Friday, October 19, 2007
School Visit to Haverstraw Middle School, Haverstraw, New York
In conjunction with Musing Our Children (http://musingourchildren.tripod.com/), I conducted my first ever school visit at Haverstraw Middle School today. I met with two sixth grade classes.
The first was with an ELA (English Language Arts) class. After a brief introduction by teacher, Mrs. Debra Brennan, I immediately drew the students in with tidbits of my youth and briefly explained to the students about my background.
A fictional short story was read out loud to the students. They were then broken into groups of four to brainstorm and develop a 3-4 sentence paragraph regarding the last sentence of the story: “Hey, wait up. Let me tell you how I scared the last new kid. You’ll laugh your head off.”
It was also shared with them that their brainstorms and paragraphs do not need to be perfect. The concept of the activity was to have fun and to get their creativity going.
The second group was a Science class. Again a brief introduction was conducted by the teacher and myself.
Before beginning to read the non-fiction article on jellyfish, I engaged the students in conversation about different species of the ocean. The article was read out loud to the students and then broke up into groups of four to develop a graphic organizer of eight characteristics of jellyfish.
Even though this age group is use to working independently the teacher and I walked around to the groups to check on their progress and to see if they needed guidance. Both classes jumped right into their tasks without hesitation and produced fine results.
The enthusiasm, creativity, and group work of the students was quite the rewarding experience!