by Gary: Today I had my first experience in a Georgian classroom. We visited Buckswood School for the day, attending a grade 4, 5, and 6 Nature (what they call science) class, and a grade 6 math class. It was total immersion as the class was instructed in Georgian. The teacher, however, keeping with the theme of true Georgian hospitality, tailored her lesson to make it familiar mathematically even if the language barrier became a struggle. A review of Geometry was the topic of discussion to allow us the visuals necessary to follow along, and we were provided with a fluent English speaking high school student to fill in any blanks.
Keeping within the topics of my research, I was first to note the use of materials and/or manipulatives to assist in the lesson. The students had supplied their own cut outs of geometric shapes to assist with the lesson and the room we were in was complete with a version of a smart board that I hadn’t seen before. The projector simply displayed to the wall and the stylus did all the work from there. The teacher was highly proficient with the use of this technology and the students had no difficulty during their turns with it either.
Productive struggle was the other focus of my research and observations and turned out to be a great choice. The teacher took the part more as a moderator while the students eagerly and aggressively assisted each other to come up with answers and equations to solve problems. When prompted to answer directly, hands were raised and the students would stand as they addressed the teacher with their responses. They were engaged and focused.
The manner in which these students were participating was for themselves and not merely for recognition or praise. That type of feedback was not offered. They behaved like intellectuals in solving problems in a manner that seemed far beyond their age.
I was impressed. This is a perfect model of how I wish for my future classrooms to run.
Midway through the day we were treated to the same school lunch in the dining hall that all of their students had that day: buckwheat, sausage (which looked like a hot dog!), vegetable soup, honey rolls, and strawberry juice. Their school lunches are homemade each day by the kitchen staff, complete with a baker and separate brick building that is the bakery.
We'd like to thank the young followers of our blog. They come from Mrs. Holt's first grade class in Raynham, MA, and Mrs. Kunkle's kindergarten class in Plymouth, MA. Mrs. Holt's class put together a slide show of what their classroom looks like for Mrs. Glen to show the Georgian students: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDnCJc4sbo0. Mrs. Kunkle's class learned about the location and flag of Georgia from Mr. Parmenter, one of the BSU students on the trip.