Light Bulb Kinda Day

“Let it go, let it go…”

Okay – now that you all have THAT song running through your head, you are hearing what I hear every time I’m babysitting at the Grands. I haven’t even seen all the movie – yet – but I sure know the songs and can at least fake singing most of them as we journey home from Montessori school every day. That being said – it is also my whole curriculum right now for teaching the Grands to read.

“The essence of teaching is to make learning contagious, to have one idea spark another.” ~Marva Collins

We been supplementing the reading program at school off and on this year, and the eldest has been resisting most of the way. After all – when there are tadpoles, toads, dragonflies and half decayed spiders to be found – who wants to read? The bike, the pool and endless forts to create are much more fascinating than reading. But “Frozen” has tipped the scales, and today – I watched the light bulb go on inside that little head. Anna – Elsa – snow – let it go – let it go –

.“There is a brilliant child locked inside every student”” ~ Collins

This quote decorated my room the last few years of my teaching career, but it had been the lynch pin of my teaching techniques ever since I read Marva Collins’ books and learned about the Collins Method (a very intense curriculum focusing on the classical style of education) Basically, Collins (who was born in AL the same year my parents were graduating high school) moved to Chicago as a young teacher – and started her inner city school which required signed contracts not only by students but also with the parents.

“Determination and perseverance move the world; thinking that others will do it for you is a sure way to fail.” ~ Collins

We all have teachers who have touched our lives in a good way or bad way. What most people don’t realize is how often students touch a teacher’s life as well. Because of those students, every year is new and different – curriculum basically outlines the year, but the particulars are determined by the group of students in the room. “Frozen” fulfilled the “particular” this year. Just as “Fault in Our Stars” worked this spring when I was helping some 8th grade students understand theme/character analysis/etc. Sing a song – fill in missing words on a song sheet – retell the story – make predictions – hypothesize a theme – giggle – tickle – and then sit back and watch them start to vibrate with the excitement of understanding.

“Mr. Meant-to has a friend, his name is Didn’t-Do. Have you met them? They live together in a house called Never-Win. And I am told that it is haunted by the Ghost of Might-have-Been.” ~ Collins

I often think that is how Christ must have felt as He told his parables. Stories that He used to turn on a light bulb for those who were in the crowd. As I read the WORD, I realize He is still turning on the “Light” bulb for me. The same techniques work – sing a song – retell the story – write a few things – hypothesize a theme – and suddenly – the lightening strikes my dense brain. Today, the Grands shared their lightening with me, and I remembered exactly why I love teaching.

.”If Abraham Lincoln were enrolled in public schools today, he would probably be in a learning disability program. Lincoln didn’t learn to read until age 14. No one should rule any child out of the educational picture,” Collins told Ebony magazine.


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