Five Minute Lessons

by Connie Overlock


Let's face it, how many of you can remember what you learned in school? Beyond the reading, writing, and arithmetic, what do you remember? I'm sure there are those who remember more than most, but realistically, do you?


In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue...

One bright day in the middle of the night....

My very excellent mother just served us nine pizzas.


These three things are what come to mind when I think of the things I learned.


What do these things have in common? They were taught using rhyme, mnemonic devices, or were just plain quick and easy to learn. 


I was thinking about that this week as I was taking care of a 6 year-old and a 4 year-old. We had just finished reading The Boxcar Children, Book 2. Grandfather Alden was sending a crew to dig artifacts from a cave that the children had found. I asked the kids if they new what a person is called that digs up artifacts. They did not. I explained that these people were called archaeologists.


We went from reading that to reading The Magic School Bus in the Time of the Dinosaurs. Therefore, I explained that paleontologists dig for dinosaurs. Then I was able to explain what the two words have in common. It took all of five minutes, without taking away from the reading of the book. It was a quick yet simple science lesson that they are more likely to remember because it was taught in context with something else they were interested in, and it was taught without  a lot of other facts all at once.  


Kids are more apt to remember the things that interest them, the things they use or repeat regularly, or things they learn in rhyme or song. Let's be careful about overloading our children's brains, and allow them to learn in a more natural way, the way they learn to talk, by hearing, seeing and doing.