Every class has students who would prefer to be doing something else.
In math class, some students would rather be playing football. In language, some students would rather be doing art. And in art, some would rather read.
Art Projects for Kindergarten
I’ve been supply teaching regularly since I finished teacher’s college. In one period I was asked to have the students continue their pop-art projects (Andy Warhol-esque pictures). One student was clearly not conforming to the plan. He was just putting dots on his paper in a reluctant way.
I sat by him and asked how most new art forms started… He just stared at his paper and dotted defiantly.
I waited. No response…
So I offered an answer “By breaking the rules of art and trying new things… so you are creating new art ideas by breaking the rules.”
He looked at me. “Really?”
I made a deal with him… He could create what he wanted but he’d have to create something, however exploratory… His art would need to have purpose. It worked. His slouch disappeared and he started working on art in his own way.
Collaborative Problem Solving and Tribes trainingare popular, current approaches to engaging more students in school and life. The theories involve working together to produce a learning environment where all are included or empowered. It works better than expecting all to ‘conform’. The result is a student or students who are more open to their learning process.
I started working with the ideas behind these theories over 20 years ago when I worked with youth and adults at Outward Bound. The work back then ignited my love of teaching people how to learn.
This term I am working with a Grade 5/6 class in central Ottawa.
We’re working on media literacy this term. We’re exploring many facets of media including perspective, media formats, as well as critically thinking about information presented.
Teaching about trust in media – would you trust this teacher?!
I introduced a segment about information on the web including safely evaluating websites. I opened the lesson by ‘arriving’ incognito, above. Surreptitiously at first, I tried selling ‘solid gold’ watches, used ‘authentic’ sports cars and ‘rare, valuable’ coins to the students.
By the end of my ‘sales pitches,’ students were contentiously and verbally jousting with my fictitious character!! They didn’t trust me. That made me smile – it laid the perfect groundwork to engage students about trusting sources of media, especially when connecting to the murky waters of the internet.
Media Literary Lesson
I quickly changed gears and introduced the students to a super, web-based lesson from Media Smarts on web safety and awareness. Media Smarts is an Ottawa-based, not for profit “charitable organization for digital and media literacy. Our vision is that children and youth have the critical thinking skills to engage with media as active and informed digital citizens.”
I am close to finishing my Bachelor of Education program. In May I’ll be bringing my cast of characters to local schools as a guest teacher and supply teacher.
I’m in the final stretch of my Bachelor of Education training. I’m working in an inner city Grade 5/6 class.
The practical ‘in-class’ part of the course offers me the greatest learning – I am in the “On-Site” niche of the B.Ed. program that offers six months of practical training in the classroom. The normal B.Ed.’s six months of lectures are condensed into two and a half months for On-Site Teacher Candidates.
Mentor Teacher, Mr Smith, making learning fun.
A couple of weeks ago, my mentor teacher, Steve Smith,above, and I discussed plans for a geometry lesson and unit. “Make math a sport,” he urged. He was pushing my teaching practice to make the lesson more tactile, practical and involved. “If you tell them what an isosceles triangle is, they’ll never remember! But if you help them discover the answers for themselves they’ll never forget.”
Geoboard • photo from Creative Commons – Wikipedia.
Out came the geoboards – a hands-on math manipulative that students use to create geometric shapes. Our lesson started with students finding a geoboard on their desk – they naturally started playing as students got ready to learn. The class progressed with much triangle building and students themselves discovering the properties of triangles.
One student smiled and said “You’re fun!” All I did was ask them guiding questions to help them discover the answers! The process made it fun (and memorable.)
Thanks to Mr Smith for refining my teacher skills in good ways!
I’ve been in Teacher’s College and in our Science Class we are to develop three lesson plans to cover a science topic. I used three lessons I performed in a Grade One class in the fall on “Structures and Mechanisms – Materials, Objects and Everyday Structures.”
I wanted some traditional fun (fun = learning!) but also wanted to make sure all members of the class got involved. I started with a classic hook – “The Three Little Pigs” and a hands-on exploration into the building materials the pigs may have used.
But from traditional building blocks I took a turn to include other students who may NOT be interested in bricks and sticks.
