An Important Reminder… From my Son

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Guest blogger Laura Gatto shares a delightful story of preparing her son to handle the anxiety of air travel with BrainPOP!

In the week leading up to spring break, my 6-year-old son was super excited about our upcoming vacation to DisneyWorld. He also seemed a little nervous about the plane ride, so I thought it would be a good idea to watch a BrainPOP movie on FLIGHT. Perhaps it would help reduce his anxiety, at the very least it could reduce mine! So, in the brief window of time between preparing his school lunch and getting him out the door to catch the bus, we watched the movie and took the quiz together. Though our time was limited, we delved into the mechanics of movement with physics concepts like weight, drag, lift and thrust. Though he didn’t understand everything, he was interested, curious and excited!

Later, I thought about our tendency to hold back teaching children certain “difficult” subjects even when we notice their excitement and interest. I stumbled upon some of my college notes from the writings of renowned cognitive psychologist, Jerome Bruner and was reminded that the foundations of any subject can be taught to anyone, at any age, in some form, no matter their developmental stage. He was one of the first to see that children were active problem solvers and that they could learn the foundational components of any “difficult” subject matter.

Later that night, while sorting a pile of my son’s papers that he had brought home from school, I discovered a drawing of a jet airplane! It was awesome! Okay- maybe I’m just a little biased, but it was clearly influenced by the BrainPOP movie we had watched earlier that morning! The next day, upon following up with his teacher, I was informed that he had shared how planes fly with class and expressed great excitement about his upcoming trip. Success: no anxiety in sight, a new interest in flight, and a beautiful drawing for my wall.

Image: Jet Airplane by Gregory Gatto – 6 years old

5 comments
  1. mlboyd42 said:

    Great story and very inspiring!!! Our children could learn so much more if we would refrain from holding back what we view as “too hard.”

  2. mlboyd42 said:

    Great story!!! Teaching can happen anywhere, anytime. I agree wholeheartedly that as an educator I should not hold back the hard material from students because it is hard and they won’t grasp it all. We all too often tell ourselves that our students will not understand and as such it is a waste of time and this is clearly not true. Thank you for sharing your story!!!

    • Laura Gatto said:

      Thanks so much for your comment! Bring on the tuff stuff! My new motto. :)

  3. adchamblis42 said:

    This is a great story and a great example of how learning can be integrated into every aspect of life. In our daily lives we may not have the time that we want but every little thing that we can do will help. The child may not have understood everything that was talked about on the movie but he had to take something away from it, and he probably took in more than you think. This can be taken into a lot of other aspects of life, a lot of anxiety can be lessened by just knowing what the child will have to do, and what to expect.

    Thank you for this blog,
    Ashley Chambliss

    • Laura Gatto said:

      Thanks Ashley for your comment. I can often get overwhelmed with all that I want to share & teach my kids and trying to find the time to do it in can be a real challenge. But, looking at it as a small chunk at a time is helpful. One small interaction can make a huge difference.