Teaching, Testing, Thinking

Today was the first day of school for Arizona Wildcats, and in a sense, for my son too. Today, a week into school, the 9 YO was assigned a teacher, Mr. Dub*. I’m not complaining (anymore) because 1) he had the most amazing, stupendous, wonderful substitute teacher and 2) his new teacher is gonna be good. One of the things Mr. Dub told us was that he didn’t believe in punishing kids who complete their work early by giving them busy work, but would rather give them tools to help them think more deeply about the subject. Also, he talked about presenting materials in multiple ways rather than in repetitive ways, to catch students how they learn whether it’s visually, orally/audibly, or tactilely (really, people should not let me make up words).

Video courtesy (I presume since I didn’t ask permission) of www.notonthetest.com.

As a mother who tried unsuccessfully to limit wasteful (in all senses of the words) tests (mostly as mandated by NCLB) administered to my innocent children and only quit under threat of meanness (so much for parent rights), I love Mr. Dub’s theory of helping children approach their learning (he is in great company among educators, most of whom would rather not be scripted or teach to the test). Sure, some things have to be rote, but not everything. For example, Stupendous Sub taught math using block printing of Islamic tiles. Oh, she is sooo smooches and cream.

Whatever. I just want to show a photo** of the 9 YO explaining to his art teacher from last year why he wrote “Schookson” (Pima) or “Cuk ᚢon” (Tohono O’Odham) or “Chuk-son” (“Indian”) or “Schuk-shon” (Pima) in the sky. Using water color and collage techniques she showed him (over the objections of some hum-hum), 9 YO won a Postal History Foundation art contest in both his age group and over all age groups. (Nine YO’s friend and his little brother came in 4th and 3rd place!)

And also this photo** of the 7 YO with her first teachers, her family, in Sabino Canyon.

Uh, the family is off camera. The critter isn’t actually part of the family and 7 YO’s not going to start a family any time soon so no kissing toads, or frogs. Not yet.

And that’s how you teach a kid (as if I had a clue).

* Names have been changed because I’m fun like that.
** My photos were prettier before Ultimate made me freak out about size. I may have to ignore him. Happy Birthday, Ultimate!

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