Thursday, January 22, 2015

Groundhog Day

We all know that young children love making predictions. It gives them a sense of empowerment and challenges them to make connections between events, facts, or stories. If the prediction happens to be correct, their sense of accomplishment is heightened. 

If you watch a young child making a prediction, it’s as if you can actually ‘see’ the gears in his brain engaging! Predictions encourage children to ‘think about’ and analyze stories or situations. It is a powerful tool that activates new synaptic connections at any age. 

All teachers encourage children to make predictions and back up their opinions. You will often hear a teacher in a primary classroom asking, “Why”, countless times in a day to check for understanding and analysis.

As educators, we know that the human brain “turns on” when it feels challenged but “turns off” when it feels threatened. Good teachers attempt to create activities and lessons that stimulate the human brain without shutting it down. Often times there is a fine line between the two that teachers struggle to determine.

One of my favorite writing samples from the last 3 decades is from a Sunday school teacher: She asked her class to write a few sentences explaining why we celebrate Easter. One little boy wrote: “This is why we celebrate Easter because Jesus came up from his grave and if he sees his shadow he will go back in!”  Do you see ‘why’ it is so important to ask “WHY?”

Groundhog Day offers the primary teacher opportunities to engage their students in predictions, surveys, research, and graphing, just to name a few. My kids love to predict if Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow on February 2. I’ve included a FREEBIE for you to create a classroom graph showing your kid’s predictions as well. 

I also have a Groundhog Day product in my TPT store with poems and pictures that you might enjoy.

As I live in SO CA and we need RAIN, I hope Phil WILL see his shadow and we can have 6 more weeks of winter! I’m sure that’s NOT the desired outcome for teachers in other states!


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