Wednesday, March 30, 2005


This teaching story is too good not to share.

Today in my educational psychology class we were discussing ways in which we could motivate our student to learn and to help foster their own intrinsic motivation. Anyway, my professor told us about a friend of hers who taught (she is now retired) at a school in inner city Philadelphia. She taught kindergarten and first grade.

Now, this next part my ook some of you out, so don't say I didn't warn you.

The first assignment for the year was for each student to bring in a spider. Yes, a spider that they could catch in the park, their house or wherever. It should be noted that the teacher was smart enough to screen the spiders and "remove" the ones that bit or were otherwise unfriendly. After her students brought the spiders into class she released them into the room and let the spiders go about their business. She had her students study the spiders for 6 weeks - they drew the webs, looked up the types of spiders, read charlotte's web, learned about the enviroment and kept journals about them.

This sounds like a neat project. The only downside was the the janitor was not allowed to clean the room for the first 6 weeks of school!

ps - I've added new links.


At 5:15 PM, Anonymous rck said...

Hmmm, not in time for an april joke. So you're not joking, right? I think it would scare a few people to collect spiders...

René C. Kiesler

At 9:36 PM, Blogger Melissa said...

Nope, I'm not joking the teacher really did this with her K-1 class. She said that she had a few girls who after a day or two got over their fear and were out looking at the spiders!

At 3:36 PM, Blogger Polski3 said...

I assume this teacher knows what a Brown Recluse spider looks like? IMO, she is opening herself up for all kinds of trouble with an activity like this. There are SO many other ways to study spiders.


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