(Sing this to the tune of My Favorite Things)
Students on iPads and mixed up math classes, comfy class couches, teaching in sunglasses, fostering students to all love reading, these are a few of my favorite things!
Every teacher has their own unique style. Mine is comprised of several pieces, all contained in my song parody above 😉
First of all, for the parody itself, Music: I’ve always thought that music is a powerful teaching tool. You could go up to any 9th graders at my school and ask them how far the sun is from the earth and most of them would sing you “The sun’s about 93 million miles away, and that’s why it looks so small” from the They Might Be Giants Song I taught them way back in third grade. Music sticks in your head better than just about anything.
Technology: I’m a tech guru. I love trying new tech tools and apps and websites. If I could have a class set of iPads, I’d be in seventh heaven. Google apps are amazing and Tiny Bop Human Body is the most fun science app I’ve found.
Flexible grouping: I’ve come to realize over the years that I am a middle and high kid advocate. Yes, our low and struggling students need our support, but I refuse to believe that I should sacrifice 24 students for the benefit of 1. So I love flexible classes. I’ve taught the high math class at my school for the last five years and I love it! We finish concepts quickly and then I get to show my students how cool it would be to become an engineer one day. We build Mars rovers and landers, we play Simple Physics, we research careers in math fields, web build structures out of straws. In flexible classes it’s easier to give all the kids what is best for them.
Flexible learning environments: I call this my deskless classroom. My research on this comes from The Third Teacher. It says there are three teachers of students, adults, their peers, and the physical environment. Our classrooms set the tone for their education, why not use that to the best of our advantage?
Teach like a Pirate: my parody teaching in sunglasses line was a bit of a stretch, in rhyme and content, but I can make it work. Teach like a Pirate is all about doing what it takes to engage students authentically. So that might be wearing a silly costume (or sunglasses,) or playing a song, or going outside for a lesson. If kids could choose whether they go to school or not, would they go to your class?
Reading: This is my favorite thing to do in the whole entire world. I love to read. My goal for 2016 is 125 books. I’m currently up to 95 as of the end of September. It’s unfortunatley a subject I have a hard time teaching becuase so often too much curricula and programs and stuff gets in the way of learning to love to read. I’m working on that.