Tag Archives: classes

Multi-culturalism and learning

Young student to his teacher, ” Why do they call it ‘Chinese New Year’? I’m from Vietnam and I celebrate it too!”

Maps, look at population charts, find some of the history for both countries, discuss foods, customs, language, and what it means to celebrate in a “home country” versus in an adopted country.

Recall and share a comment from another student “Russia is part of Asia too!” – once again maps, populations charts, history…

What it really means to teach a “diverse group of students”.  It means to be aware, to be open, to respect cultural differences, to recognize family practices versus “global” ideals.  And to learn with one’s students.  When we learn together, we give each other “voice” and when we listen we move beyond words and expected understanding of the words to the personal and how each student may or may not “relate” to a concept.

Kindergarten through grade 12 and for many – a number of years in post secondary- that is really a lot of time in the places we label “school”.  As educators we need to be aware of how our own understanding of vulnerability is affected when children voice their confusion, and to join the students in their research and review of concepts that adults may be “taking for granted”.  Our purpose after all is to encourage their thinking skills, their curiousity, and their desire to learn more.  But first we do have to create a safe space wherein they may question us.  And if we do not have the immediate answer- or better yet if we ignore the immediate answer and instead join with our students in the search for answers, we just may be modelling what inquiry – makers, and doers, is all about.

To all who may be celebrating the Lunar New Year Festivities- Enjoy!

Weekend prompt

Story sequences: mystery suspense:
Overheard “I find it INTOLERABLE that she didn’t do the work”

Who might have been talking?

Can you flesh out a story from the opening line?

Some writers will claim that they began their novel based on a simple blurb about an incident that they had read in a newspaper, or based on a snippet of conversation overheard in passing.

Slowly characters began to take shape, interacting and developing the plot.

Needed:    A setting – remember – time, place, season, (time can be hour of the day or actual calendar year)

Characters: will you add dialogue?

Problem? What might happen? When? To whom? Is there a why?

Solution: resolution- not all stories are completely resolved- one aspect of a problem is usually cleared up; other aspects may be continued in sequels, or left for the readers to consider.

Prompts for story writing needn’t be the typical SAT form-  argument/example; prompts to encourage a variety of writing styles can be culled from multiple resources.

How to begin: see earlier blog- “brainstorming 101”…

Weekend wishes

Do you ever get ” RUSTY? “

If I do, I know its time to change direction-

The rhythm of a school year is quite set- both students and teachers can feel the changes as May arrives- with June, there is a strong sense of completion- down time in the positive sense.  Here, in my place, I have one student graduating High-School, another just returned from studying, 5 months, abroad- and as mom, I love noting how these two young adults continue to challenge each other and themselves.

So…we are celebrating!  

All it takes to feel a little less stiff is a good belly laugh and hugs all around- school systems being what they are- hugs are rarely possible between students and teachers, so we have to hope that our students do indeed recognize the genuine warmth and best wishes that are offered along with the final reports.  Teaching privately to a range of ages gives me the chance to move to a different rhythm, in keeping with a student’s needs, and this in turn keeps me jumping- TRY it! Differentiated direct instruction makes one hyper aware of each student’s challenges and each student brings me a new perspective on what is meant by “learning” objectives.  ‘Cause as they grow- so do I. 

Tutoring also puts into practice the current “new phrase”,  bringing a “flipped” classroom experience to every session.  Students bring their questions, their curiousity and even their irritation to a lesson.  And while I would like them to “nail it” on quizzes and tests and any form of assignments they may have, I’m most impressed when they exhibit “polish” and shine with excitement as they share ideas-

“Polished”, “refined”, “sophisticated”; all antonyms to the original adjective in question; and the changes that I see over the course of months when working with writing skills.  But not at all “done”.  The challenge I give myself? To instill a genuine interest in improving, from an evolutionary perspective- at times. stochastic leaps, at other times, subtle, incremental steps towards a genuine understanding of self; not only how one learns best, but also how to keep learning.   

Tomorow I will be posting links to annotated book lists, by age, and to interactive websites.  So many students bring their cell phones to camp- I wish everyone would bring an empty journal and fill it with …what ever appeals. 

I teach throughout the summer, and bring a little bit of the outdoors inside whenever possible.  I also am known for encouraging my students and my children to recognize the truly symbiotic relationships between science and art; both require: dedication to a craft, working with tools and technology, practice and experimentation. 

Here is a link to an article featuring an artist who is combining the two fields and a potent reminder about the serendipity of innovation. 

 http://www.fastcompany.com/1839469/struggling-artist-turns-to-tissue-engineering