Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Content Conundrum

Just as education at large seems to be on a pendulum swinging back and forth, I am on my own personal pendulum when it comes to teaching science and social studies. Back and forth I swing, wondering all the while, "Will I ever find the perfect balance?" Time constraints, daily demands, delays and time killers, mixed with the continued push to spend more time teaching reading and math (which I DO love to do), all put the squeeze on content area teaching and learning.

And so I swing...teach them both in one day or alternate between the two every so often? I can't figure out what the right answer is! Or even IF there is a right answer. Back and forth I argue with myself. It goes something like this:

On teaching them both:
I should do them both every day because students need to be exposed to the content area at this age. For many of them, science or social studies is the most exciting part of the day. When they get to fifth grade they will have them both, so I am helping to prepare the students. If I leave one out, what about the History Buffs? What about the emerging Scientists? Is it really fair to NOT cover them every day?

On alternating:
You know, if I only teach one or the other, we can really 'dig in' to the content and go deeper. We'll have more time to spend on the content and be able to do more hands-on activities. I can prepare for lessons and teach better when only preparing for one content area because my focus and time will not be divided. Students are used to this format. It's what they've done in the primary grades. I can always try to integrate the "other" subject into reading or writing. 

So it goes--back and forth---one or the other. I'm currently on the "Alternating" side of the issue. I like that I don't have to rush through one subject to get to the other one, and that students can dig deeper into the content.

Perhaps one day I'll find the balance, or maybe I'll simply chose the side that works best for me and my class. 

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