Ok here we go again. Another blog post about poop. Sorry in advance.
Yesterday I tweeted “How does my class discussion always end up with them talking about poop? I was teaching humidity/dew point. Now its on houses built of poop.” I got a few comments about it, even people sending me links about poop houses (my term not theirs) or laughing at the comment.
BUT I have figured out why my class always ends with gross stuff, whether it be poop, passing gas, dead things, and other gross stuff. I teach 6th graders. Not only are they 6th graders, but 74% of my students are boys. Have you ever been around a 6th grade boy? They are gross. Sometimes they even smell. These gross things are constantly on their mind. (They have other things on their minds too, and sometimes that comes out, but I quickly/nervously change the subject!)
What is being taught has to have some kind of connection with students or it goes away. My kids know if something pops in their head about what we are talking about they have the freedom to share. This is great, they are making connections to things that (no mater how weird this is) are important to them.
As a teacher, taking those moments where information and it relating to what your students already know is a must. For them it is making what you taught and what they know meaningful. The book Building Background Knowledge for Academic Achievement by Robert J. Marzano talks about how this all creates a network in students minds that makes recall at a later time less difficult.
Yeah I know poop may be a little extreme, and is not acceptable in all situations. But learning and building that background of knowledge is always acceptable.