Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Teachable Moments - Haiti

When I was just starting college as a music education major, I remember Dr. Carroll stopping occasionally after a question from a student and say, “This is what we call a ‘teachable moment’”. Then he was stray from his intended path for the day and take us where the question led.

Here is my Haiti teachable moment:

The earthquake tragedy of Haiti is a major world event that will soon take its place in history books. But we didn’t want BabyGirl to read about it one day and realize she was alive when it happened but didn’t recall learning or doing anything about it.

Our current core subjects are:
US geography
Family History
Handwriting (printing)
Math
Reading/Spelling/ Vocabulary
Science
Religion

Many would call the Haiti tragedy, world history. Here is how we are working it into our core content:
US Geography: She knows where Florida is on the US map. So we took it to the globe and pointed out where Haiti is in relation to Florida to get some perspective. We mapped what states we’d travel through to drive to Florida and then the modes of transportation to the island of Haiti.
Handwriting/Spelling/Vocabulary: Write the word “Haiti” to learn to spell it. Also “earthquake” “relief”
Science: What is an earthquake? What/Who causes earthquakes?

Then a general conversation about safety ensued. To ease her fears we talked about what emergency preparations are in our home. We let her try on our gas masks. We demonstrated the butane cooking stove and kerosene heater. We talked about the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. What foods we have that are stored in case our electricity is off in an emergency (or other ;o) situation. How we will clean the water from the creek that runs behind our home if the water supply is cut off. Etc.

Also, we made her aware of our contribution to the cause. We have provided major detailed coverage in our newspaper and we have also assisted in the promotion of local fundraising events. She also hears my radio show guests as we discuss it, so she is learning how to help “in your own way” to any cause. Money is not always YOUR best means of assistance.

3 comments:

Don said...

You are so intelligent that it doesn't make any sense (a compliment). As a home schooler I am sure that you remain on top of everything you teach, but this is simply outstanding.

From the teaching itself all the way to the demonstrations.

Girl of a thousand names, including Sister P said...

Thanks so much Don. I I think that often as teachers we tend to spend either too much time on current event, without putting it into context or we spend too little time on it and do not explore the feelings of the children on the topic.

I'm hoping to develop a good balance and this was really my first major news event to happen in our young schooling experience.

Don said...

A good balance is definitely what you are developing, no doubt about it.

Keep up the good work. I know you will.