Friday, 22 August 2014

What I Love to Teach

Hi everyone!  I'm piggy backing the linky parties today!  It's the last day of the Back to School blog hop, and of course, it's Friday which means a Five for Friday post.

Today is all about what I love to teach, so here are my top 5 favourite subjects, starting with my most favourite!

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Science

I love, love, LOVE to teach science.  I actually have a BSc in Biology and was planning on going into fisheries and wildlife research, but changed my mind.  The lab work was just too lonesome.  I have a tonne of science knowledge and love sharing it with my kids. 

We do all sorts of fun science things together.  I try and include something hands on in nearly every lesson.  

I really push my kids hard when it comes to science fair.  Grade 4 is the year where children start doing projects in my district.  The concept is brand new to them.  I do guide them through the entire process, and believe in the majority of the work being completed at school.  I love the end result when they are so proud of what they have learned and presented.  It's really the biggest task of the year.

I'm adding links to two of my must-have science files.  The Scientific Process posters are great for students at any age doing a science fair project, while the Golden Rules are better suited for students in grade 6 +.

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Scientific-Process-Posters-1055385

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Golden-Rules-of-the-Scientific-Method-1370489




Math

Math is another fun one for me.  It's closely related to science, and I integrate a lot.  There's so many things you can do in math with manipulatives, stations, and games that it keeps it really fresh for the kids too.

This was the first year that I added guided math to my classroom.  I will not be going back!  I admit, it does take some more time to plan and prep.  However, the benefits of working with children at their level of math skill, it's truly amazing.  The conversations you have with them in small groups, especially from those lower students who usually keep their mouths shut, are amazing.

http://msgattsclass.blogspot.ca/2014/08/why-it-works-classroom-organization.html
Here is a shot of my math station organization that I shared in Wednesday's "Why" post.


Language Arts
The reading and writing process can be so difficult for some.  I mean, can you blame them?  The English language is bizarre at best.  Words with rules, some that don't follow and other words you just need to know.  Uh, ok.  

http://smartlearning.ca/
Using picture books as a starting point, you can really make the connections from for students.  Last year, I made a goal I will continue with this year, and that is to go deeper with the Smart Learning process.  This process was developed by Susan Close and she describes it as: 
The SmartLearning approach provides learners of all ages with a research-proven framework and a host of SmartThinking Tools that motivate deep comprehension and higher levels of achievement. Through work with the SmartLearning framework learners: activate and build background knowledge, set stretch-goals in relation to criteria established for tasks at hand, use multiple ways to process information, monitor and regulate learning as it progresses, transform learning into personalized demonstrations of understanding, and reflect on personal learning as the learning unfolds. Reflection includes finding evidence of meeting goals, noticing and regulating brain activity to support goal attainment, noticing strengths in learning, and setting new goals based on a growing understanding of personal need. 
Susan should be putting out a book very shortly on the topic and I can't wait.  Her strategies are so amazing and it will be nice to have them in a place for everyone to access.


Visual Art

Fine Arts is considered a group of 4 strands here in B.C. - visual art, dance, music and drama.  I do enjoy teaching them all (with music being my least favourite, simply because I am least knowledgeable there).  Visual art (painting, drawing, sculpting, sketching....) is my favourite.  Why? Here's why:

1. I'm crafty - I like to be crafty with my kids.  There's nothing like getting messy with chalk pastels or paint or a bottle of mist.
2. We use the real deal - because I am crafty, I insist on us using proper products.  I just know the results will be so much better and it's my job to make a positive experience for the kids.  They love using "real" artist supplies too.
3. Their personal expression comes alive - you can give a task to them all, and end up with 30 unique projects.  How cool is that?
4. It's a bonding time - art is more relaxed, you can chat and socialize a bit.  Sometimes we put on music too. 



Gym

I'm really learning to love gym.  As a student myself, I HATED gym.  I was the girl who had a random illness or would be flitting off in the corner with her girl friends.  As an adult, I am learning the value of a healthy lifestyle and really want to promote that with my kids.  I try to participate with them whenever it is safe to do so, and they really appreciate that.  My focus is on building skills, with games days on Friday.  I think at my new school I will likely have gym as a prep subject and I'm actually a bit sad about that.

Thanks for reading my post!  You have two options today for going on to read more. 


http://doodlebugsteaching.blogspot.ca/


 http://imbloghoppin.blogspot.ca/

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