Friday, June 18, 2004

Foreign Language Learning: An Early Start

Foreign Language Learning: An Early Start. Learning foreign languages is hard. Yet, the earlier you start, the easier it is...

From the site:

During the 1960s, the idea of introducing foreign languages in the elementary school was a popular one, and elementary school foreign language programs were numerous. Interest in early language programs has resurfaced in recent years, and the number of programs being implemented is increasing. Many states are requiring the study of a foreign language at the elementary level. Louisiana, for example, has mandated that foreign language study begin in grade 4.

For a local school or community seeking to implement elementary school language programs, it is important that a rationale--reasons why the program should be incorporated into the curriculum--be developed to meet the needs and priorities of the particular area or institution the program(s) will serve. "School boards and parents organizations need reasons and evidence before making a commitment of time and resources to a new program" (Curtain, & Pesola, 1988, p. 1). A rationale should address benefits of language learning, the choice of languages to be taught, and the type of instruction to be used. A convincing rationale will help secure a place for foreign language education in the elementary school.

(For more information on elementary foreign language programs, see the ERIC Digest, Elementary School Foreign Language Programs, prepared by Jane Reeves, 1989.)

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Pratt's Educational Resources for Teachers & Parents

Pratt's Educational Resources for Teachers & Parents. A directory of links to lesson plans, activities, and homeschooling in all subject areas. Emphasis on elementary, but some links are appropriate for older students.

From the site:

Find FREE resources which include: themes, crafts, activities, online activities, recipes, music, Spanish, links, etc.
There are links on my pages that promote products but I have never bought anything from any of these sites and I do not endorse any of them.

I am a certified teacher (through 2003) and have an endorsement in ESL (English as a Second Language.) I have not taught in the public school system. I served a mission in Chile for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You can learn more at: mormon.org. I learned the Spanish language in Chile. I was a Student Teacher in a Bilingual 1st and 2nd Grade classrooms (there were two classroom teachers) during the Fall of 1996.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Science Fairs in Elementary School

Science Fairs in Elementary School. I actually did a volcano in 4th grade and won! I know that is not supposed to happen. I still love science fair day even though I am now a judge.

From the site:

Science fair projects have long been familiar events in schools throughout the country, and they have come to represent science in action, science as inquiry. The investigatory aspect of science fair projects fits wellwith current reform efforts guided by such publications as "Science for All Americans," "Benchmarks for Scientific Literacy," and the "National Science Education Standards." Classroom science is steadily being transformed into a process-driven, inquiry-based area of study, and science fair projects provide additional opportunities for students to become personally and directly involved in scientific investigation.

Elementary schools participate in science fairs for a variety of reasons: to stimulate student interest in science, to provide students with opportunities for research and active inquiry, to publicly recognize students' completed projects, and to provide students with opportunities to share their work (Perry,1995). There are many variations in format, but the primary components of a science fair project typically include an investigation, a written research report, a visual display, an oral presentation, and some sort of assessment. Learning some scientific facts or principles is a valuable fringe benefit for students doing projects, but the primary objective for science project work is to teach students to think (Tant, 1992, p.5.)

Students participating in science fairs are doing more than learning something new; they are using and extending knowledge gained previously through other experiences. Science fair work plans help students organize and review background information gained through previous library research on topics of interest. Past experiences will also help students make decisions on the importance of information to their topics.

The more a student knows about a topic, the easier it is to learn and remember new information (Recht & Leslie, 1988, as cited in Bruning, et al., 1995). Science fair projects provide students another avenue of learning more about topics of personal interest to them while also demonstrating both factual knowledge in written reports and procedural knowledge through the research process itself (Bruning, et al, 1995). Together, prior knowledge and newly acquired knowledge enable students to generate, analyze, and assess the impact of their findings, as well as connect what they learn to experiences beyond the science fair project.