Classroom Lessons: A Story from Cy
There are certain moments in teaching that are just simply priceless. These moments come in different forms. It can be when "the light turns on" and a student finally understands a difficult concept; or when a student basks in the glow of their success that you've helped them achieve; or simply when a child says "thank you". Teachers effectively get to these moments more as they develop their craft. Through practice I was able to develop my lesson and nearly every time I visit a classroom to present our lesson, I experience one of these moments.
During the lesson, we discuss the importance of wearing a helmet. I first put out the question, "What kind of people wear helmets?"
Little hands shoot into the air, eager to answer. Responses include firemen, policemen, skateboarders, the Eagles, the Phillies, the Flyers, skiers, construction workers, dirt bike riders, monster truck drivers, and bike racers.
I then say, "Ok now let's think about why they all wear helmets. What does a helmet protect?"
They reply, "Our heads!"
I then ask, "And what's in our heads?"
"Our brains!" they say.
"And what does our brain do?"
Answers fill the room. "It helps us breathe! It makes us move! It makes us smart!"
"Yes! It helps us do the things we want to do, and it even does some things for us without having to think about it." I respond. "Think about what would happen if you lost it."
The classroom mood slightly sobers. I then continue, "All the fun would just STOP. All these people LOVE what they do, and they wear their helmets because they want to KEEP DOING THOSE THINGS."
That's when the moment happens. The class collectively settles and is in silence, as if they all hold their breath and stop to think about what was just discussed. It is at this moment that they get it. It is at this moment that they understand the importance of wearing a helmet. I pause for a few seconds to allow for some time to absorb our discussion, and then continue on with the lesson. This moment never gets old.