Harry Wong
Dec 2017
Vol 14 No 4

Teaching! I Would Do It Again! Part 3

By Warren Singer


Teaching! I Would Do It All Over Again! Part 1

Teaching! I’d Do It All Again! Part 2

Pond of doom!

About a thousand pounds of rocks and forty gallons of water were laboriously carried into to my classroom by students and me to create a habitat for various critters. We gathered rocks of varying size, texture, and color from a wooded area near the school and also near my home in Parsippany. It was a slow onerous process. We created a pond in the classroom by covering some of the rocks with a sheet of canvass and then filling it with water. An air pump hissed throughout the day delivering oxygen to an assortment of fish. The rocks were covered with moss and were offset with an array of colorful artificial flora. Frogs and toads found shelter between the wet rocks; biology lessons came alive! Sometime during the school year, inexplicably, the pond sprung a leak. One morning as I entered the classroom, to my amazement, my carpeted floor felt like a soggy sponge. The custodial staff had much to say about this disaster.  But I survived. The kids, however, thought that our classroom “swamp” was especially cool!

Jeepers creepers

Among the diverse subjects I taught, science was always my favorite. To some extent my enthusiasm was picked up by many of my students. Much that we did in science was hands-on activity, the “glue” that helped the learning stick. And, as with my other subjects, I learned at an early time in my career that lessons taught with an infusion of humor helped to keep the kids focused and wanting more. I taught them how to distinguish between observation and inference, to measure, hypothesize, and to think critically about things. In a nutshell, I did my best to teach them about the processes of science, while linking process to interesting content. Astronomy, biology, chemistry, electricity (my favorite), and much more made up the curricular menu. With life science activity the kids handled (some reluctantly) frogs, toads, salamanders, snakes and turtles.

One of my classes chipped in and bought me, for an end of the year gift, an eleven-inch boa constrictor. In the words of my wife, “Just what I needed!” To compound matters, the child whose mother bought it, somehow misplaced it in her home. It was never found. So on hearing the news of the catastrophe, the kids chipped in once again and bought a second boa. I kept it at home in a tank with a wire mesh cage top. As it grew (I fed it a mouse weekly) it apparently got stronger and longer and was finally able to lift the cage top and escape. It was recovered each time and the cage top was better secured.

I would be remiss not to mention how fortunate I was that my wife [conintued on page 2]



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This entry was posted on Friday, April 1st, 2016 and is filed under *ISSUES, April 2016, Warren Singer. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.13 No.4 April 2016
Cover Story by Sarah Powley
Always the Kids
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