Aug 22

100 Days 100 Books

One of the highlights of the school year in pre-k is counting up to the 100th day of school. We started our count this year and decided to add another element to the count: 100 books.

The students will add a circle a day with the number and the book they feature that day. Stay tuned to this blog for updates and count with us up to 100. We hope to be able to count by 10′s, 5′s, and maybe by 2′s as well.

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Aug 20

Lesson Plans must meet Student Interests

Johann Herbart contributed to the Harbartian movement to introduce and provide class lesson plans for any class size (Spring, 2011, 251). Teachers needed a formal lesson plan with instruction and classroom organization to prepare students for the workplace. With the development of lesson plans, supervisors could quickly glance on teacher activity and evaluate order and planning. Spring stated an idea that “perception is the first stage in cognition, but its equally important correlative is apperception, or mental assimilation” (Spring, 2011, 251). The most effective instructional method is for material to be presented to interest students. Teachers must organize lesson plans with subject matter that is of interest to students. If they are not interested in the material, then they will lack the motivation to participate and accomplish the learning standards.

 Teaching History’s article stated that teachers were confined to departmental lesson guidelines and lacked the freedom to cater plans to student interests. In the article, Simon Montfort welcomed the prepared lesson guides at first but soon became frustrated and struggled with the restrictions. Simon’s mentor worked with the system to coordinate his lesson plan ideas with the structured ones; however, he continued to struggle with the department head’s approval. He and his mentor devised a plan to work with the lesson plans and see a broader picture of the department’s expectations and he could incorporate his plans. Lesson planning must remember, “presentation is organized so that the material is related to previous interests and knowledge” (Spring, 2011, 251). Teachers must use previous experiences and ideas to build upon new material at student interests.

Spring, J. (2011). The American School: A Global Context from the Puritans to the Obama Era. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

This issue’s problem: Simon Montfort is given very little freedom to learn how to plan. (2013). Teaching History, (150), 56-59.

Aug 19

The Existentialist in You

“The teacher should look for the ‘potentiality and wisdom of the person’ and work for self-directed change on the part of the learner” (Ozmon, 2012, 228). In existentialism, the teacher is the facilitator to guide students to discover and explore learning on their own learning styles and levels. Students learn best by doing and the teacher must guard against showing and directing and allow the students to explore and discover to reach their own understanding. As a pre-k teacher, the learner uses existentialism on a daily basis as she serves as class facilitator in allowing students to discover learning centers and activities. She leads students to discover learning on their own levels with the end result to be that of “fully functioning persons” (Ozmon, 2012, 228). She ultimately desires for her students to be successful in the early years of school to high school and on into adulthood. An existentialist gives her students the freedom to grow and explore on their own.

Ozmon, H. (2012) Philosophical Foundations of Education. Boston: Pearson.

Aug 09

Awana – New ESV Curriculum pack Appleseed #NewAtAwana

Introducing a brand new children’s ministry curriculum pack from Awana. This new curriculum comes fully loaded with teaching book, large colorful posters, stuffed animal puppets, shirts, vests, a bag, plus lots more, including stickers, awards, and pens.

The teaching book has Biblical stories as well as real-life modern stories with activities, questions, and review pages. Teachers and families can work together to teach young children in the Awana Cubbies age group, probably best suited for pre-k and kindergarten.

The book has colorful pictures of modern-looking people with whom young children can relate from their worlds. The Biblical stories coincide with the modern stories so children can learn a Bible story and apply the concepts to a modern event.

The large fluffy animal puppets can be used to tell the stories and give children a visual of something to see. Teachers can use the puppets as the storytellers. Young children love to hear stories “told” by puppets and other voices from their regular teacher’s voice. Very imaginative.

The kit also includes collared polo shirts for teachers and t-shirt for children and teachers. There are stickers, notecards, and pens included as well.

This teaching kit has all Christian education teachers and families need to teach a series to young children. However, one word of advice: It is best to teach Biblical principles directly from the Bible, not from a study or lesson book. Teachers must allow children to see them reading the story from the actual Bible to give the Biblical principles validity that they are true Christian Godly principles.

