by Carolyn Meyer
Learning should be fun and meaningful, happy and productive. When students discover how much fun learning can be, they are motivated by their own enthusiasm.
The lesson was opposites: hot and cold, up and down, big and little, happy and sad.
Teacher: “What is the opposite of dirty?”
As I work at my desk, I hear the sounds of joyful learning expressed in many ways. There is the gentle clicking of manipulatives (little plastic frogs, bears, and cubes) as students place them into containers, counting and adding and subtracting. A time of quiet discussion about calendars is punctuated by a song: Days of the week (clap, clap) Days of the week (clap, clap)…
The gentle balance of activity and calm continues throughout the day – a quiet time of phonics, a rousing rendition of Hokey Pokey, a peaceful rest-time story, an exuberant reading of Green Eggs and Ham.
A recent science experiment about liquids, gases and solids involved three balloons, one filled with water, one filled with air, and one filled with ice. The serious beginning of the lesson suddenly turned to surprise and much laughter when the water-filled balloon popped, giving those nearby an unexpected shower and a dramatic illustration of liquid.
“Can we do it again?” a young student asked.
Carolyn Meyer is the Director and Founder of Louis Braille School