I know, like many things in teaching, that’s often easier said than done. It’s not easy to be passionate when you’re teaching something you find uninteresting (like 4 months of multiplication…)
So show the kids things that you are passionate about. Show them you are a life long learner. Let them see you get excited!
Some of the things my kids see me get excited about are books, astronomy, music, and Disney.
No it is not always related to your curriculum and can I already hear the protesting teachers saying “I don’t have time to teach what I’m required to teach to begin with, how am I going to fit anything else in?” I’m not saying to teach an entire unit about Disney. Just find creative ways to incorporate it in.
Here are some examples for me:
It’s not hard as a third grade teacher to show a passion for books. I’m teaching kids to read every day. I share my favorite books with them. I talk to them about what I’m reading for fun. I make a point to drop everything and read (DEAR) at least a few times a week (my kids do it every day.) And I share with them my reading goal. I wanted to read 60 books this year in 2014 and in 2015 I am going to try to read 100 books. I keep track of it on GoodReads, a super awesome website.
I did not get into astronomy until a few years after I started teaching it. The more I taught about it, the more I wanted to learn. It’s just so cool! There are so many things to wonder about. But if you are passionate about astronomy and you are not fortunate enough to teach it to your students as a whole unit there are still ways you can include it:
For example, if you teach about the water cycle, you could substitute one of your lessons (not add another lesson) with a lesson about Saturn’s moon, Titan. Titan has a Methane cycle just like Earth has a water cycle. On Titan it rains Methane! That’s just so cool! And what a great way to get kids to connect what they are learning to other things. Art Station Titan is a program run by the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and this video of it is pretty awesome.
If you are teaching your kids to write “how tos” you could show them Chris Hadfield’s how to make a peanut butter sandwich in space video here on youtube.
If you’re teaching music you could play Gustav Holst’s The Planets.
Or you could always include some space current events, as a writing prompt, or homework assignment, or inquiry activity. I use SciShow Space a lot and it is good for older kids. I use it with my third graders, but I always watch it first to check that the content is appropriate.
I play my guitar and my cello for the kids. I sing all the time. I always have music going in the background while we are working. There are songs that go with every content area: Multiplication with Schoolhouse Rock, Ecology and decomposers on Youtube, Astronomy with They Might Be Giants , Parts of Speech with Schoolhouse Rock and the list goes on and on.
This one seems a little far fetched, but I actually bring up Disney all the time in my instruction. If we are having a bad day, I will grab my guitar and we will sing Zip-a-dee-do-dah and actively change our attitude. And that only takes 2 minutes. When we are doing biographies I do my example about Walt Disney. When we write personal narratives, I write about the summer I worked at Walt Disney World.
Love what you do. Be passionate and share that passion with your students. It will make you love teaching even more and your kids love learning even more.