Yeah, it is hard to resist forms of puns even in the summer time; and Grease is a movie that reminds me of what many students do experience during the summer- a total change of pace! And this is why it becomes extra important for us as educators to view the returning/incoming students with “Fresh Eyes” and not with expectations from which ever report some school official may have filed the previous year; it is also why as Educators we must view parents in the same light- a light that opens the classroom to the parent’s view, and allows for the “newness” of the new academic year.
P for personal
R for real
I for each of us
V for value
A for action
C for care
Y for yes- the thing that each of us expects-
At one point my classroom walls had an acronym for RESPECT, then I spoke with various students over the years and uncovered that for many Respect is demonstrated when Privacy is permitted; kids do have, especially from middle school on, a desire to discover their own personalities via “trial and error” and all the potential each finds, we, as Educators, have a responsibility to encourage! In 2016 when “Grease” the movie or the musical, and the 1950s and “Summer Loving” may seem to be taking a step backward in favor of “Star Trek Beyond” or “Ghostbusters (2016)” students are still having experiences that are neither academic nor necessarily quantifiable, during their “vacations” which for more and more students are amounting to less and less “free time” and instead do involve part-time or full-time jobs, travelling, or even academic work when students feel pressure to use every moment to gain a credit or pick up a dropped course … In sum, Summer Vacations may never have actually been “carefree” (1950s movie depiction) but they might continue to provide people with a chance to – for a little while- step out of the prescribed roles their regular academic social circle defines and allow both teachers and students to be just a little more daring, just a little more “themselves”; for teachers too tend to get typecast within the culture of a school, and today with global connections and online “PLNs” many of us as Educators are constantly happy to explore new aspects of teaching the “same curriculum even if newly labelled” via hearing how our contemporaries are sharing the knowledge and encouraging growth at their respective centers.
It is fun to – have a new positive experience, meet new people, work on a personal challenge, or even simply daydream for a lengthy while, minus the interruptions of the bell; and of course some of the summer experiences could be mis-educative, and instead of encouraging, point a person in the direction away from growth via instilling a little too much grit- sand paper wears something down if improperly applied!
So instead of the intro letter about “how I spent my summer” which used to be expected as the new litmus test to determine if students could remember how to write a paragraph or two, why not give the students a few weeks to jump right into the new classroom environment and to sign up for which ever extra curriculars the school is making possible, letting the students and the teachers reflect themselves on who they are meeting anew- that almost grown up “stranger” may actually be oneself, entering the classroom with a newer perspective as a more “open” educator- less ready to accept what the last set of teachers declared about a student and more curious to participate in the developing and refining of “this year” and who is before one- “Sandra Dee” or “John Travolta” or a variation of any character from Comic Con- real people still, and allow the students to share their feelings over the material you select for the “diverse” classrooms you will be teaching in; privacy also means that educators “Not Assume” so that when students are learning to show both empathy and understanding no one erroneously jumps in to suggest they must only have the personal at stake- more than likely they are actually showing that the learning is affecting them, allowing them to care about people beyond themselves and their narrow circle; we as Educators must remember to let kids change- isn’t this what real learning and evolving is meant to demonstrate?
In advance of 2016-2017- or if your place has already begun or is beginning the new Academic year- GOOD LUCK! Educators could always benefit from a dose of luck and a well stocked library!
Posted in different perspectives, experiential knowledge- practical experience, games, thinking, writing, students, knowledge,learning, holidays, quality time, respect, school, students, Tutoring
Cutesy or clear? rows or seats in teacher prescribed groups? lecture format, flipped classrooms…either or/- or a little bit of “everything” to not merely allow for each “type” (are we still discussing “types”) but to put personality back into a teaching “formula” and to allow each instructor, parent, educator, to share key concepts, and to remember that be it in a one room school house ( these still do exist ) or a couple thousand strong – formal learning environment, we ARE after a similar set of goals- how to share a concept so that learners of all ages want to make it their “own”.
Working with a variety of learners has “proven” one thing to me; thinking in action, changing direction, and being able to make time for student led questions, student led “experiments” does not mean “hands-off” in terms of teaching but the opposite- clear directions for open-ended results, open ended directions for further inquiry, and the expectation of change occurring when a student begins to believe that there is a purpose to an action. Having said that, my next comment might surprise people- for indeed sometimes the purpose is to prepare for a quiz; sometimes we practice something to make it a “habit”.
