25 Apr, 2019
Something I am extremely passionate about is, as I’m sure you already know, teaching kids without them feeling like they’re being taught! Over the years, I have seen many creative and brilliant methods of teaching used in which kids thought they were either playing games, creating art, or simply having fun.
One of these was the use of fly swatters to slap certain words that were printed on colorful paper. In the eyes of the children, it was a speed test to see who could slap the word first and who could slap the fastest. For the adults, they were teaching the children words without them even knowing it!
Or, how about the game where you write numbers on big sheets of papers and have them run to find the number you say? They think they’re playing a game of running and tagging, when really, they’re learning their numbers.
And the “I Know a Word” game is always fun. Tell your child, “I know a word that begins with the same letter that the word chocolate begins with.” When they say “c,” toss them a ball and ask them to come up with a word and when you guess the letter, they can toss the ball back to you. They think you’re playing a game of catch, when really, they’re learning sounds and sounding out letter sounds!
So when I wrote the story-poem titled “Earth Sculptures” in Reading Is Fun! Imagine That! I did it with the intent of teaching without teaching. Throughout the story-poem, I incorporated big words so children could possibly place them into the context of the story and figure them out.
For instance, the word “reveals” isn’t necessarily a word most young children would know the meaning of, but in this context, they could probably figure it out:
“Why don’t you start by mixing mud, to find out how it feels.
Just take your time, you’ll be surprised, by things the mud reveals.”
At the end of the story, in the “Words to Know and Use” section, there are several words with definitions, including “reveal.”
“Reveals refers to something that appears or becomes clear,” it says, and then continues by using the word in a sentence: “When I use a telescope, it reveals things I have never seen.”
In another example, when the story talks about the process of turning mud into clay, it teaches children the word “kiln.”
“If mud were clay, we’d need a kiln,
Clay needs a firing phase.
The heat makes clay stay strong for years,
While mud just keeps for days.”
And again, at the end of the story, the word kiln is described as “a special oven used to make finished clay-work strong.” And in the sentence to further help kids understand what it means, I used this sentence: “I put my clay bowl in the kiln to be fired.”
My passion has always been and will forever remain teaching kids with the use of creativity and art. I hope you’ll read the rest of Earth Sculptures together with your children and encourage them to go outside and create their own!
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They are fun to read. Both the writings and drawings are original. They are amazing. There are so many things that could be learned. One student commented she was also learning about American culture.-YiLing Chen Taught Women English
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These books are absolutely incredible. An excellent job of inspiring children’s creativity activities.-Mosun Johnston Smith Former Teacher
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