Good teachers never cease to amaze me. They are tasked with trying to teach kids about things they may or may not want to learn about. I’ve heard so many people comment that they don’t allow their kids to have screen time. I understand their concerns and interest in keeping their kids away from electronics, but I think they are missing out on the opportunity to diversify their child’s learning.
As an example, Netflix is filled with documentaries as well educational shows. Yes, there are a lot of fantastic prime time shows as well, but there’s more to Netflix than just hit TV series and blockbuster movies. From classics like Tom and Jerry to newer shows like Project Mc2, there’s a lot of depth content available for parents and kids – both for entertainment-only as well as educational.
Well Miss M’s Language Arts teacher sees the value in it and took it to the next level. With the end of the term upon us, one of the assignments was to have the parents read through the child’s journal a make notations as to what could be learned about the child through his/her writings. Miss M brought home her journal and I found it quite enlightening to see how she responded to the various daily prompts such as “I am from” poem, “What is your favorite food?” and “What would you bring if you were stranded on an island?” Her personality definitely shines in her writing and I think that’s fantastic.
One topic really caught my attention though. A few weeks ago, it was the writing prompt for the daily journaling assignment. Yes, Netflix as a writing prompt. I find that positively genius. Aside from recognizing that it is an integral part of today’s viewing habits, she realizes that it can spur thoughts about whatever subject a child is engaging in.
Have you ever stopped to check out the variety of shows available on Netflix? I’m not talking about the categories but the subgenres within each category.
Let’s start by taking a look at the kids section. Netflix Kids offers a variety of options including science, education, dinosaurs, detectives and more. A teacher could utilize any of those ideas to inspire journal entries. Even utilizing non-educational themes such as superheroes, animated and girl power are all topics that kids can relate to and spur ideas for a story of some kind.
Our family enjoys watching science, nature and biographical documentaries, but I’ve never looked at the sub-genres before. A teacher could utilize the various Netflix documentary types to encourage kids to think deeper about travel, nature, history and even military. A lot can be learned by looking at something through a different lens. A documentary can bring a topic to life in a way that a textbook might not be. Imagine asking a student to journal about something they learned in one of those categories.
Of course, journaling doesn’t always revolve around school. Church programs often utilize reflection and inner focus as a way to think through various subjects. Netflix has several options in their faith and spirituality section including sub-genres of movies, documentaries and kids. Utilizing a medium like Netflix that kids are comfortable with and have control over is a great way to get past writer’s block, emotional road blocks and the idea that writing isn’t much fun. Sometimes the best writing prompts are the ones right in front of us.
I (obviously) love to write and am thrilled that Miss M’s teacher has found ways to inspire her students. What innovative ideas have you seen teachers incorporate?