Because of How we Teach

“The things that really matter are that because of WHAT we teach, the children will become interested enough to go on wanting to know, and because of HOW we teach…the children should be able to think for themselves.” ~ Sybil Marshall, British educator (1913-2005)

Dear Families and Friends,
It was a good many years ago when I learned my first lesson from Sybil Marshall, who’d ventured to Philadelphia from England to mentor a group of young teachers. I was one of them. In the course of 4 weeks we were to create an elaborate 3-D model with a group of my peers on a topic we knew little about. Together we read, tested out materials, and constructed models, doing our best to make them look authentic. Because we were fully immersed in the study, we gave 100%. And when at last I had my own classroom, I did my best to teach my students in the same way that I had learned.

Now more than four decades later I’m elated to see fourth graders at South School so engaged in the creative process. This morning they stepped into their animals’ “shoes,” giving them a presence in the classroom. Beyond adding layers of papiér maché to their masks, saying, “The glue felt like a slimy fish that was rolling around in warm mud,” and “If you went to hold it in your hands, it would slip through your fingers,” they wrote from their creature’s perspectives.  Here’s what the gray fox wrote about its environment.

The forest and falling trees are around me.                                                                                                                                                      A cave and a dark hollow tree are behind me.                                                                                                                                                  Grass and a hard and pokey rock are beneath me.                                                                                                                                    Birds are gliding above me.                                                                                                                                                                                     A cold river is far from me.

Danielle McNichol, Fourth Grade Teacher – Immersed in the Project

Sybil noted in An Experiment in Education in the mid-sixties, “I was being educated all over again by the children I was supposed to be teaching.”  That’s certainly how I feel. And I know our artists do too!

Anticipating more learning at Wheeler Bay next week, Nancy, for the LEAPS’ Team






MARK your calendars: Fourth Graders will share their artwork and stories on Thursday, November 1, 2018 from 9:00-10:00 am at South School.

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