Monday, March 19, 2012

Composting Lessons

How about this for a parent child exchange?  A friend of mine related a conversation he had with his fifth grade daughter after school.

Bill: What did you do in school?
Emily: Oh, we didn't do any work.
Bill: No work? What do you mean? What did you do?
Emily: Some friends and I spent most of the day learning how to compost. We built this compost box. And they gave us this list of everything you can compost.  We asked some middle school kids for help and got their ideas.  We wrote all these down on some paper and are starting to figure out how we can get more stuff to compost from maybe restaurants and stores. Then we had to go to the library and I checked out these books on composting.

So no "work" just a whole lot of learning. One key to student engagement is to blur the line between the work of learning and what creates Fun & Excitement for students.  Finding lessons and activities during which students lose track of time and consider the day to have been work-free helps develop a joy and passion for learning that can be lifelong.  

Nearly 7 out of 10 (69%) students on the recently released National My Voice survey agree that learning can be fun. While this is a clear majority of students, it should makes us wonder if the 31% of students who could not agree think learning is only work and drudgery. Learning does take effort, but that effort need not be a dull affair.  Learning that is hands on, interactive, has an everyday life application, and makes a difference engages students in a way that makes effort seem easy.  How can you compost lessons you know need recycling into something rich, useful, and nurturing for your students? 

By the way, my friend Bill reports they are now saving egg shells and coffee grinds.

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