I thought about writing a new blog post throughout my entire recent trip to Europe. Things would happen, or I would see something, or hear something that made me think about teaching, learning, life in general. It was nice to step away from the hustle and bustle of being a teacher, but teaching is a part of who I am, so my class was never too far off my mind. I’d see and experience things that I knew my 3/4 class would love to see, so I’d snap a picture. I looked around for a postcard to send to them that would encompass my trip. I thought about how my travels could impact our next theme of countries around the world. Then I’d think about snapping pictures, buying postcards and souvenirs for families and friends. I am always reminded of a class I took in University called The Anthropology of Travel. I wish I could take that class again now…now that I’ve been so many more places (compared to when I was 19!). It was about how you don’t just think about yourself as you travel, your trip becomes something for all those people at home too! This makes so much more sense to me now! Travel is so much more than yourself! It is a good reminder to think about how small you really are in this big world. You step out of the comforts of your home and set out on an adventure. You deal with things that you don’t normally have to think about…what are you ordering at a restaurant, how will you find your hotel, adjusting to a new time zone, etc. etc. etc. While I was away, I really thought about a student I have right now. She is new to Canada and is new to speaking English. All the times I had no idea what someone was saying to me so I made gestures instead. Or followed what other people were doing…she does that too. It makes me think about how brave those students who come to a new country and are learning to speak a new language are. She trusts us so much to help her, just like we relied on others to help us translate a menu or point us in the right direction to purchase train tickets or find a hotel or a good place to eat. Travelling puts things into a new perspective…or maybe just a renewed perspective. I love that I have been fortunate enough to travel a fair share and have experienced some amazing places and learned about so many exciting cultures. I never take travel for granted and the next trip is never coming soon enough! I feel like this is the best way to spend money…on memories and experiences and learning more about the wold around me and about who I am as a learner in this great big world!
As I have mentioned in a previous post…I have changed schools and grades this year! After only a short time in my new position I can already see how this change has been impacting me as a teacher and as a learner.
I’m in a teaching position where I have the opportunity to work closely with two other teachers as part of the 3/4 Team as well as a full time Inquiry Support Teacher and a half time Art and Outdoor Education Teacher. How lucky am I?! I feel that as a team we are able to accomplish so much more than I’ve ever been able to as a solo teacher.
Over the past 6 weeks (ish) we have been doing an inquiry project on Ancient Civilizations. My class (along with the other two 3/4 classes) have been so engaged during this inquiry process. We have committed to five days out of the school cycle for at least an hour a day to work on Ancient Civilizations. It may seem like a big commitment, but we cover so many outcomes from the curriculum in such a natural way (Social Studies, Science, ELA, etc.) So far we have done a provocation day where the students got excited about the idea of Ancient Civilizations and started to ask questions about their wonderings, ideas, what they noticed, what they wanted to know more about. This was done through stations of music, books, number systems, art, leisure activities, architecture and photographs of teachers who had been to visit places with Ancient landmarks. At every station there was a chart paper where students could write down their questions. After this provocation day and time spent looking at books, watching videos and thinking about what they wanted to know more about, the students made a list of their top 5 choices for research and were grouped accordingly. We wanted the class to work in small groups/partners so they could really communicate and collaborate with each other. Once they were in their groups and had their topic of interest we started with some research online and in books. Things were progressing nicely but then our plans changed! Our inquiry support teacher found an idea from other teacher and we decided to add in come creativity to our projects! The students made “Tube People” based on the topic/civilization they had chosen. The tubes were from ArtsJunktion and they were perfect for this project! We definitely used the 4Cs throughout the project and really tried to learn from the process and not only see it as a final product. We aren’t finished learning about Ancient Civilizations. The mindset of being flexible and open to change of plans has developed into a really great side project. We also have some pretty excited students (in our 3 classes and students from around the school), parents and staff members.
Slowing things down, finding out what the students are interested in, using a variety of teaching and learning styles, enjoying the process, including student voice and choice, reflecting, making changes, communicating, collaborating, thinking critically, showing creativity… are all things that we’ve been doing for weeks now and there is no way we intend to teach differently in the next topic we study!
To us…this is a unit that we could sell tickets for, and we aren’t finished learning yet!
Thanks Team Montrose!
Cheers to change!
I’m starting a new chapter in my career this year! I’m moving to a new school and to make sure I am fully embracing change…I’ve also decided to change grades! There are pros and cons to this change, as there are to anything. I will miss my coworkers and students at my former school, but am excited to meet new coworkers and students and also to reconnect with coworkers from the past. One of the huge pros to this move for me is the fact that I have already taught at this school! It was 6 years ago and I was only on a term then, but with several of the same staff members and the same administration I felt comfortable enough to take a risk and try something new (ish)! I have taught grade 5/6, then N/K, then 1/2, then 2, then 2/3 and now an ready to try out 3/4 to complete the elementary range!