Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Friday, March 12, 2010

Public School Kudos

After the last post about my opinions on Standardized Testing, in which I made the comment that I don't agree with the Public School [teaching/learning] paradigm at all, I wanted to follow up with this kudos post. I want every one to know that I fully support public school. Heck, I send some of my kids to public school. (Maybe next year, all). I may think there is a better way. I disagree. And sometimes that's difficult- like I'm not big on making my kids in younger grades do their homework- a big pet peeve of mine- and when Wolfie was in 3rd grade he got in trouble for that. But, back to the point, there are wonderful things about public school and I wanted to highlight one of them.

Last night Brandon had International Night, in which all the 7th graders did a report on an ancient civilization, in groups of three. They all had a beautiful homemade poster, a clay model and- this was the best part- a 2-5 minute memorized presentation. It started with "Hi, my name is _______ and I will be talking about the government..." -for example. Or in Brandon's case the weapons of ancient Japan. Brandon told me that if someone asked a question that they didn't know the answer to they were supposed to say they would look it up and get back to them. I'm sure that didn't happen, but the fact that they were taught how to act really professionally impressed me. Their teacher, Ms. Waugh, as you can imagine, is really amazing. She always say stuff like "I hate kids" but everyone can tell that she loves them. I sat in on one of her classes once and she was really consistent about discipline, totally on top of her game.

Most of the kids did a great job. One I couldn't understand at all. He spoke really softly and Brandon told me he doesn't speak English well. One of the kids was uh-may-zing. Looked me in the eye. Spoke loud and clear. He would make a great politician. A girl in Brandon's group was a freakin genius. Her memorized speech was really really long - all about Japanese geographyand she drew these amazing pictures for the poster-board. Did you know that Japan comprises of over 3000 islands? I didn't know that.

Brandon was excited about the night. I know it was a big deal to him. The kids learned so much. About ancient civilization. About putting together a full report. About public speaking. It was awesome and I know the kids are better for it.

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