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Observations from 9/30/09

elovejoy's picture

Observations from 9/30/09

Emily Lovejoy


Today I shadowed Teacher C, a shop and science support teacher at the local friends school where  Teachers A and B teach.  Today, Teacher C had a group of 6 kindergarteners that he was taking around the grounds of the school.  They were looking at the various gardens on the grounds.  Teacher C feels like for students of this age, a teacher must define vocabulary and bring it down to their level.   He has students engage in drawing and coloring activities to see what they have observed in the gardens. 

When he asked his students what they think of when he says "gardens," they responded with a variety of answers:

  • plants
  • flowers
  • vegetables
  • green leaves
  • worms
  • fluff on the stems of plants
  • roots that are brown, look like hair
  • roots that are white and squiggly
  • dirt that feels wet

You cannot have inquiry without basic content.  Teacher C started with basic content on what makes a plant a plant, so that the students could make use of the outdoor laboratory.  He next had students pick two things in the garden that humans are able to eat.  What makes them different than the things we do not eat?  The students tended to say a lot about color.  For example, they mentioned that we recognize different fruits and vegetables based on their color.  They did not focus on their shape or texture.  Perhaps later in the year, the kindergarteners will start to use different textures and properties when describing scientific observations.