If independence of action remains a goal suggested by the “some day” to be earned diploma, then testing continues to hold value as a means of demonstrating some form of learning- we are encouraged to “test drive” a car before selecting, shouldn’t students be allowed to test themselves at higher levels of challenges? The problem I have seen from some test results is the subsequent labellings of a student, labels that often do not take into consideration the growth that is taking place within our young, daily. While I favour ongoing assessments, formal and informal, I have seen students respond with excitement to the idea of an examination- formal term applied. And to the cheering that is also part of an educator’s role, when we recognize even “basic” accomplishments; learners of all ages do want to know what a test is examining, how to tackle it, and in what areas could one improve.
Classes for many resume next week 🙂 – teachers are rarely blase about the prospect knowing that introductions can set a tone; I think of how many good stories I may have not completed reading if I hadn’t encouraged myself to move past the first two chapters, and get into the true focus of the story. Realistically, characters grow on readers as we join them in their adventures- It is ok to be a bit of a character to the students as long as we remember to stay curious ourselves; then learning is not merely an adventure, but a joint venture.
Posted in different perspectives, essays, experiential knowledge- practical experience, fiction, quality time, special needs, student work, teaching, test prep, writing help
Tagged growing to learn, joint ventures, learning to grow, new term, story-making
When I find a great site I like to share it! Are you at home this week and thinking of activities to do with your children over March Break? In addition to the many great institutions that have hands-on activities for the week, cooking together at home is an opportunity to share creativity- boys and girls can enjoy selecting the food products, planning the meals and helping with the clean up. Reading a recipe IS reading and incorporates math and science too! Plus when you go to a website such as the one offered above, you may compare food choices from earlier times with popular foods today.
Hope people are getting outside too and enjoying the mild Toronto weather.
as always, best regards, from Ali the English Tutor-
ps I am here over the break and open for students daytime as well as after school and weekends. Also now offering lessons over SKYPE at mytutoringspace1 .
http://ebw.evergreen.ca/ Evergreen Brick Works- you can cook here too!
http://www.rom.on.ca/marchbreak/ The Rom has a sale on!
http://www.ago.net/grange-historic-kitchen-tours Have you been to the AGO but missed the Grange?
http://www.ago.net/teenager-hamlet-screening-and-qa-with-artist-margaux-williamson have a student in high school working on HAMLET?
http://www.ago.net/march-break-2012 Specials for the week at the Art Gallery of Ontario
http://maplesyrupfest.com/ The Maple Syrup Festival is really sweet!
http://www.hhof.com/htmlNewsPromo/newsMarchBreak.shtml Hockey Hall of Fame- then lunch at the Old Spaghetti Factory
http://www.ontariosciencecentre.ca/calendar/marchbreak/ March Break means SUPER DOGS at the Science Centre
Posted in different perspectives, educator, English academics, tutoring help, learning together, home schooling, test prep, experiential knowledge- practical experience, games sports learning teaching tutoring winning work olympics success, games, thinking, writing, students, knowledge,learning, holidays, practice, quality time, spirit, fun, sharing, learning, practice and more, Uncategorized, websites
Ever heard a young child sing the ABCs or blithely recite a nursery rhyme, or a set of multiplication tables? The child owns that knowledge, often way before knowing much more than the sounds. And adults encourage this repetition, what ever the language in the home. Whether at home or in a daycare setting, many pre-school activities involve this working toward mastery, from the initial push-ups a child will do to strengthen his/her arms before one day taking off in a crawl to the running back to climb up the slide – then, yet again, coasting to the bottom. And young children enjoy hearing a story over and over again until they too have memorized and are able to “read” it on their own.
Somewhere though, between 1st grade and graduation the possibility of “winging it” takes over and this is when the school assigned writing exercises become an activity that some students dread. True, writing can be a slow process, due to the need for reviewing and revising. But not everything needs to be redone. In fact, some of the most difficult writing exercises involve a form of automatic writing; most tests require this quick and clear response to some type of prompt.
How then, to be quick and clear? No getting around it- repetition and drill of basic skills for which there are so many templates that students need not even be aware they are repeating the same exercise, although in a slightly different form.
http://prek-8.com/english/writing/index.php a great resource – free and downloadable for classrooms or those being home schooled.
Posted in devil s advocate, different perspectives, educator, English academics, tutoring help, learning together, home schooling, test prep, experiential knowledge- practical experience, lessons, writing, practical writing help, note taking, grammar, ownership, practice, quality time