I recommend this curriculum for enhancing and supplementing Christian education lessons. There are many items included in the kit that children can “see” the lesson and Good News.

New At Awana Blogger Box

Aug 08

Social Activists = Reconstructionist Philosophy

The role of reconstructionist teachers is one of being a “social activist” (Ozmon, 2012, 173). These teachers are ones who see things happening in the world, care about things happening in the world, and want to do something about things happening in the world. They must learn to take a bold stand to inform others and work together to devise a plan to improve conditions. To be a change agent in the process takes courage and strong leadership to stand up for radical ideas that often go against traditional views.

Reconstructionists and pragmatists have a similar view of education philosophy by their views of seeing issues to change and devising plans to be the change agents in the issues. Families often homeschool their children because they see issues within the education system they prefer to change or avoid; therefore, they choose to homeschool so they can use their own teaching strategies and guidelines. They choose to homeschool because their children may not be challenged in a traditional school environment, so they reconstruct learning environments of their own. They see a need, care about the need, and work to improve the need. Once these educators complete informed and educational studies of the issues they want to improve, they must work to inform all groups and individuals with whom will play a role in the educational area: schools, administrators, teachers, government leaders, and students.

Ozmon, H. (2012) Philosophical Foundations of Education. Boston: Pearson.

Jul 30

Pragmatism and Homeschooling

Many families choose to homeschool their children for various reasons. Many of these homeschooling families show signs of pragmatism in how they approach these real-life problems in education. Merriam-Webster defines pragmatism as the way individuals approach and experience situations and problems. Families approach homeschooling based on their experiences, educational philosophies, and beliefs. They may choose to homeschool because of past experiences in which they believe their children did not receive the educational foundations for which they feel they should have received. They may choose homeschooling because of the quality of the schools in their residential area. They may choose to homeschool because of religious beliefs or Christian education needs. These reasons only skim the surface to explain homeschooling.

Through Dewey’s understanding, the primary reason for homeschooling results in experiences. “People do not experience ‘experience’ but the world in which they live—a world of things, ideas, hopes, fears, and aspirations, all rooted in nature” (Ozmon, 2012, 121). Families often choose homeschooling because of these experiences they fear they do not receive in the traditional school setting. One family in particular became so disgruntled with the public school system in their beliefs that their daughter was not being challenged enough in her studies. They chose to homeschool her from first through ninth grade, then enroll in her tenth grade public high school, only to have continued feelings of frustration with the testing procedures that did not match the many hours of homework each night. At that point they decided to have their daughter test out of high school and enroll in college early and complete her degree two years earlier than the average college student. For this family homeschooling was an option to create and instill challenging study habits to carry into adulthood.

Another study shows families choose homeschooling for hands-on learning opportunities and flexible lifestyles (Dahlquist, 2006). One family chose to homeschool their two boys because of the father’s out-of-state employment. They knew they would only reside in another state for one to two years so they chose to homeschool rather than enroll their boys in school, only to withdraw them in a short period of time. They were able to continue their quality Christian education at home during their short employment deployment.

In comparing pragmatism and realism, pragmatism is associated with real-life experiences; realism is associated with real-life representations. As an early childhood educator, the learner is primarily interested in giving her students experiences with which they can use each of the five senses to learn. She must present material in easily understood hands-on techniques for students to manipulate through their senses. Mead applied an inductive approach to learning through social and psychological behavior by saying that students must be social in order to learn (Ozmon, 2012, 114). To be social, teachers must provide real-life experiences in which students can experience concrete hands-on learning.

Ozmon, H. (2012) Philosophical Foundations of Education. Boston: Pearson.

“Pragmatism.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 29 July 2013. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pragmatism>.

Dahlquist, K. L., York-Barr, J., & Hendel, D. D. (2006). The Choice to Homeschool: Home Educator Perspectives and School District Options. Journal Of School Leadership, 16(4), 354-385.

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