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The NY Times lesson plan reminds me how I got started, except that I think 
my "lesson plan" was better.

I was thirteen, a student at a boarding school in Dutchess County, NY and 
curious about all things natural. The Biology teacher spotted that and made 
me "Curator" of the Biology lab. My duties involved catching frogs, snakes 
and a baby snapping turtle for the lab's terraria and feeding them meal 
worms, which were being bred on a bed of cracked grain in a big earthenware 
crock.  The Biology teacher also had a pack of (3 1/2" by 5"?) flash cards 
distributed by the National Audubon Society. On one side of each card was a 
picture of a species of bird. On the other side was some information about 
the species. The Biology teacher assigned me (I believe I suggested the 
assignment) to make a display using the cards. Each time I saw a new species 
of bird, I tacked its card onto a cork board. Thus began a list of local 
birds and a chronological record of their occurrence around the boarding 
school, a year list, a life list and a lifetime of learning about birds.

The thing I like about my Biology teacher's lesson plan vs the NY Times' is 
that he made me the planner. Thus occurred what I think is the most 
important kind of teaching. I became interested enough in the subject so 
that I kept on learning it after the formal course ended.

(I have an essay on my website entitled "My Greatest Teacher," which 
illustrates the same principle of teaching in a different  context. If you 
want to read it, click on http://home.comcast.net/~bobgfisher/prison.htm).

Bob Fisher
Independence, Missouri
[log in to unmask] 

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