are you specifically referring to understanding math concepts?
One suggestion: Students are often skilled at following procedures–seeing a demonstration with accompanying explanation (and sometimes even answering questions about what they’ve seen/heard), and then solving problems that fit the pattern that’s been demonstrated. To check…[Read more]
I suspect that the teacher-parent’s personality has much to do with how well it works to have his/her own child as a student. I had all five of my children in secondary classes for multiple years. For the most part, being aware of the fact that this student was my son/daughter was a cognitive experience, meaning that they melted into the class as…[Read more]
The subtitle of Leonard Sax’s 2016 Collapse of Parenting is “How We Hurt our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown-Ups.”
While Sax’s book is directed to parents, many of his comments apply to teachers as well, especially teachers of lower grades. It’s worth reading in its entirety. Several highlights…
a. On pp18,19 he notes that we live in a…[Read more]
A simple but valuable game of visual perception for all ages is SET, which involves identifying sets of three cards out of 12 lying face up on the table. Each player plays for himself, trying to find as many sets as he can. It can also be played solo. Because it lends itself to quiet play, it’s an excellent filler activity in the classroom.
Is your singing repertoire as broad as your curriculum?
It’s common for our students to engage school subjects verbally via the written and spoken word, and visually via printed media or self-created art work. How often do they engage them through song?
While it’s entirely appropriate to teach children a large repertoire of hymns and “sp…[Read more]
The 2018 book The Coddling of the American Mind, explores three great “untruths” that the authors see infusing American childhood and education. Two of them (always trusting your feelings and avoiding risk), are involved in what they describe (p.30) as the rise of “safetyism,” which places sacred value on staying emotionally safe. On pp. 168-170,…[Read more]
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