Things for Teachers to Remember:
Children and young adults are a “little bit of everything.” Too often as we approach the final portion of an academic year, we are busy thinking tests, reviews, scores, and how to get it all done in time. We also have to evaluate the pupils, and suggest not merely for those upcoming reports but also for the files, the notes we make on the students and that allow us to intelligently discuss what worked, who worked, and how they worked throughout the academic year.
And I remember how with the youngest who were still at the picture book stage, we often used metaphor to get the point across that they as children were “allowed” to have all the emotions, to be all the fish in the pond, not merely a static “happy fish” or happy smiling face. Then as children complete middle school literally for many “trying on roles” and enter High School as the young adults we encounter, they are beginning to solidify an image- if not quite their true image. As Educators we have to keep encouraging them to continue to not restrict themselves into one specific personality trait or one specific mode of practice- for this I turn to the already famous to share how so many had more than one profession, more than one talent, more than one fixed and celluloid image. And for those who have gone on to become rock stars, or sports heroes or even Nobel Scientists there is also their other characteristics as well: Einstein famously playing music, rock stars who become spokes people for environmental issues, Environmentalists painting or capturing their beloved outdoors in photographs or on film, and for the students skeptical if they can break their “molds” and the expectations of their peers we happily have a host of relatively recent young adult movies where the actors actually do try on other roles to the chagrin of peers and with at times extreme growing pains- these may be shared to generate free style brain storming and writing exercises.
And we as Educators ought to recall for ourselves those “hobbies” which once brought pleasure and remember to share our efforts with our students so as not to be one dimensional to them, either. When we care about students from a holistic perspective we share a little part of our personalities, too. We might not be “the biggest fish in the pond” but we can keep swimming and demonstrating that each of us is a valuable part of the whole, for when we do so we validate our students’ efforts and make real the notion that yes it is good to try new challenges, to encourage ourselves as well as one another, and to perhaps even uncover hidden talents and new dreams.
When we teach writing skills and encourage students to blog, we also need to encourage them to try different writing styles and at times not only read but also write simply for the “fun of it.”
And as is often mentioned teachers are encouraged to model writing “off the cuff”-
This one is titled: DOABLE
Modern multitasking: put vegetables in the oven on slow roast –suggestions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, eggplant …turn to 375 degrees as slow roasting brings out best flavour; apply hair colour; clean bathroom while waiting for hair colour to settle= food roasting will not only provide later nourishment but lovely smells; clean washroom = spa like feel when showering to remove hair colouring and refresh, and if have in suite laundry- well, then, do that too! Total time two hours from start to finish- now enjoy the roasted vegetables and walk out the door knowing home is clean and fresh upon return.
Note: buy fresh vegetables in advance and if laundry not in- suite, then while doing laundry after shower, clear emails, post correspondence, and plan week-blogging, banking, bills, and invoicing time too!
Super woman; could even get in a pedicure and yoga meditation while waiting for nails to dry…Multitasking works!
Extra bonus points: find the literary devices inserted
Posted in arts in education/writing skills, different perspectives, English academics, tutoring help, learning together, home schooling, test prep, essays, fiction, writing help, student work, teaching, test prep, experiential knowledge- practical experience, practical writing help, Tutoring
Dear Readers, please remember this blog is both Teacher and Parent and Student friendly and if your blog does not fit all of the above categories – thank you for liking – send a note – follow me on twitter, but please do not post your Gravatar if, were a student to click on it, the material you publish is unsuitable-
again to all- thank you for reading, the thoughtful messages you have sent BUT, this is an “all ages” blog – my students and their families are reading it too!
Best regards and to a productive school year- 2014-2015
A blog worth sharing- and spaces that may in reality be in class rooms- with a caveat: chairs, desks, tables, technology, indoor /outdoor- what really must be in the room? IDEAS, and an energy for sharing ideas, learning ideas (from and with the students) and the sense of safety and respect that doesn’t come from tables, chairs, or technology, but is absorbed and passed on person to person, when learners, regardless of age and background feel that they too, can be a part of the inquiry process.
Having said that, this set of downloadable and free cards offered through the The Third Teacher website* makes a great reminder to us how we may play within the learning environment, changing it up a bit depending on varying student needs, and also encourage students to enjoy moving around their (our) learning stations.
The saying that “Change is as good as a rest” (variously attributed, but Churchill seems most popular) is easily debated – regardless- students quickly tend to flock to the same seating patterns, same spaces even when unassigned- a quick way to add a bit of extra challenge then would be to have them redesign the classroom every quarter- not merely empty and clean desks but make their own democratic suggestions about what could be a productive way of grouping (or ungrouping) desks etc. I know that movement around and through a space is essential not merely for fire drills, but also for the sense of belonging and ownership that results when one is able to touch and explore.
What do you think?
Posted in creativity and brainstorming, different perspectives, experiential knowledge- practical experience, games, grammar, knowledge, learning, learning together, lessons, note taking, ownership, practical writing help, students, thinking, writing
Preparing for September? Now I teach year round, (private lessons are open at the student’s request) but still get a soft spot for the month of September. And I love the combination of poetry and song to get me in the mood for fuller classes. Super favorites with children of all ages include all the books by Shel Silverstein, but I have a special space for the poems he wrote, or shared, which have a musical component.
Did you know that “The Unicorn“* began as a song first recorded by the Irish Rovers in 1962? The beauty of folk songs was that they became “singable” for everyone (Bob Dylan didn’t create the genre) 🙂
And what folk songs offer is the initiation into the importance of rhythm and cadence to help move both a song and a story along. We sing lullabies to our children regardless of what language we are speaking in the home; we coo, and murmur, and if someone has a set of words to go with these coos- then so much the better. With these interactions we are starting the process of literacy. So please, coo, murmur and hum to your children, plus if you can find them, put on the music and let the children ( join in too; they won’t mind if you are off key!) belt it out.
Here is a sample: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EPsuOEH1fY
– “those green alligators and long necked beasts” will have the kids jumping up and down- and you can be sure and find others that offer the same tongue challenges while giving everyone a chance to PLAY!
To add to the process grab some chalk and see if the children can draw the images -( one of the better uses of sidewalks- but be aware, children often enjoy hearing something again, and again, and again….
Shel Silverstein: collection of poetry for children – Full lyrics to the Unicorn may be found in his book
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As we prepare:
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless seas.”
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery The Little Prince
To our future makers, doers, thinkers, and believers.
For the upcoming 2014-2015 School year
Dreams DO come true
Posted in change, English academics, essays, experiential knowledge- practical experience, good wishes, growth, learning, learning together, new year, practical writing help, school, teaching, test prep, Tutoring, tutoring help, writing