(I love alliteration!)
Today we went on a field trip to the local aquarium . We took our co-op class and, of course, invited their entire families to go along. It was actually lovely. I mean, my family has never been able to go to this particular aquarium other than on dollar days, which are always insanely crowded. Today, there were at least 3 other schools that were having field trips, but we managed to avoid those crowds. In fact, the only time I was annoyed by “crowds” where when these 3 adults just refused to move away from the only octopus exhibit in the place. The viewing window was about 3-adult people wide. . .
Now, I have to say, this aquarium was “okay”. We finished everything in just under 2 hours. Sadly, I have been spoiled by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which I personally believe is the best I’ve ever been too. I remember we could spend days there! (We had a membership, so we did spend many days there.) But, it’s not like I can pack up the co-op class, and their families, and zip them to the other side of the US for a day. (Could you imagine how cool the kids would think I was if I did though!)
Anyway, this was meant to be our culminating activity for this book. (Technically, we have one more chapter to go, but the aquarium doesn’t have any of these nifty critters anyway.) I would run into “our” kids and they would say, “Did you see. . .?” and “Wasn’t such and such so cool!”
But, this post isn’t about our field trip so much as our class.
I have to say that I have totally enjoyed “teaching” this class! Actually, I’m the behind-the-scenes person. My “co-teacher” (that’s what we’re called at co-op), Mrs. Beth, does all the teaching.
This was my first year doing the class and Mrs. Beth suggested that we radically change-up the class. I’m all for radical; so we turned the class, as it had previously been taught, on its ear. In fact, I suspect I’ve heard poor Mrs. Beth saying, on more than one occasion, “Yes, we definitely changed this entire class.”
We have one semester to teach middle-schoolers this book:
From what I have heard this class had previously been presented in a pretty “dry” format. (Haha, isn’t that just “punny”.)
So, we added some jazz! Nearly every class had two experiments, unless they had a dissection. We found many that weren’t in the book and added those to the tally. We found all sorts of fantastic videos that the kids could watch for homework to add greater depth to their learning. (It’s one thing to read about the size of a leatherback turtle, and totally another to see the dissection of one!) And, we tried to add “fun” paperwork; rather than just the standard “Answer the ‘What Do You Remember?’ questions at the end of every chapter.”
Additionally, every week’s homework assignments had the days broken down, with our class day reminding the students that they had class with their “super-awesome instructors”. (Because a little brainwashing never hurt anyone. . .)
Mrs. Beth and I have been pretty impressed with the response! I mean, we were hoping to make it fun, cool, and exciting for the kids, but we are getting better than average, un-asked for, feedback.
“This is the first time I’ve ever had a favorite class, and it’s science of all things!”
“I’ve decided I want to be a marine biologist.”
“You both have made this class so fantastic I don’t have to fight my kid to do their work.”
“You both are such awesome teachers.”
“You two are those kind of instructors that re-direct a child’s life into a passion.”
Pretty darn cool!
Which is really kinda great. . .
Because, you see, we made our first semester completely fantastic and our second semester we will be the huge-est let-down on the planet earth!
I mean, we have let the parents and the students know this, but all of them look at us as if it could not possibly be true. However, it truly is, because the book we want to use is still in the process of being published! So, we are having to piece together some hodge-podge mess, and it’s making me cranky. (I like to do things “right” the first time. . .and this is SO not going to qualify.)
And, we all know that the virtue of “patience“. . .is not one of my strong suits.
Be that as it may, I can be glad that this semester has gone over so well. So what, if at the end of the 2nd semester, the kids have forgotten what awesome teachers they had once-upon-a-time; or that the parents have to fight their kiddoes to get their work done. . .
Yep, going to have a hard time letting this one go!