A Place to Connect Teachers and Support Children

Posts tagged ‘reflection’

Reflections as an adult about space

Close your eyes.  Think about a room where at least five things are going on at the same time.  The noise level may be at various levels including levels of loud and soft, sounds of music, and other conversations fill the air.  Now think about your body in this space.  How do you feel? What might you do if more activities happened? You were not feeling well? You had something exciting happening in a week? Your tired? Open your eyes.

Begin to reflect think about these ideas before you go any further.  Feel free to post your ideas on our blog!

Now after you have reflected think about your children whether they be your own children or those in your classroom.  How do you think they are feeling in the same scenarios described above?  Keep in mind, some of these children have never been to school before, might not have the language or exposure to calming their body and they have only been on this earth for one to five years (or older depending on where you work/live with)?

Keep this post in your thoughts and reflections on your drive home tonight.  I want you all to be able to have some reflection time before I begin to offer ideas for you and your children!

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Good Teaching

It’s official, Chelsea Rakuc has finished her first blog post.  I couldn’t stop reading it!   We can not wait to hear from her more!  Enjoy! -Andromahi

After teaching a plethora of lessons throughout my methods courses, I have always reflected upon the question of, “Am I being the best teacher that I can be?”  I always thought good teaching depended upon the assessment of the students and the self-reflection I did about myself.  While both these concepts are equally important, good teaching is all about how you implement the lesson to and with the students.

I am currently enrolled in a course entitled History and Philosophy of Education.  I entered the course thinking it was going to be centered around popular theorists and their viewpoints on education.  Where as we have touch based on these important figures, we have also expanded into a direction that has caught my interest.  We have dove into article readings, current events, and research of various topics.

One of the first days of class, we received an article to read and reflect upon.  The article was entitled The Source of Good Teaching by Daniel A. Lindley, Jr.  The first time I read the article, I was so engulfed and intrigued that I had to keep reading even after our time was up.  It answered every question I ever had about myself as a teacher.

I think the most important characteristic a teacher should possess is that of devotion to becoming a life-long learner.  This goes beyond keeping up with current events and the newest research.  This extends to learning alongside our students.  Lindley says, “Good teaching is not done to students.  It is done with them.”  There is always something to be learned and if we have the ability to do this with our students, it could be a huge motivating factor for them.  We are working with the students in what they are learning and that has the potential for students to feel as if they have a colleague with them along for the ride.  “The source of the energy that drives good teaching – is the child in the teacher.”  Now this does not mean we have to act like a child.  I interpret it as being interested in what the students are learning, having the feeling of being a student, and joining in on the learning that is happening inside the classroom.

Children surprise us on a daily basis with their knowledge, questions, and realizations.  Just as they learn from us, we learn from them.  Lindley speaks about this in this article by saying, “A good teacher must stimulate the knowing adult in each child.”  Children are capable and absorb more than we could ever imagine.  I think this is something we, as teachers, can use as ‘teachable moments.’  One thing I see often is how the teachers are learning with the students.  If the students proposed a question that you did not know the accurate answer to, be honest with them.  This could be an answer that you and your students could look up together.

I remember one of my first times ever being in a preschool classroom.  I walked in and could not find the teachers.  I thought to myself, “There is no way the children are in here unsupervised.”  To my pleasant surprise, I walked deeper into the room and there were the teachers, fully engaged with what the children were doing.  I specifically remember one teacher who was playing restaurant with a small group of children.  The children offered her a variety of items off their menu, in which she selected chocolate cake.  One child said, “I’m going to put it in here,” while placing the cake in the oven.  The teacher took this as a teachable moment and responded by saying, “Oh. That’s an oven.  You’re going to bake my cake.”  After her cake was finished baking, she ate it and told the students how delicious it tasted.  I felt this was so crucial in the student’s learning because they were actively engaged in what they were learning, the teacher was essentially one of them, and she was providing them with vocabulary that was scaffolding what they were role-playing.

This article is a great reminder to students, teachers, and parents that we must never lose sight of our inner child, for it has the ability to motivate our students in a way that could change the learning environment in a positive way.  This really made me think about how I interact with children in all environments.  Always keep in mind that we must pretend with them, talk with them, and most importantly, learn with them.  “One of the great gifts teaching gives us is the privilege of sharing our own journey with those who are given into our care.”

Stay tuned for more,

~ Chelsea

The Weather Project

Another project is under our belt and we have our evidence to show from it in Powerpoint format. After each project I like to reflect on various things.  I thought I’d share those with you as well. Often times when someone comes to visit in the classroom, I’ve heard, “you make it look so easy!” I also added steps below to how we make it work in our classroom or your house! Click the link to see our work: The Weather Project

How to do project work at school/home:

  • start small
  • always use an experience the children can have that is hands-on, meaningful, real, and relevant  (the easter bunny is not real)
  • be organized
  • reflect
  • ask questions
  • don’t be afraid
  • If at first you don’t succeed try, try again!

What went well:

  • the children lead most of the project and asked for me to put specific things on the lesson plan
  • the children learned the types of clouds and shared this information with their families
  • the project gave us many opportunities to sketch  and use our imagination

What didn’t go well:

  • wish we had more time to finish the project
  • would like to have gone in-depth in more topics
  • did not have enough hands on experiences with snow

Composure

As I read the first chapter, entitled Composure, I thought it was most beneficial in my note taking and in my head to organize the principles and the skills together in order to better understand the overview of the chapter and the expectations I needed for myself and for the children.

  • Principle One: Composure is self-control in action it is a prerequisite skill adults need before disciplining children
  • Principle Two: Healthy Secure relationships require that we control our own upset. No one can make us angry without our permission.
  • Principle Three: Start the day with the brain smart way and implement stress reduction.
  • Principle Four: Your job is to keep the classroom safe so can children learn.  The child’s job is to help keep it safe.
  • Skill One: Changing trigger thoughts to calming thoughts.
  • Skill Two: Reduce Stress

I felt it was important for me to reflect on what each of these looked like when I was teaching in the classroom on a daily basis.  I felt like if I could see what I was modeling for the children  and what I needed to work on then I could help focus my attention on my staff and my students.  I began by looking at each child and finding strength and a weakness in the child.  It is important to know and support the child’s success which can then help support the weakness.  For example, if a child loves to write and needs extra guidance when it comes to their feelings.  The child could sketch and write words based on the feelings they are having.

As part of this chapter, Dr. Bailey shares it is important to have an activity in the routine that unites the children, disengages the children from the last activity or stress level from a previous problem, connect the children to the new scenario, and prepare to learn!  We spent time disengaging from our play time and preparing for group by streching and taking deep breaths.  The children have not let me forget this routine at every group since we have started in September!

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