Saturday, March 15, 2014

Sub Adventures #12: 5th Grade History in the Bronx

On Thursday (3/13/2014), I substituted for 5th grade history at a private school in the Bronx. I normally stay far away from elementary school assignments (the thought of being in a room alone with 25 knee-high children sends shivers down my spine), but I decided to accept for two reasons:

1) I had plans to go to dinner with friends. The assignment was close by and ended early enough to give me time to run home and get prettified.
2) Having attended, student taught, and substituted at only public schools, I was curious about private schools and how different they really are from public schools.

I experienced a bit of a culture shock that I quickly got over, when I first arrived. There were some differences in the atmosphere of the private school that surprised me.
- the teachers seemed less frazzled than their public school counterparts
- sprawling beautiful campus with a maze of halls
- catered lunch for the teachers--everyday (I had beef stew and steamed potatoes. Yum!)
- books galore! Each classroom was overflowing with a varied library of brand new books

On to the kiddies: they were so cute and oh-so energetic.  Like energizer bunnies after three cups of coffee.

For the first time, I wasn't left with a written lesson plan from the teacher or admin. I was given copies of Scholastic News. I chose an article about Jerrie Mock being the first woman to fly around the world and quickly planned a lesson.

"Who was the first female to fly around the world?" I began the lesson with this question. The students responded with "Amelia Earhart" as expected. We read the article aloud. Then I had the students write and discuss their responses to the following prompt: Why is Amelia Earhart more well-known for being the first woman to fly around the world? Is this fair? Why or why not? Lastly, the student wrote creative pieces about their own trip around the world and volunteers shared their stories with the class.

The creativity of the 5th graders was astounding. I had one student read aloud in an Australian accent, which was doubly impressive and amusing. Two students wrote poems, instead of stories. Students in another class decided to work in groups and wrote/performed skits.

Overall, it was a great day, but my goodness are 5th graders energetic. I was absolutely exhausted. As I was walking to the bus stop, I posted the following Facebook status in apology of my previous teasing scorn of childhood education majors. They just play all day, I laughed. Oh, how ignorant t'was I?

In my next adventure, I return to the same school of Sub Adventures #2.

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