Now that it's summer break, I have time to reflect upon yet another year in the classroom. This year was my most challenging yet and for that, I am grateful.
I have some definite face-palm moments in my classroom.
Sometimes I forget that things I assume are common knowledge just...aren't.
The first of many, many moments was when I had to clarify that kings and queens do actually exist. We were reading informational text on the American Revolution, which naturally included a discussion on King George III. This was our mentor text:
They really enjoyed reading and analyzing this passage, although the language and vocabulary did provide some stumbling blocks. However, through discussion, I realized that many of them were confused. They knew the passage we were reading was true and based on facts because it's informational text (hallelujah they've got that down), but were "clunking" on the king label. They didn't realize that kings and queens were real. So after a quick discussion that included yes, kings are real and no, dragons aren't, they seemed to be more okay with the topic.
Apparently they then all went out to recess and informed the other fifth graders, thus ending their confusion as well. Kings did (and do) exist. Glad that's cleared up.
Second, some didn't realize World War Two actually occurred at all, much less (potentially) within their grandparents' lifetime. We were reading Number the Stars and I set the necessary historical background. We looked at some maps (okay Google Earth...it's much more interactive) and took a virtual field trip of Copenhagen.
Then some of my higher students, who have read Number the Stars earlier in the year made the connection that wait, this was based on true events. Another made the connection to some video game, which sparked a class-wide discussion. Next time, I think I'll start with the video game reference since that made a lot more sense to many of them.
Live, learn, and teach on!