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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Chapter 1 This class also had a make-your-own-sundae party. Families were invited. The children served the peach ice cream. The room was decorated with their charts, graphs, sto- ries, drawings, and photographs. This party was a celebration of weeks of learning about something familiar to everyone. Meanwhile, the children were already talking about their next project for study: refrigeration! During the ice cream study, Emily’s grandfather had told her about cutting ice from nearby lakes in winter to store and use for iceboxes in summer. Many of the children had never heard of pre-electricity refrigeration. They all swam in the lake where Emily’s grandfather had cut ice in the “old days.” They were fascinated by this story and curious about how food was kept fresh before electricity. Their learning was spiraling in new directions. This story is an example of what Dewey would call an educational experience. The teacher observed and asked ques- tions to find out what the children already knew. She set up experiences for them to discover things they didn’t already know. She used her knowledge of child development to plan curriculum that was age appropriate, and she documented the children’s learning to support her understanding of their thinking. The success of the project is measured by the fact that it led into the next area of study. The children were left curious, wanting more, and confident in their ability to dive in and satisfy their curiosity. Dewey in the Twenty-First Century A colleague with whom many of the ideas in this book were discussed for months prior to its publication used to have long talks with me about teaching. We both found ourselves con- cerned by the extent to which many of the teachers we spoke with had strong notions about paid planning time and articu- lated that when they left the building their job should be done until they return. 30 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL