wasting bandwidth since 1999

Waiting For The End

The end-of-school-year messages posted by many of the teacher-bloggers around the web have been great reading, but they also serve as a reminder that around here we still have two weeks until everything’s done. I’ve been in a small number of our many, many schools over the past couple of weeks and it’s interesting to see the different atmospheres.

For the most part the high schools seem to be in complete chaos or lock-down worthy of HBO’s Oz – and that’s in the same building. But it’s all pretty much the way I remember it from when I was in the classroom. I wonder if the Seniors are even still attending classes.

In the elementary schools, on the other hand, the mood seems to be a feeling of freedom. The best I can figure is that the spring standardized tests are over and the teachers are able to pull out all those lessons and projects that are interesting, stimulating, and fun but took too much time away from preparing for the multiple-choice-a-thons.

However, I’ve never taught at the elementary level, which means I’m hardly one to judge the activity I saw being played out in the halls of one school yesterday. I’m curious as to the instructional value of having one student lie on his back on a sheet of paper while another draws his outline. Is this a new vocational program for future crime scene investigators? May I join in? :-)

Observing all this also serves as reminder of just what a wasteful process is the closing of schools for the year (and reopening them in the fall). One more great reason for changing the calendar and never "closing" school.

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2 Comments

  1. I’d just like to say right off the bat that I’m still in highschool,
    (though nearing the end) and that I don’t go to a public or
    private school.

    Knowing what I do about high schoolers, I’d just like to say
    that I find it rather implausible to think that if you didn’t
    give them a break, they wouldn’t just take one for themselves.
    Yes, perhaps it would have been better if we’d stuck to the way
    they had school in the 1800s, when there was a winter term
    and a summer term. But highschoolers these days (who, you said
    yourself, probably aren’t even going to the last few weeks of
    class) would go nuts if we took away their summer vacation.
    Usually, the lure of a break is all that actually keeps some
    of these kids in good grace with their parents and where they
    should be: at school. This was the way they were raised. It’s
    like saying “All that’s on TV today is trash. We should lobby
    to have every TV set in America (or at least all of them that
    are in the hands of a teen) taken away and destroyed.” It’s
    perfectly true, and would, in fact, theoretically make
    the world a better place.

    The only problem is that *this is a fallen world, and that will
    NEVER HAPPEN.*

    The best we can try to do is encourage teens to watch less TV
    and try to get the TV companies to put on better programs.

    It’s the same with schools. If we want teens to do better
    things with their brake time, we should better educate them
    while we have them. The thing is, the schools can’t do this
    by themselves. Sure, even if all the teachers were upright
    citizens with unquestionably good morals, they wouldn’t be
    able to make their students good people on their own. Not only
    do they need a lot of prayer, they’d also need the help of the
    parents. (Or, to put it the way it should be: The parents should
    teach their children right from wrong with the help of the
    teachers.)

    I honestly don’t want to know what kind of riots would break
    out if teens were denied their freedom.

    With all due respect,

    ~Liz R.

  2. LisaZ

    I am an elementary teacher and off the top of my head I can think of several different lessons that might incorporate a life size cut out of students. Depending on the grade level math lessons in measurement, ratios, or even sequencing would be appropriate. Science lessons on the human body are pretty obvious. The activity you described is one that is done every year by several of the Kindergarten teachers in my building as a community building effort during the “getting to know you” period at the beginning of the year. It’s amazing what creative teachers can do when they are able to teach.

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