Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Learning Was So Much Fun!

In What happened to the fun? from Blogging on the Bay by bgaskins, he says, “What is making this classroom work is that we have no accountability! We don’t have to write lesson plans and we don’t have to give grades. I don’t think the students know about the grade part yet. We are having fun and designing our mini-lesson based on the need. This week we will finish our first writing cycle and next week the new cycle will focus on reading. We are still planning. I wish all classrooms could be fun. Where has the fun gone?”
Bill talks about a writing class that he was teaching and how much he and the students enjoyed it. This post brought back memories of when I was in high school. Each summer there were enrichment classes offered by our school district and I always thought all schools did this until I became a teacher. I never realized how lucky I was to go to these classes. These classes were offered at the same time the remedial summer school classes were offered. One summer I took a guitar class and writing class. Another year I took a writing class and drama class. The last summer I took classes involved a typing class and a marine biology class. I also earned Carnegie units towards graduation for these. If I remember right (it was many years ago) but these classes were pass/fail and I learned so much from them. I think part of the reason I learned so much was that all of these classes were a lot of fun and even the teachers seemed to enjoy teaching these classes. We were all in this for fun and the joy of learning.

I wish I heard of more programs like this for students. I realize that this costs money and that right now money is a pretty sore subject. Again though, I see the struggling students or the students who don’t try during the school year getting the attention instead of the students who want to learn more. What are we doing to encourage them to learn outside of school?

I notice that in the summer there are story telling at the local libraries for small children. But what are we doing for our teenagers? With so many parents out of work, going to summer camp or paying for lessons during the summer is out of the question. Maybe the libraries could offer a weekly book club for teens to discuss books like Twilight. Maybe they can get some teens to volunteer to teach senior citizens computer skills (and in turn learn something from the senior citizens). I just think our communities should find ways to engage our young people during these tough economic times or we may regret it in the long run. What kind of activities do you think the community could offer that wouldn’t cost too much? I think if we tried, these could be successful things for young people to participate in and have fun with too!

Original image: 'The Moment' http://www.flickr.com/photos/27922350@N06/2857862332 by: Kris Chae


John Martin said...

I remember an after-school creative writing program I participated in which didn't cost a thing but paid me an enormous dividend.

We too often operate under the paradigm that after-school programs have to carry a cost but there is so much out there that can be done in a building where classrooms lay fallow when the school day is done.

I love your ideas about getting students and senior citizens involved in the teaching and facilitation of programs. If the schools can pony up the space, let these folks provide service in kind. What better way for a student to learn, than to teach?

A great post Pat, thanks!

Emily said...

I also have seen a lack of outside learning programs for teenage students. This may be due in part to the increase in activities at this age, but it isn't any less important.

loonyhiker said...

John Martin: I think we have a lot of opportunities that we don't use to involve our students in the community. Thanks for reading!

loonyhiker said...

Emily: I also think that teenagers do not have many options to choose from. It is a lot like allowing them to eat what they want but we need to give them a lot of variety to choose from and they will choose what they need. I think we need to give them more opportunities for appropriate learning.

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