Monday, September 5, 2011

Day 320 - Face Painting

Thought of the day: I have been trying to teach Jasmine some math over the weekend. I have never worked through lessons with her like this before so it was quite a learning experience for me. One big discovery was the importance of the fun factor (shocking, huh?). When she thought the material and learning were fun, she learned really fast. When she thought otherwise, alas, learning turned into a boring chore or even a struggle. I was taught in the traditional way when I grew up in China so I never gave much thought to the importance of material presentation. I used to think that the elementary school teachers here wasted too much time playing games with kids and spent too little time in actual teaching. Not any more. I still think there is something lacking in the elementary school curriculum but I have developed a new appreciation of their teaching methods and a new appreciation of the teachers as well. It takes a lot of energy and creativity to keep things fun for a classroom of thirty kids. And now, just imagine that you need to do that every day, five days a week. It take a special breed of people to do this willingly and do this well - and get paid very little on top of that. They surely deserve our wholehearted appreciation.

Photo of the day:
Lila getting a face paint on the last day of Boulder Hometown Fair.  The face paint artist was self-taught and painted happy dogs on both girls' faces.  It's easier to make it fun when you're learning art but not so when you're learning something abstract like math. Luckily, the math manipulatives come into rescue and good teachers make use of them to make learning visual, concrete and fun for kids.

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