Welcome! Bienvenidos! Yah oohkááh! Yo koso! Willkommen!
I have lots of hobbies that I bring to the classroom including art, educational games, computer technology, physical education, outdoor education, and music. I love teaching, learning, and kids! I believe that good education is project-based driven by student interests. So I look forward to co-creating our educational experiences together this year.
Starting the school year on the right foot includes establishing classroom rules that will last the whole year through. Most experienced educators say the key to creating classroom rules is to keep those rules few and simple -- and to establish up front the consequences if the rules are broken.So what will those rules be? Many teachers involve students in creating their classroom rules. Surprisingly, many teachers report, whether you involve the students or not, you will likely end up with very similar rules. After all, students really want -- and thrive in -- a classroom environment in which they know the limits and feel safe, and that's what setting rules is all about.The consequences for breaking a classroom rule are at least as important as the rule itself. Every teacher must create consequences with which they are comfortable (or follow set school procedures).
Reference: Ten Activities for Establishing Classroom Rules
In order for student learning to occur, a safe classroom environment needs to be established. One of the first tasks I have students complete is a group contract. See below for the directions for this task and the slide show for some example products created by students.
To create a contract which states those things which will help to make this a safe and learning supportive environment - an environment in which personal and needs are most likely to be achieved.
List those behaviors and attitudes that will assist each individual and the other class members in having a positive experience. After the list is developed, create a visual representation or metaphor for the contract.
The effective classroom starts with building community. I received some grant monies to take these sixth graders on an overnight camping trip at the beginning of the year. The goal was for them to develop a sense of community. Here they are seen finishing up a team building called, Puzzling Tangram. This activity also addresses my goal of having students engage in cross-curricular activities. The giant sized tangram also asked the students to use basic geometry skill.
All about me projects asks students to utilize autobiographical forms of expression: autobiography, biopoem, character traits, biobags, collages, all about me posters. See below for a lesson plan I developed for students to explore their interests, personal characteristics, hobbies, family through autobiographical expression.
Mentoring younger readers is a great strategy to use as a within-school service learning project to build community across grade levels. Book Buddies is when students in an upper grade pair up with students from a lower grade (e.g. 1st). When they meet, students can do a number of things together:
• Read books
• Work on writing projects
• Create technology-related projects
• Complete arts & crafts activities
Getting the Best Out of Book Buddies
Activities for Book Buddies
Book Buddy Biographies
Creating Picture Books Together
Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time.
A guiding principle of my mission is:
I Am Guided by John Dewey
Study of mental life has made evident the fundamental worth of native tendencies to explore, to manipulate tools and materials, to construct, to give expression to joyous emotion, etc. When exercises which are prompted by these instincts are a part of the regular school program, the whole pupil is engaged, the artificial gap between life in school and out is reduced, motives are afforded for attention to a large variety of materials and processes distinctly educative in effect, and cooperative associations which give information in a social setting are provided. In short, the grounds for assigning to play and active work a definite place in the curriculum are intellectual and social, not matters of temporary expediency and momentary agreeableness.
Every artist must have a method, a technique, in doing his work. Piano playing is not hitting the keys at random. It is an orderly way of using them, and the order is not something which exists ready-made in the musician's hands or brain prior to an activity dealing with the piano. . It is the action of the piano directed to accomplish the purpose of the piano as a musical instrument. It is the same with "pedagogical" method.
Classroom Activities: 2009-10
2nd through 5th Gifted Education
I taught K-6 Physical Education for several years. I never had any goals and intention to do so. But seeing the diminishing of PE and recess, and the related skills that these activities inherently add to kids' lives, provided me with the motivation to get my PE endorsement. During my PE classes, I never wanted the kids to become great athletes or sports heroes. In fact, I rarely had them play competitive sports. My goals included having them learn the skills related to teamwork and good sportsmanship. I introduced lots of cross-curricular activities where I would use movement to teach language arts, math, and science. I watched in excited awe for two years as 450 K-6 graders per week participated and played with the joy that is unique to children!