This week I led an introductory activity for the human body unit in third grade science. Somewhere in between one college lecture and another, I had forgotten how much reiteration is necessary and built into the curriculum, especially at the elementary level. On Monday, Miss Anne, my cooperating teacher reviewed information about the senses that the students learned last year. Today on Wednesday, I also reviewed the information with them, before moving onto the lesson introducing the body. This is something I feel we phase out as students progress in school. Through talking with Miss Anne, I think some of the reason for this is pressure to progress through content. In Colegio Highlands Los Fresnos, the students are split into two classes, a boys and a girls class, so Miss Anne has a different class each day. I am only at school on Mondays and Wednesdays with the boys, but Miss Anne and I have discussed the struggle she faces in ensuring that the two are keeping pace with one another. Often the boys' class has fallen behind, and in an effort to make sure she covers all the content, reviews sometimes get cut, despite their helpfulness both for the students in remembering material and as assessments for the teachers.
For the new content I began by asking the students’ table groups to brainstorm a list of parts of the human body. Then I asked for two volunteers and had one lie down on a piece of butcher paper and the other student traced him. We then went around the room and each group shared a part of the body that they had brainstormed. In retrospect I would have liked to had more varied participation and possible have asked that a different student from the group share each round. Then, using posters provided by my cooperating teacher, I asked the students a series of questions about the circulatory, respiratory, and digestive systems. Questions were constructed as an informal assessment to gauge what the students knew about the chapter we were about to start. The questions included things like, What do you see on the poster?, Can you label any of the parts?, Do you know what the function of it is (what does it do)? What else do you know about this system?