Elementary Education: Spring Semester Ahoy.

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We arrived into our science class to discover that this semester’s observation hours will be completed via an internship with Scientists for Tomorrow. Over the next twelve weeks, our cohort will be teaching science to middle-school students in an after-school setting. We attended a professional development this weekend to get a better grasp on the curriculum and modules. The theme of the curriculum is “The Math of Music,” and throughout the course students will build a monochord, an idiophone, a chime, and a xylophone. I have to say that I felt pretty proud of the results of my work at the end of the PD, so much so that I was the weirdo holding a wind chime on the El train on my way home.

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I am very eager to begin delving into our Methods of Social Studies class. The first session was an absolute dream. Our instructor delved immediately into why social studies matters as a content area, but also why it is being largely ignored in schools (cough cough, No Child Left Behind). I felt simultaneously overwhelmed but also up to the challenge as she started to list out all of the subject areas that the content area entails. Here is what I’ll likely be spending the semester thinking about: How do I successfully incorporate all of these important themes into a classroom where little time is allowed for this subject? Here is the list:

  • Culture (Anthropology)
  • Time, Continuity, and Change (History)
  • People, Places, and Environments (Geography)
  • Individual Development and Identity (Psych)
  • Individuals, Groups, and Institutions (Sociology)
  • Power, Governance, and Authority (Political Science)
  • Production, Distribution, and Consumption (Economics)
  • Science, Technology, and Society
  • Global Connections (Geography)
  • Civic Ideas and Practices (Political Science)


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I mentioned in my last post that I would try to share more course work this semester, especially the work I generated in my arts integration class. This short assignment was to create an anticipatory set that integrated a facet of the arts with any content area. Anticipatory set means a short activity that is extremely engaging that leads into a larger lesson. This set is designed to integrate science with dance. The full (theoretical) lesson would integrate science, language arts, and drama. This set is designed for a second grade classroom. A part of our course work is also to generate essential questions for each lesson we plan. The essential questions for this project are:

  1. How do the habitats & habits of northern mammals change during winter?
  2. How are our winter habits similar to the mammals that share our environment? How are they different?


I will instruct the students to close their eyes and to imagine themselves outside on a cold day in January. I will ask them to keep that in mind as we listen to a 0:38 second song,  The North Wind,  by Elizabeth Mitchell. The lyrics are:

“The north wind doth blow,
And we shall have snow,
And what will the robin do then?
Poor thing.

He’ll sit in the barn,
To keep himself warm.
And hide his head under his wing.
Poor thing. Poor thing. Poor thing.”

After the song ends, I will ask the students to help me remember what we know about the changing seasons. I will then ask the students to stand up and take their movement spot on the floor. I will play the song again, but this time asking the students to respond to the music by dancing as either the north wind, the falling snow, or the robin.

This would be the end of the set/hook. This set/hook would lead into a read-aloud of the book  Over and Under the Snow  by Kate Messner, followed by small group pantomimes of the animals from their story in their winter habitats.

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