Friday, January 07, 2005

Arrrr!

The fish observations were a major success. The room - and the hallway outside - smelled fishy, but we all got over that quickly. I set a timer for eight minutes for each station, and when it beeped, the kids rotated. The lesson practically managed itself! I love that; it's rare but oh so beautiful. The kids were engaged, even when they forgot to write anything on their worksheet they did the activities and discussed what they were seeing with each other and with me. One boy discovered that gills come in multiple layers (somewhat maiming the fish in the process, but what can you do?). They poked and prodded at the two fish far more than I expected, which led to the fish looking a bit less-than-fabulous by the end of the day, but it was all in the name of science; they wanted to flip over the flounder, pull open the fins to look at them more closely, and open the mouth to see if fish have tongues and what the teeth look like (flounders and bluefish are both really toothy, by the way). It was awesome. I'm going to slit open the fish and show the kids their organs on Monday.

By the way, I attached several fish activities that I have done to the middle school science page of the Teachers' Lounge wiki; email me at the address in the sidebar if you have any questions.

At lunchtime, we had a bake sale, organized by a rockin' seventh grade Social Studies teacher; the money will go to the Red Cross. Kids and teachers brought in baked goods, and everyone got all sugared up for their afternoon classes... but it was for a good cause. The kids initially resisted doing anything to help the tsunami victims - the teacher opened up the discussion with them on Monday but didn't want to push them to do something charitable unless they actively wanted to. She was downhearted by the response, "Would they help us if it happened here? Why should we help them?" But in the end, the less cynical viewpoint won out, and the kids I talked to seemed enthusiastic about raising money to help others.

And tonight, I'm going to see some pirates. Except that I'm taking a nap first, and there's the very real possibility that I will not wake up before morning....

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