Learning in Action
Service learning is an essential component of modern education. Schools have a unique opportunity to help students understand that they are capable of changing their communities and the world. I have worked with one charter school that dedicates one Friday each month to service learning. On these service-learning days, students learn about issues or problems in the community and are given a hands-on opportunity to do something about it. Students learn a lot by using what they have studied for an important and real use.
Joann and I often coordinate the subjects of our weekly columns so you are able to read about each Gateway topic from both a librarian’s and a teacher’s point of view. This week I had an Aha! moment while planning, and I wanted to share my excitement about using the Gateway to keep my teaching fresh and new (even in an embarrassing moment of procrastination.)
My story starts late on a Thursday evening when I realized that I was in charge of a room of second graders the next morning for Science Fun Day. The date had been on my calendar, but it somehow slipped my mind. I was excited to be teaching the students about magnetism the next day. It is such a complex and fun topic that has potential for getting kids hooked on science. I had all kinds of great materials and ideas, but my unorganized self had forgotten to get everything planned out for the next day. I was ready to throw something together really quickly, but then I decided to see if there was something that would help me on the Gateway.
When I searched “magnetism” I found a perfect plan created by Project NEED. Using this plan (instead of racking my brain to come up with something just “ok” at 10 PM) helped me quickly create centers that were fun, educational, and aligned to my state standards. Whoopee! That gave me an extra few minutes to sneak in an ice cream sandwich before bed.
No matter what subject you are teaching, be sure to make searching the Gateway part of your lesson-planning routine every time. A lot of your current lessons might be fine, but you can make them amazing using ideas you find here on the Gateway. You never know when you will have your own Aha! moment of finding just what you were looking for.
While you are exploring the Gateway to find resources, be sure to check out the treasure hunt going on right now. Our current treasure hunt is sponsored by Seven Minds, and three winners will receive a free Social Navigator Application (a $50 value). All you have to do is register on the Gateway and use clues to find a specific resource each week. The contest started this week and will run through June 4, 2012. Good luck!