“The Gasp” and the Growth of a Child

My elementary school kids desperately want to please their teacher.  So much so, they frequently let their emotions get the better of them.  Actually it’s daily.  And here’s how I know: Each and every day that I’m in the classroom I hear the “gasp”! A little background: Good teaching requires a high level of engagement between teacher and student.  And one of the best ways to build such rapport is through questioning.  Active questioning helps ensure-nothing completely ensures!-that the students …

Building a Story – The Roles of Authors and Illustrators

Every story has a beginning, middle and end.  And in the details of that telling, we can be transported to times and places that fill us with a range of emotions – from wonder, hope and, mirth – to fear, sadness and dread.  And the best stories usually have a blend of both! My Experience Corps kids are currently engaged in “author studies.”  What you and I – if you’re a Gen Xer, boomer or older – used to call storytime!  …

Astronaut Abby – Inspiring Others to Dream Big

This is a guest post by Abigail Harrison. Otherwise known as Astronaut Abby, Abby  is a 15-year-old high school STEM student and aspiring astronaut whose ultimate goal is to be the first astronaut to Mars in 2030.   It’s amazing how one meeting, one interaction, one event can change our lives. This has been the case for me as I have ventured out to make my dream of becoming the first astronaut to Mars a reality. I may only be 15-years-old, …

Celebrating 100 Days of School on the Wall

Today my class of Experience Corps students celebrated their 100th day of school!  When I got to school the teacher had placed “100th day of school” signs all over the walls.  To celebrate, the children made crowns with a “100” featured prominently on the front, and decorated their headband with 100 hearts, numbers, triangles, dots, letters-whatever they were moved to create.  And even if they didn’t get 100 “somethings” down on the paper, when the adults stapled the bands to fit …

The Essential Agreement of the Classroom

  Maintaining discipline in a classroom of elementary school kids is seldom easy.  My teacher has a number of tactics that she uses.  When a couple of kids aren’t paying attention or picking at each other, she says, “I’ll wait.”  She then silently pauses her lesson, the room gets quiet, and the kids that aren’t focused realize all eyes are on them and they settle down. If things get worse and more kids “don’t have their eyes on the speaker …

Provide a Mentor for a Child Through Giving Tuesday

This is a guest post by Deborah Jaquith of the AARP Experience Corps Program. Everyone’s heard of Black Friday and most have heard of Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, but what about Giving Tuesday?  We spend so much time around Thanksgiving shopping for Christmas. What about “shopping” online to invest in the work of the many nonprofits who give every day to others?  After all, isn’t that what the season is all about? Giving Tuesday is a campaign to create a …