Saturday, December 12, 2015

When Student Interests and Teachers Strength Collide

First, I teach kinder.  But,  what I have to say doesn’t matter what grade you teach.  As teachers, we can sometimes lose ourselves and we can be moved away from our own personal philosophy of teaching.   It can be hard to find ourselves again at times.  What is you strength?  Really?  What is it?  You can be good at a lot of things but what is it that you do that perhaps people in your grade level are constantly asking you about or help with?  Think about what you are constantly getting complimented on.  Something you do that is instinctive – it’s second nature to you and you enjoy it.  Once you can really pinpoint that quality in yourself, ask yourself, “where is it seen in my teaching?  In my classroom?  Did I abandon it? Is it non-existent?”   If it isn’t apparent to you and you cannot identify it in your teaching then try to find a way to bring it in because that is where your best teaching will surface    

The pictures that follow will show you exactly what I am talking about in a nutshell.  It wasn't planned at all. I followed my students interest and went with it.  We are actually still in the process because they just discovered the acorns! There were many other learning outcomes but below are just a few. 

The way I teach

Hands on Learning

Hands on Learning

Let me tell you.  I found that I became my most creative and resourceful self when I challenged myself to pull from what I had and be creative to find a hands on approach to teach the standard(s).  I believe this to be true for kids too (think about how resourceful and how creative people are when they do not have anything).  I stopped telling them what they were going to do and they started telling me how we could do it. The difference between that statement is HUGE. The kids started coming up with “ outside the box” solutions. They were more engaged and activities became more hands on and self created.  The motivation was high and children learned.  

Hands on Learning Kindergarten

Pinterest can be overwhelming, inspiring, and at times to be honest – very depressing.  That is if you find yourself asking yourself, “How do they do it? And  How do they keep up?”  As a side note – remember you are seeing the best of the best of activities in pictures and  with a mute button.   So it seems like a lot but you are seeing a menagerie of many teachers activities all at once and it’s constantly in your face.  If you find yourself trying to keep up with the teacher next door and life as a teacher has become much like keeping up with the Jones then hopefully this post will help you remember your inner qualities and strengths and remind you that YOU ARE GREAT!

Student interests

If you find you are interested in these type of ornaments that require very little in terms of costs and you want the ornament/craft imbedded in the academic curriculum you can check the units out below. Just click on the picture or HERE.

Christmas Crafts for Kids Ornaments

To follow up on the acorn felt tutorial I should have pictures posted late tomorrow since we will be finishing them up.  You can click HERE to go to my blog for the update. 

My strength is creating things and reading how-to books to figure out how to create things I am curious about.  I have been slowly writing "how-to"" student readers (sort of like a beginners manual). Students read, and follow instructions and diagrams to create something. 

Before you go . . . don't forget to share in the comments your strength and how you use it in your teaching/class to inspire us. 

Warm regards,
Tonya Leslie 


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