Tuesday, March 4, 2008


When the question of important craft, cooking or work tools arose at Heather's blog, I tried to think of whether I had important tools at work teaching fourth-grade. Bribery aside, one of my favorite work tools is a magnifying glass! When I did my teaching in college, we taught a class of fifth-graders about the American Revolution. When it came time to discuss the Declaration of Independence, the printouts we had were so tiny that we needed to give the students magnifying glasses out of complete necessity. John Hancock had great foresight!

The unexpected result was that the students were toooootally into it. They saw themselves as historical detectives and were devouring the document that might have otherwise been unimportant to them.

So... teachers, parents, home schoolers, grandparents, caregivers...... if you want your child to be really interested in a topic, give them a magnifying glass! As with anything, don't overuse this tool and make it commonplace. Here are some applications for magnifying glasses:
  • Scientific observations (insects, etc.)
  • A closer look at paintings and pictures (in books, prints)
  • Dust detectives (send them out with a magnifying glass and a dust rag!)
  • Word detectives in spelling or reading books (find this word we just talked about)
  • Pin collectors (find all mom's pins on the floor before we step on them!)
  • Reading something unfamiliar
  • Noticing differences in things
  • Finding things on the floor or carpet that need vacuuming
  • Drawing teeny tiny drawings, holding the magnifying glass as you draw!
So, when in the course of human events it comes time to motivate children to do something you want them to do, magnify it!

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