Sunday, July 30, 2006

Unanswered Questions Fuel the Love of Learning

My creation

I still strive to know as many answers as I can, however, I believe it is acceptable for teachers to be stumped sometimes, and more importantly, I think its permissable to allow students to know you’re stumped.

That’s hard for some students, some parents, and even educators themselves to deal with given that teachers should be the one with the answers. We all want highly qualified educators in our classrooms, but we also want educators who have a love of learning.

Many of my students, as young as they are, comment from time to time concerning the breadth of my knowledge regarding American History and my ability to tie in what they are studying in Language Arts to their Social Studies.

Students say, “Gee, elementaryhistoryteacher, how do you know all this stuff? How do you remember all of those dates? ”

Of course, my little dears have no inkling as to the amount of planning and research that go into a unit. They are clueless concerning the fact that I review a unit for several weeks before teaching it, and I constantly add and take away components of a unit depending on the needs of my learners.

One thing my little dears do have knowledge of is their teacher absolutely loves what she teaches. They understand that I have a rabid love of learning for any type of history and that I love a good question to research.

We would quickly loose our love of learning if we knew all the facts or had all the answers. The hunt for answers is my biggest attraction for what I do, and I want to translate that for my students. I want them to know how to search for answers themselves and string together facts to arrive at an answer.

Yesterday I came across a little factoid that caused me to travel down Internet sidestreets attempting to discover the answer to a question that involved a gold ring, strands of hair, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and the presidential inauguration of 1905.

Intrigued? I was. To see what I found out you will need to click on over to my newest post at the American Presidents Blog. You will need to scroll down past the mosaic of Roosevelt and Lincoln to read the second half of my post.


Mrs. Bluebird said...

Thanks so much for dropping by my blog. Sigh, seems we start school early down here in the South, don't we? My friends in California and Ohio are starting late August and early September. They hardly give us time to enjoy our sweet tea on the back porch!! Good luck to you and I'll be checking back on your blog as well. As you probably figured out, I may teach (and love science) but I'm also a history nut!

HappyChyck said...

Great post. As a language arts teacher, and particularly in literature, I find that one cannot possibly know all the right answers. Half of what I'm teaching them has nothing to do with knowing the answer, but EXPLORING ANSWERS. Sometimes it drives the students a little nuts when I won't tell them answers to their questions, but when it comes to critical thinking, it's not always about what I THINK the answers are. It's what THEY THINK they answers could be. Perhaps some differences from history, but I know not all....

BTW I followed the link...WOW! That is such a cool mystery about the hair/ring stuff. Those are the kinds of stories I liked to hear in history. How fun!

Meredith said...

While we are talking about great presidents, let me share an article I found online last night.
I'm sure you know the 110 Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior Company and Conversation, which George Washington wrote out by hand at age 16. But, I was enthralled by these rules, a few of which I want to share with my class the first day. Here's one of my favorites:

In the Presence of Others Sing not to yourself with a humming Noise, nor Drum with your Fingers or Feet.

Those little tapping sounds in the classoom get more and more on my nerves! History is indeed amazing.

Anonymous said...

I have no problem telling my students taht I do not know something and will look further for information. It lets them know that I still seek knowledge everyday and that one should not stop learning b/c they stopped attending classes. Hopefully it encourages them to seek answers too. Although, I want to do a better job of having the answers this year. It seems that no matter how hard we try to cover all aspects of a lesson a student can always throw in a surprise.

EHT said...

Thanks for the comments everyone.

Belleza, I am familiar with George Washington's rules. What a great idea to share them with students....I may do it the first or second day of school.

Kontan, those little surprises are what keeps us on our toes!