Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Weaving, and caring for the classroom

I spent the entire day in Sean's classroom yesterday teaching some of the children how to weave. I saw this tutorial on youtube, and studied it in order to teach some of my Sunday school kids a weaving lesson this summer. I mentioned it to his teacher this fall and she was all for it. They've been fingerknitting for a couple of months now, and some are knitting and crocheting. Weaving was a great extension of what they've been doing with yarn.

You can see the tutorial here.

In preparation for the lesson, his teacher gathered sticks from her yard and brought them into the classroom. Each child chose a stick from the bag as they got ready for the instruction. I did it one or two at a time, and in the beginning thought they would enjoy doing it as a team. It became clear we needed to work individually for the sake of time.

I didn't get pics because I had misplaced my camera. Luckily I found it last night, but wished I could have had it while I was there. I'm going back again next week, so I'll try to get photos next time.

It was great to see how the class works as a Montessori class, and watch the teacher in action. There were group lessons, and there were a lot of children working independently on different materials. Two boys were playing a game with money, one little girl was working with the 100 board, and others were on the other side of the room working on things like the life cycle of a pumpkin, days of the week, and other materials.

The teacher is very calm, to the point, and uses techniques that work really well. When she was giving a demonstration of writing, doing the rewrite process, a couple of boys were starting to get restless and were talking. She stopped, said, "I'm going to stop now because I'm experiencing some disrespect. When you talk amongst yourselves while I'm talking that is disrespectful. When you can be respectful I will begin again. If you choose not to be respectful you will have to leave the group and sit alone."
One child spoke again and she called him out of the group and said, "You may go to a chair and put your head down, I'm sorry you won't be able to participate with the group."

One of the things that struck me was how eager and willing Sean was to do his job. I watched as the end of the day came and each child had a job to do.  Sean dusted every shelf, took baskets off the shelves, dusted the entire area, made sure all scissors were put in the basket, that everything was in its place, and moved on to the next area.

Then there was a class meeting. There was a discussion about when the class should be allowed to bring home library books. Several children said when everyone could be respectful of the books, and they talked about what that would mean for the books.

There was a vote, and 17 voted to be allowed to bring books home today. At the end of the meeting they recited a phrase, something like, We took care of this, we took care of ourselves, we took care of this place. (I really don't remember what the first thing was) Then they were called one by one to get their backpacks and line up in groups of either bus riders, or pickup.

I was exhausted by the end of the day. I loved being there, though. I look forward to being in the classroom again next week.

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