Today in training, I really dug into the program that I will be using called Early Foundations. It has a great breakdown of the activities and learning centers that we should focus on. There is a very beneficial summary of the tasks at the beginning of the teacher’s guides – it was thick with details and I took copious notes, so I could get the gist and ask my boss any questions I had. It is exciting being able to think ahead and start the juices going with “enhancement activities” I would like to incorporate! Those are lessons, centers, or games that are not included in the given curriculum [which I plan to use to their fullest potentials 🙂 ] I can’t believe training is officially over tomorrow, and I will be co-teaching with my mentor teacher on Friday! I have learned more information and gained confidence in these past two days than you could imagine.
Many teachers feel like they have to follow the curriculum and teacher’s guide to the T. Games and activities are much more exciting than worksheets, and they can fit with the curriculum goals. It does take more work to find activities related to the lesson, but it makes a big difference for the students. Today and yesterday, my CT implemented games (two that I sent her and one of her own) into math and science blocks. The math ones were a tic-tac-toe partner game with subtracting mixed numbers, and an “I have/who has” type game with equations and answers – the science was also similar but with various organisms. The students had so much fun! They wanted to play each game multiple times and were really engaged in getting their answers correct (which involves learning the information). It it very important for the class to want to be taught and completing
is a bore.
I start teaching math next week and I strive to make it a fun experience for the weeks I am teaching. The school teachers are still required to send home the worksheets, but the in-class activities can be whatever I want as long as it is related to that day’s content. They are starting a unit on equivalent fractions and I am looking forward to finding fun games, activities, and hands-on ideas to teach 🙂 Learning should be an
for the students and I want them to explore all they know about equivalent fractions and have a great time while expanding their intelligences.
Yesterday, my teacher ended the class by reading us “The Animal School” and reciting the quote (both pasted below). The basis of the story is that the creatures decide to make a school, which needs a curriculum (running, swimming, climbing, and flying). The animals are judged on their success in all subjects. It describes the situations of the duck, squirrel, bear, and bee who are forced to look down upon themselves because they can’t achieve in all subjects. The bee and bear in particular are judged for their differences and called “not normal” or “lazy.” The Albert Einstein quote is pretty similar to the story because fish are good at swimming and cannot climb trees, but it doesn’t make them failures.
These made me think about how curriculum can force children to dislike learning because they must give up the thing they enjoy in order to work on the subjects in which they do not succeed. Teachers have difficulty in schools today not focusing on getting the grades up and “practice, practice, practice.” However, it is still important to reward children for the things they are good at and what makes them unique 🙂 This story also brought up stereotypes about different people’s cultures, like the bear who hibernates during winter being called lazy, because the principal didn’t understand that it was necessary for the bear to fully be himself. It is important for children to feel comfortable knowing that mistakes are okay and that they all have different talents. I want to tell this story near the beginning of the school year with my students to get them pondering about how special they are and not worry if they can’t be good at everything.