Learning Rocks!

Hi and welcome back to Attention-ology for K – 5 Teachers!

Teachers, parents and children in many homes around the world are enjoying  holiday vacations today. School – yuck – who wants to talk about school!

Imagine even considering the prospect of returning to school after the new year as a GIFT –  something to be treasured along with other presents recently received.

Maybe those of us who are part of free (okay, tax-supported) public schools simply take education for granted, making the concept of school as a gift sound almost silly.

Holiday-time stories of people in need and of people meeting needs prompted me to do some thinking about what people around the world judge to be the best gifts of all. FLASH! A good education is surely among the answers. How then do we get kids to understand and appreciate what school offers, vacation time included?

Here’s a trick to try…Play on the popular word “rocks,” as in something that is “way cool,” by gifting your students in grades 3 – 5 with natural or colored LEARNING ROCKS. 

Learning rocks! Help students collect them.

Intro this activity by telling your class that it’s time to dig into learning again. Tell them that you’ve done some digging yourself and discovered learning rocks you’d like to share…5 rocks for each student. Explain that each rock stands for a letter that spells R – O – C – K – S and each rock stands for a building block of success…  

R – Reading Power

O – Other Core Skills & Talents

C – Critical & Creative Thinking

K – Kids with Good Health & Positive Attitudes

S – Sharing One World

You may choose to post the word ROCKS as an acrostic on a board and write the corresponding phrases next to each letter to initiate a class discussion about these “building blocks of success.” 

Ask students to help you elaborate on the meaning of each phrase. Use the following ideas as a guideR – Reading Power – can mean more than the ability to read at grade level. Reading allows access to information and, in today’s world, information is power. O – Other Core Skills & Talents – opens up an opportunity to discuss the core skills you teach. Why are they important? Ask students to write down what talents they’ve discovered in themselves. Offer a writing assignment that challenges kids to do expository writing about how they plan to put their talents to work. C – Critical & Creative Thinking – Begin a dialog with your class about why critical and creative thinking are so important in a world where change is constant. K – Kids with Good Health & Positive Attitudes – Ask why both are keys to a bright future. What can we do to achieve good health and develop positive attitudes? S – Sharing One World – How can we promote tolerance and appreciation of others as well as respect and care of our environment?

Helping your class dig into the concept that learning rocks, that education is something to treasure,  paves the way to give students in grades 3 – 5 a glimpse into what times were like (and still are) in some areas of the US and other countries where schools have been forced to close. During the Depression Era in America, for example, families had to live by the slogan, “Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without.” A lot of children in those years did without education.

When the calendar turns to January and it’s time to turn our attention back to school, I invite you to use a trick I learned from my Latin teacher, a man who lived through the Depression. Mr. Carr began each new semester with a greeting…”Sic transit, glorius mundi.” He would laugh and tell us to forget about the true translation, “So goes the glory of the world.” Better than that, Mr. Carr would say,” “Sic transit, glorius mundi” means “Bus broke down, ain’t no school today.” Learning rocks, yeah, but so does vacation!

Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in instructional settings!

Talk with you next week,

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet

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Barbara Cleary has been serving as a resource to hundreds of educators for more than 25 years. An award-winning writer, producer, teacher, and trainer, Barbara’s focus is on offering easy, fun tools and tricks that support K-5 curricula and assist teachers with classroom management.
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