I've always been partial to the classical model of education. It has influenced my teaching philosophy in many ways. I especially like the focus on memory skills in the grammar stage (which is the elementary years). After having worked with this age group for going on 11 years, I think the modern teacher's disregard for memory work is sad--especially since so many of them beat their head against a brick wall in trying to teach abstract "higher-order thinking skills" before some children are really ready. I am not against teaching higher-order thinking skills in moderation as children are ready; however, memory skills are important too. When I was homeschooling, I noticed that good poems and songs to use in memory work were not always easily found, so I often made my own. I decided it was time to share my work with all who would like to use it for non-commerical purposes.
MEMORY WORK PIECE #1 SCIENCE--A Piggyback song about "Vertebrates"
(Sing to tune Jingle Bells)
(CHORUS) Vertebrates, vertebrates, creatures with a backbone,
There are five groups of them by which they can be know,
Amphibians, reptiles, fish, and mammals too,
And then there's the final group called birds,
but let's give each one its due
Amphibians lay eggs--in the water yes,
They breathe through gills when young,
They must stay moist I stress;
Their skin is smooth and damp,
And cold-blooded though they be,
These toads and frogs, and salamanders, are oh, so lovely!
Reptiles have scaly skin, and it's also dry
They are cold-blooded as well,
On this I wouldn't lie;
Lizards and crocodiles fit,
In this group with snakes,
Alligators and turtles too, oh for goodness sakes!
Fish live within the water, and breathe through their gills,
Cold-blooded creatures also,
These facts I must instill;
They have fins upon their bodies,
No arms, legs, wings or claws,
Their scales are such a grand design,
That we give to God applause!
Mammals have fur or hair and they're warm-blooded, yes,
Most grow within their mother--no eggs for them, you've guessed,
They also have four limbs, and mother's milk they drink,
There are 11 groups of them,
Oh my, this makes me think!
Birds are made to fly, at least most of which we know,
They have feathers, wings, and efficient lungs,
And from eggs they grow;
Their beaks God made to help them
Grasp and eat the food they need,
Warm-blooded like all the mammals,
They are unique indeed!