Thursday, January 29, 2015

Wear the "Cape". Save a Student.

"I like your cape."

This is one of my favorite quotes from this year, from a five-year-old boy looking at my red and blue, striped tie. This same student would choose to buy me a tie for Christmas (which I thought was awesome, by the way). It made an impression on him...on all of my students, actually. They like my ties, my shiny shoes, and my socks (Batman, Ninja Turtles, Super Grover...I am a Kindergarten teacher, after all). 

I'm working at a school that is in a low-income area, with a very high percentage of students on Free and Reduced Lunch Plans. Many of the students at my school have no exposure to the world of resumes and cover letters, budgets and bills. Lately I've been thinking about how necessary it is to mix some real-world experience into lessons and projects. Scouring Twitter the other night, I came across the idea (on of having students write resumes for main characters in books as an alternative book report (I think they could also be used as reports for historical figures). This made me try to think of other ways that real-world skills could be brought into an elementary classroom.

I feel like the idea of creating resumes for fictional characters or historical figures is a great one. What better way to give kids their first experience resume writing than with practice on characters or famous people who have done many things that could be included? They won't run out of material, and they'll be discovering how to develop their own resume when it's time. I thought that teachers could use the concept of creating a budget or paying bills to help teach math. Addition, subtraction, multiplication,'s all there. Opportunities for mock interviews or presentations would be great experience. Encouraging the kids to dress up for those presentations or interviews could help as well.

These are just a few skills that kids in today's world may not see being modeled at home. They may not know that bills exist, or should be paid. They probably don't know how that affects a budget, if they even know what a budget is. They may not have seen someone wear a tie, or "dress to impress" at an interview.

If we want to "save" students, or just help them to become a part of the workforce, and successfully contribute to society, we have to help them build the skills that are necessary to do so. Now, I just have to think of some practical ways to mix this into my kindergarten classroom...

Got any ideas? How can you work real-world skills in your elementary classroom?

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