As I went back to the kindergarten class after the holidays, as a substitute, I decided to allow the children to write thank you letters to Santa Claus. (Of course, if they didn’t celebrate Christmas they could have written thank you letters to relatives, or anyone they wanted to thank.) I was excited to do this activity because I know they love to share about the gifts they received so why not make it an educational activity as well, right? In this particular school, it’s pretty well understood that children aren’t allowed to bring in their own toys for show and tell anyway. For obvious reasons, I think that’s a very good idea.
The children were excited to share that they received the usual things like games, (UNO is very popular in this group), dolls, stuffed animals, colored pencil sets, winter hats and even a remote control car. Then, I heard that others received a wrestling stadium, Hatchimals, a Doc Mcstuffings Doctor Bag set, miscellaneous Pokemon things, Super Hero thangs, and of course Star wars everything. Oh, and let’s not forget about everything, and anything, created by Legos. (I have to admit I like Legos myself! One day I will buy myself a Lego train set!)
Since I enjoy talking with these little people anyway, I started asking questions like, “What is a Hatchimal?” and “Who is Doc Mac .. did you say Stuffings?” “What do you actually do with a wrestling stadium?”
Well, they could talk about such things for H-O-U-R-S!! And, you know they have so much information to share on these topics!
So how it is that these same people return to school in January and don’t remember the days of the week, or the current month, or where we keep supplies, or what our schedule is each day, not to mention anything academic they were working on in December?
Are these the same children that can talk about all the latest and greatest superheros, or Pokemon characters, TV shows for children, not to mention their favorite dinosaurs? Some children have an amazing amount of dinosaur knowledge, or Star Wars movies, and characters at five years of age…. whoa!!
Isn’t it amazing how much children CAN learn when they are motivated?
This is our opportunity as teachers, even home educators, to instill in children that they can learn so much more than they think they can. If they can tell me all kind of details about all these different dinosaurs, and superheroes, they sure can learn what they’re supposed to learn in school!
This is what I call “January Juice.” Juice them up, motivate them, and encourage them!
Years ago, there was a movie I watched that inspired me to become a teacher and encourage children to learn, and succeed in school. What I remember most about The Marva Collins Story was this teacher’s passion that children CAN learn!! She had to fight to keep her school open, and to convince people that children, even those with learning difficulties WILL learn despite the many limitations and obstacles that were in their way. This was a true story about this teacher who started her own school, and method of teaching. I highly recommend it!