Listen to part of a conversation between a student and his professor.
Hi Mathew, I'm glad you could come in today.
You've been observing Mr. Grabell's third-grade class for your Approaches to Education paper, right?
Um… yes…I go over to Johnson elementary school.. you know to watch Mr. Grabell teach the children in class.
It's been amazing, I mean, I'm just learning so much from just watching him.
I'm so glad the classroom observations are a requirement for the education program.
I mean it's like the best thing ever to prepare you to be a good teacher.
Well, I'm glad to see you feel that way, Mathew. You know, that's the goal.
So … I’ve been reading over your observation notes, and I’m quite interested in what’s going on—in particular with the astronomy unit he’s been teaching.
[questioning, not sure where it’s leading] The astronomy unit?
It seems that Mr. Grable has mastered the interdisciplinary approach to teaching that we've been talking about in class.
Oh, OK. [trying to think of an example] Yeah, so like when he was teaching them astronomy … he didn’t just teach them the names of the planets. He used it as way to teach mythology.
Really? so, how did he do that?
Well, some of the students could already name the planets, but they didn't know that the names had any meaning - the stories behind them.
[Leading] So he…
He introduced Greek and Roman mythology as a way of explaining.
Like, you know, how like Jupiter's the biggest planet, right, and how Jupiter was the name of the king of the gods in Roman mythology, right?
So since Jupiter, the planet, is the largest planet in our solar system, it's like the king of the planets, like Jupiter was the king of all the gods.
Oh Matthew, that's a great example!
Yeah … and each student chose a planet, and then did research on it to write a report and make a presentation.
They went to the library to do the research. Then they made presentations about the planet they chose.
So in one science unit, in which the focus was astronomy, the students also learned about the literature of Greek and Roman mythology, used research skills in the library, wrote a report, and practiced their oral presentation skills?
Exactly! He used this one topic to teach third-graders all that stuff - how to use the books in the library, to write reports, and even how to speak in public.
Plus they had a great time doing it.
You know, Mathew, this is just what we've been talking about in our class. and I'm sure everyone could learn something from your experience, [pause]
You know, Mathew, I'd love for you to talk about this astronomy unit in class on Wednesday.
Really? Um … cuz I don't really think I'll have any time to write my paper by then …
Oh, you won't need to write anything new just yet. For Wednesday, use your class observation notes, and explain the things we've discussed today.
Ok, that sounds all right.