Monday, November 28, 2011

There are Many Ways to Capture the Art of Monet

Monday, November 21, 2011

Should Education be Enjoyable?

In her insightful book, Intellectual Emergencies: Some Reflections on Mothering and Teaching Lilian Katz observes....
"The goal of education is not enjoyment; that is the goal of entertainment.... The goal of education is to engage the minds of the learners so that their understandings of significant phenomena and events become deeper, clearer, and more accurate. When we succeed at engaging their minds in such things, they find it enjoyable. But, though enjoyment cannot be our main goal, it can be a by-product of good teaching."

I'm not at all certain that I can support this particular point of view. Although I must say that I have not had the opportunity to read the book so I cannot say for certain what the context of the quote might be.
However I think it is worth addressing because many of the educators that I have worked with, think this way. It is in our most enjoyable moments that we build memories, observe new things, feel inspired to create, become motivated.  If a child is not drawn to an enjoyable task then how will he stay focused or even want to engage?
A life lived in its fullest measure is one that is basked in seeking and doing that which we love and enjoy most. Take your career for example. Those who work with passion are content and find deep fulfillment. Those who do mundane task simply for survival find little pleasure.
So to then is it with the child's work. As educators we must be challenged to impart and share knowledge with children in engaging, entertaining and enlightening ways so that the children grow as a learners and constructors of knowledge. If a child is presented with a worksheet that instructs him to color in a hundred objects, will he find that engaging and then enjoyable? Would it not be better then to offer the child 10 jars and ask him to fill each jar with 10 jelly beans to make 10 sets of 10. Then of course he could enjoy one jar of treats when he has completed his task. I'm certain (if the child is cognitively ready ) the next time those jars come out he will be the first to the task.
So yes let's find wonderful ways to make learning enjoyable. That is the right of all human beings!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Remember and Be Grateful

We wear poppies to remind us that the soldiers went to war and died. In the war there are two kinds of soldiers; the good one and the bad ones. Luckily the good one won and the bad ones are lying on the ground. Noah

What is remembrance day?
“We remember our soldiers who died in the war. Canadian soldiers were fighting the bad guys who attacked the good people. They protected them and kept them safe. We wear a poppy to honour and remember our soldiers. “ – Henry

Monday, November 14, 2011

Let Go of Your Traditional Thinking!

I’m often asked this question, “Where do I begin as a teacher to make change?”
There are two fundamental considerations. You must first examine your image of the child and then, in order to change, you must be willing to rid yourself of traditional assumptions and roles. You must have no fear and you must be willing to relinquish control.
So let go of the familiar and believe in the competencies of young children. You are there to support their journey in learning; to be a co constructor of knowledge. You must challenge them, listen to their theories about how the world works; assist them to construct, deconstruct and reconstruct. Each challenge, each new discovery gives the child new insight.
Calm your environment. When I visit Kindergarten classrooms I am overwhelmed by the chaos on the walls. Little of what I see speaks of the children who occupy the classroom.
My eyes are confused by the colourful bulletin board paper lined with fancy thematic edges. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about! Then there’s the classic ABC strips, the good old calendars with the pre cut umbrellas, and suns; the number strips, the pre cut jars full of bugs and who knows what else. And of course they are all hanging metres above the child’s eye view.
Don’t worry about that because even if they were down low the children would rarely look at them, especially if they’ve been hanging there for a full school term.
Now look around your room. Does the children’s work look all the same? Twenty four perfect pre cut poppies all filled with the same pre cut tiny squares; paintings that are made with pre cut sponges; work sheets; labelled centres just in case the children are not capable of figuring out where that doll centre might be or where those crayons would go. Need I say more?
Strip down those boards. Make your background an off white; remove the edging. You don’t need it. Now fill those boards with authentic work; children’s representations of themselves; a family tree; a bouquet of daisies; a child’s theory on how emails travel. The possibilities are endless. Are you worried that the children won’t learn to read and write if you don’t post work sheets or alphabet strips?
Have no fear! Take a walk through the park and find things that begin with the letter A. Bring them back to the classroom, document your journey, post it, display it, live it and they will learn it.
Now you are ready to begin an exciting new adventure

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Light Up the Room!

The projector is a must have tool in every classroom from infants to kindergarten. It helps us to transcend the ordinary!
Light, when suddenly let in, dazzles and hurts and almost blinds us: but this soon passes away, and it seems to become the only element we can exist in. ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Spooky Halloween to You All

This time of the year we simply can't deny the children the opportunity to express their fascination with those ghoulish ghouls and jack-o-lanterns.