I used the Cinderella story to introduce the idea of materials used in fashion and everyday dress. I often add a little role-playing drama. When I showed up to part of the lesson wearing beach attire (shorts and t-shirt) just before -18C recess, the students eagerly told me why I had chosen the wrong materials (clothing) to go outside on the cold day. We had some successful learning!
I’m in my last semester of the Bachelor of Education program at Ottawa U. It feels like the home stretch!
I’m in the intense On-SIte program that condenses six months of lecture material into two and a half months to allow for an expanded six months of practicum placement.
For me, the hands-on learning directly in the classroom offers me the best educational learning experience. I am a hands-on learner and never excelled at traditional sit-in-the-classroom schooling. Most traditional schools cater to verbal-linguistic learners (read: book-learner).
Play Based Learning & Managing Risk – Much can be learned in alternative classrooms. Above was my own weekend classroom of fun with my friends.
I am curious about the alternative and holistic approaches to education and how related practices can be incorporated into traditional classes. My elective this year explores the world of holistic and alternative education practices.
In my current placement I am lucky enough to witness a teacher who brings many elements of holistic practices into his classroom. In my last placement I was fortunate to witness a teacher who incorporated much play-based learning (although she disliked the term “play-based learning” because of the erroneous connotation that “play” and “learn” are very different things.)
Play based learning – incorporating drama to teach math. Captain Barnacle uses his treasure chest to teach about counting coins.
This week I read an article by well-known New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell on “Most Likely to Succeed” in the field of education. His writing is thought provoking (for me anyway.)
In “Most Likely to Succeed” he addresses attributes of a good, new teacher… which often counter the traditional selection process. He uses an NFL analogy to make his point. Worth a read if education or teaching interests you!
It always makes me smile when past students hit big milestones!
France Rivet completed our ProProgram and has just published her second book – this one chronicling the unfortunate treatment of eight Inuit who were paraded through Europe as novelties in a zoo. It didn’t end well for Abraham Ulrikab and his friends.
Four years of research has produced: “In the Footsteps of Abraham Ulrikab: The events of 1880-1881”
I exhibited works from my long term Watershed project. For 14 years I’ve followed and documented the ‘little’ creek behind our house – so far that’s been 18km of exploration along Chelsea Creek (and tributary) and photography, mostly, using medium, large and very large format equipment.
I also exhibited a much newer project using a much older medium – cyanotypes – in a way they are not supposed to be used. I placed the paper directly in the captured and used all day exposures to capture the sun streaking across familiar landscapes.
Roadkill along the Watershed
We closed the show with a discussion about the dangers to wildlife who travel along the Chelsea Creek Watershed and choose between a haunting trip through a tunnel under Highway 5 or a dangerous trip across the major highway. There are permanent blood stains from animals who do not make it across the road…
Chelsea Mayor Caryl Green and others listening to the “Preventing Roadkill on the Watershed” discussion.
The exhibition was well received and earned a visit from the region’s mayors and local press coverage. The exhibition caught the interest of Radio Canada’s Bernier & Cie who featured the unique works in the exhibition.
Many thanks to Jeffrey, Reid and Adrienne who saved me from a very late night hanging the show. Thanks to Sandrine who coordinated the exhibition, to the media for their kind words and to Catherine Joyce who wrote an Artist’s profile. And a big thanks to everyone who visited, commented and purchased the artworks!
Managing Digital Assets Workshop
Colin has just launched a timely Digital Assets Course to help you how to take control of your organization’s inventory of digital assets (images, videos, logos, design files and documents) quickly and effectively, while saving time and money.
Over the course of the day you will:
• organize your current inventory of digital assets
• properly name files and folder structures
• organize your model and talent releases effectively
• non-destructively edit your current inventory of assets, with your team’s help
• create metadata for tagging these assets, in a new or existing digital asset management system
• decide which metadata are important, manage current incomplete metadata and create a controlled vocabulary for your organization
• determine which internal policies your clients are using, and the issues and legal considerations that affect those policies
• assess and use digital asset management systems
Course Details October 28th, 2014. $685 + HST
Location: Central Ottawa
To register contact Colin at email@example.com or 613-277-7693.