Sunday, September 23, 2012

What did I do the second day of school with the students...

I have had lots of ideas for this blog but haven't had time to really write them.  One always forgets how truly crazy September is for a school teacher.  You go from unstructured time to being in constant motion and dealing with zillions of things and in my particular case, 27 students.

It's exhausting and exhilarating and confusing and sometimes amusing and definitely exhausting.

The first day of school I only had my 15 grade sixes from last year for an hour and that seemed to be forever even though we were happy to see each other.  The next day with the addition of two new students to the school,  I had one of my sometimes brilliant ideas and put them to work on some end of the year math and a project on Tenochtitlan and Mexico City.  At noon one of the girls put her head down she was so tired!

One of the frustrations of all teachers is the difficulty to get through all the curriculum-usually in science out of three units I may make it through two, and I have never made it through all the Grade Six text book in Social Studies.  Now I tell myself that it is all about process and hopefully, we do a thorough job of what we do study and often we do go way beyond the text.

I did do a project last year with the sixth graders on cities and urban versus rural environment but the story of the Mayan city, Tenochtitlan, and the modern Mexico City is fascinating and a good introduction to the Ancient Civilizations that they study in seventh grade so this became the project in one day.

Step one, I let them loose in the computer lab to find out what they could about Tenochtitlan.  Then we went through the information in the text book, finding out why the city was built where it was, in a marsh in the middle of the lake surrounded by mountains, and then finding out how the Spanish conquered the Mayans and built Mexico City eventually.  They then wrote ten important or interesting facts they learned.

They learned about Diego Riviera and then explored his art on this website and then each chose a painting or mural that he or she liked, using the ipads  in the classroom.  Then they copied the chosen pieces of art.  I think we all had a fun day and actually felt that we had accomplished something!  I will photograph some of the finished artwork and post later.

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