Today, I visited my niece’s third grade class to talk about China and had a practical answer to the question, “how do we teach across experience?”
First, show and tell. I brought in money, a kite, mini-terracotta warriors, a teapot and pu’er tea, and a map (and yes, like elementary students in China, these third graders saw how closely China’s borders resemble the silhouette of a chicken.)
Second, play. We looked at the money and compared it to dollars. Several students taught me how to make sweet tea and then I showed them how to use the teapot (and yes, teapots travel.) We also played go fish (去钓鱼!) in Chinese to learn about tones.
Third, detailed story-telling. The students loved the story of the Qin Emperor (秦始皇), wanting to know how many kingdoms he conquered, how many soldiers were buried with him, and what kind clothes he wore.
It seems self evident, but: why isn’t education always this fun?