Posted on June 19, 2011
Having just completed the second week of summer school, it appears that students have fully adjusted to routines and have formed small communities of learning. Just reading the recently-posted blogs, each written by the summer school faculty, take note of all the amazing things our children are learning. I continued my class visits this past week and this time found myself staying a bit longer. I happened to catch some of the stop-go animation filming -- what a painstaking process! Made me appreciate the sample that's downloaded on this week's blog. Teacher Kevin Tokuda tells me over 200 still photos were taken to create this 3-minute clip. Then I crossed over into the adjoining classroom where inventors were testing their Rube Goldberg machines. Check out the clips on Ella Garcia Kau's Inventions blog. I was holding my breath each time I watched a marble launched down a tube, following the marble through its journey setting off gears, levers, cars or dominoes!
Even in preschool, the children are investigating different spaces, from ocean and forest to buildings and offices. The teachers are observing this "dialogue" between child and environment and how the children are taking their cues from the environment. We learn so much about children through our careful observations of them. Fascinating!
The assessment form sent home is intended to give parents some feedback about their child's performance (skills), attitude, and effort during the past two weeks. A final assessment will be sent home again on July 1. Even in a short five-week summer school session, there are many opportunities for extended problem-solving because classes meet two to four hours daily. In high school where these longer work periods are referred to as "block scheduling," there is daily evidence of the learning effectiveness of these sustained chunks of time where students can dig deeper into their learning. Project-based learning is alive in all of these summer classes. Children are learning by doing -- writing, reading, measuring, building, discussing, painting, creating, planning, playing -- daily. The weekly blogs, combined with the assessment forms, give parents a good idea about their investment in their child's learning.
Finally, this blog would have normally been posted on Saturday, but even I get caught up in family events! Wedding, jubilee luncheon, Father's Day merriment, babysitting, plus all the chores that come with another weekend. As my summer school faculty remind me, summer school is whizzing by, and we are so enjoying the company of our students.
Happy Fathers' Day to our dads, granddads, great granddads, uncles, godfathers!
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey