Friday, November 30, 2007
The Twelve Days of Xmas Questions?
What has prompted all this might be interesting to you also. I think it qualifies as a "Rubric Cubed" on the syntax and rhetoric of the song/lyrics which can be taught at most levels from Kindergarten to 8th grade. Plus, it is just a "fun thing" to do for the holidays in a classroom. (rubics cubes shown = 13 not 12 i.e. 3x3=9, 2x2=4, 9+4=13 so extra cube is for the "null set")
Anyway, this festive song has been with me and my teaching ever since my sister taught it to me when she learned it in her high school choir. We loved it then and every year, by command performance, had to sing and share it with our family and friends. What made it special was the unique "hand/arm/body/foot motions" that go along with its singing. Every gift has its own set of motions that are comical and appropriate for that day. By the end of the song, the last reprise, back to the first day, if you do it properly, can't help but bring a laugh along with the audience...especially if you go faster and faster.
I just finished teaching it again to this year's crop of 40 kindergarteners and they just loved it. Hand motions while singing are their "thing" anyway. They may sing it as their part of the school's annual "Holiday Show"...you have to be careful now days and not say "Xmas Show".
My sister called last week and said she wanted to teach it to 11 of her choir buddies for a show they are doing this season. We reviewed all the motions over the phone, gesturing blindly and laughing. I'll soon get to go see her this season and maybe help perform them in memory of our childhood and upbringing. Yes, we were silly at times too.
This is what is missing in many of the classrooms I've been visiting lately i.e. a sense of humor, some child-like silliness. Play, a creative, playful attitude, can go along way in many a dry Science class. Most 8th graders are already fighting any/all regimentation to learn/teach any substantive material so why not make a game out of it? I recently brought out the 20 Questions Game for those who had finished their assignment (read the chapt. on Atoms and answer the study questions) This is what passes for Science now days. Those who finished, very few, enjoyed it and we mentioned the importance of Questions and Hypotheses in the Scientific Method. Most have trouble or aren't interested in asking any questions...especially if it gets them more paper/pencil work to do. Sad, but true.
Maybe there should be a Venn Diagram of the typical American school students and their reluctance to learn, question, collaborate, network vs. the other nation's students who are all somehow motivated to do the above and have some fun with their learning. It would be a rather lop-sided Venn I'm guessing. RRR
at 1:02 PM