IN THE CLASSROOM-Thinking ahead of the class

The following article appeared in the Huntington Beach Independent of the Register:

Pegasus School teacher does anything but talk down to her third-grader charges.

H.B. Independent
By Suzie Harrison, Independent

Listening to Vicki Olivadoti speak to her third-grade class one would think that they were high school level students.
Olivadoti teaches at the Pegasus School in Huntington Beach, "A private independent school for bright and curious boys and girls from preschool through eighth grade."
The 8-and 9-year-olds in her class listened attentively and were actively engaged.
Olivadoti has unique teaching styles and ideas. She talks to students about their "think time," during which they analyze and reason through each task.She asks students to step outside their learning and think about the best way to accomplish their assignments. She would throw out questions to which with practically all the students raised their hands. She asked what would happen if students gave enough "think time" to an idea. A student aptly replied that he would be able to come up with more answers.

Olivadoti also spoke to her students about not straining their brains. She said to treat the mind like an elevator door and let all the information out. "If you say you can't remember, the elevator doors slam shut," Olivadoti said. "If they don't open, wait, and another will come." 

She stressed the importance of asking questions. "When you ask you're already in control of your own learning," she said. "That's my goal for you. Don't wait -- you're empowering yourself now by asking for what you want. You're taking control and that's great."

She suggested that a couple of ways to make studying easier may be to use color coded note cards. "Remember some people learn kinesthetically and other people need to have it repeated several times," Olivadoti said. "We'll talk more in depth about the different types of learning tomorrow."

At Pegasus the students are encouraged to do their own homework independent of their parent's help. Erin Vogel explained that she had made a mistake. "I discovered that I did it incorrectly by double checking it and proofing," Erin said.

Students enjoyed taking ownership of their own work and being independent. "I told my mom that I am capable of doing my homework myself," said Caroline Grant. "I woke up in the morning to refresh and I realized that I forgot a page."