Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Alligator Fingers and Communism

I am convinced that the creators of our kindergarten curriculum have never actually seen a real, live kindergartner. If they had, they would not have created the idiotic projects suggested in the books! They are almost always so complicated that I, a native English speaker, have to read the directions more than once just to figure them out. How do they expect three-year-olds to do these projects?!

Today was another example of this stupidity regarding projects, so once again, I had to change the project to make it something my kindies would be able to do. The book wanted them to cut out and create little green cones and then fold in the bottoms of them so they could glue the cones to a picture of an alligator in the book. Three problems with that:
1. Getting the kids to cut the stuff out is enough of a feat, but getting them to make cones, using glue??? As if!
2. The texture of the paper on the cutouts makes it resistant to glue - apparently the creators of the book didn't think of that.
3. Assuming they had managed to do the project, they would not have been able to close their books, owing to little cones sticking off a page. Then again, the cones would probably have fallen off right away.

Since the point of the project was to reinforce the concept of "cone" (they're learning shapes right now), I had the kids do the cutting, and then I made the cones (using tape instead of glue). I made sure that they realized that each of them now had four little green cones. Then, I had them put the cones on their fingers and - voila! - alligator fingers! The kids had a blast pretending to be alligators.

In a different class, I got into a very interesting discussion the other day with one of my very best students. Normally I avoid any discussions about politics, or anything controversial, but she brought this conversation up. I have tried to recall word for word what was said, and I think I've gotten most of it down. I thought it was very enlightening to get a child's perspective on Communism:

Gina: "Teacher, you live in a free country, right?"
Me: (wondering where the heck this is going) "Y-es, I do..."
Gina: "And Korea is free, too."
Me: "Uh huh."
Gina: "And I think UK is free. But China and North Korea - they is not free [sic]."
Me: "No, they're Communist."
Gina: "The people there can't do what they want. But we can do what we want."
Me: "Yes, we can."
Gina: "Teacher, why North Korea is not free?"
Me: "Well--"
Gina: "Teacher, don't the people want to be free? Why they is not free?"
Me: (completely at a loss as to how to explain this) "Well...why do you think they aren't free?"
Gina: (thinking about it for a moment) "Teacher, I think one day bad men trick the people. They tell lies. And the people think they is good men. The people is not careful. And now the people is not free and the people is scared of government."

I think ten-year-olds can be pretty insightful!

1 comment:

ESL Jobs in Korea said...

yeah! some kids can be really smart..:)

"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"