Combining Literature and Experience
Updated: Jun 7, 2019
"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." - Benjamin Franklin
What some of you may not know about me is that I was an elementary school teacher... for less than a year. I do not regret leaving, but not finishing the year is something i'm not proud of. Let's just say the amazing experience I had of creating fun, engaging lessons during student teaching was quickly snuffed once the job began. One of the most enriching ways you can teach a child (or adult) ANYTHING is through creating experiences for them, and this was something I was unable to do in that specific position. DO NOT use my encounter with teaching to dismiss the profession, or form an opinion of the job. From what I have gathered I had a very poor experience due to many different circumstances. Most of which had to do with state/county standards and ridiculous ideas from adults in charge who have forgotten what it's like to be a child. I had a fabulous principal, special kids, and a good team of teachers to work with; it was just everything else about the job that snuffed every bit of light out of me.
I had great plans of basing most of my lessons around whats called a literature unit, which allows for cross-curriculum teaching. To me, learning shouldn't be isolated into separate subjects, but lumped as much as possible to fully engage the brain and senses. I could do hundreds of posts on the simple, yet important topic of combining literature and experience for children. You do not have to be a teacher to create meaningful learning experiences for a child! You can do this as a parent, a caregiver, a grandparent, etc. All it takes is a little time, patience, and planning.
Here is a great example for you! I'm going to tell you about our recent trip to Videri Chocolate Factory in Raleigh, NC.
We began our field trip at home! First we read Curious George Goes to a Chocolate Factory It's a simple and entertaining story about George's mishap at a chocolate factory, and of course how he ends up saving the day. Then we went to see an actual chocolate factory in action, and of course enjoyed free samples and bought our favorites. There are so many supplemental activities you can do on a visit like this which allow for connecting real world experience to a story you read at home.
Here are a few:
1. Bring $20 and let your child add up which chocolates they can buy with their budget. (clearly not age appropriate for these little's, but you can still talk about it with them)
2. Search for letters of the alphabet and numbers
3. Practice manners and life skills by ordering the chocolate
4. Talk about what is similar and different in the the story you read
5. Research where coco beans come from and how they are used
6. Make chocolate at home! Google any recipe or use this one: https://www.diynatural.com/homemade-chocolate/
Read more about Videri here: https://www.ourstate.com/videri-chocolate-factory/
Not near Raleigh? I am willing to bet there is a chocolatier near you. Just use the amazing powers of the internet to discover a local artisan closest to you and make a day trip out of it. If you are near Raleigh I highly recommend Videri. There is free parking in the Depot lot right beside the factory, and you can taste some of the chocolate for free! The Historic Depot has other neat shops and restaurants you can eat at as well to maximize your free parking downtown! Now go combine learning and making a memory with the children in your life!