Sunday, May 6, 2012

One Little Moment = One Big Opportunity

I think my children might have the most diverse taste in music (in large part to their parents’ taste).  I don’t know of too many other children who can sing word for word songs by Lionel Richie, The Samples, Jimmy Buffet, The Beatles, Blackhawk…  the list goes on and on. 

One day as my daughter was singing “A pirate looks at 40”, she came to the part in the song that sang “The cannons don’t thunder, there’s nothing to plunder…”  She then asked, “What does it mean the cannons don’t thunder?  Is that like the thunder in the sky?”  My first thought was, “Man I need to make sure we are listening to appropriate songs :-)”  We then talked about thunder is the sound that you can hear when storms come. But when a cannon shoots a cannonball, it makes a loud sound that can be called thunder.

Life is full of these little moments that make a big difference in the lives of children.  Ellin Keene talks about the importance of schema (background knowledge) in reading when she says that the best way for students to comprehend a text is to have schema related to that topic.  If I had not taken the time to explain to Maggie what thunder meant in that song, she would have been confused and it would have been hard for her to understand the meaning of that verse.

Think of all the times of the day where we can help make sense to the children.  When we are sharing at circle time and a student talks about something the other kids don’t know.  When we are learning Spanish and our maestra introduces new words.  When we are outside interacting with the kids.  This is a wonderful opportunity to talk with the children, introduce them to new words and concepts. 

It would have been easy for me to brush off my daughter's question.  It would be easy to skip over a comment made by a child because it does not pertain to your lesson.  It would be easy to sit and watch the children play outside.  But, easy is not always best.  We would miss all of the wonderful opportunities to engage and interact with the children and help them comprehend and learn!

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