Happy Spring! Tomorrow is World Poetry Day!! Read about it here...
World Poetry Day (March 21st) | Days Of The Year
Here's a fun lesson for intermediate/high school teachers to celebrate World Poetry Day. As shared on Facebook and Created by: Stacey Joy #AllBlackLivesMatter (@Joyteamstars) / Twitter
Click the link below for an interactive PDF:
Here is a poetic prompt...
... a prep payback cover teacher, what the heck is that? That's got to be made up! The truth is, that while the title is, in fact, made up by me, it is a 'thing'. This is when you cover a different class each period throughout the day while teachers have meetings, or have missed prep time paid back, or even have anticipated missed prep time paid back (prep-forward, if you will). It's usually a pretty interesting day as you get to work with different grades across different subjects. And, since the teacher is at school, the day is planned and you just sub in and take over with whatever the classroom teacher would have done. All in all, a pretty sweet deal. So... my day went like this: grade 2 gym, grade 4 art, grade 1/2 drama & dance, grade 7 French, and grade 2 health & nutrition... What's a gal to do but to enjoy her day and marvel about how she is actually getting paid for this!
Teacher Reflection: Not all days are like this. These days make the not-so-nice days worth it.
Well now, you can't just let kids boogie down all willy nilly. (Trust me, I've tried it, realized the mistakes in that method, reflected upon said mistakes, learned from them - I utilized a Growth Mindset, if you will.) First, you gotta use...
Clever Teacher Move #3: Checking Out the Dynamics of Your Crew
For a bit of diagnostic assessment, I like to start with Freeze Dance. I direct the students to find a square on the floor, not next to any one else’s square. That is their square and in fact, I tell them they can even name their square, if they’d like. So one foot should always be in (or returning to, if jumping) your square. Then we are ready to begin.
The square on the floor defines each of the student’s personal space for this activity. You could even have a discussion about this if a class required it. I can quickly tell who has an understanding of spatial sense and the ability to move and return to their space. It is always evident who those students are that just don’t have this skill, and in my experience, usually students who don’t stick to their area; they just can’t, rather than they are not paying attention, or they don't want to. They usually do not have the inhibitory control/self-control and sense of personal space to be successful at this task. So, don’t worry about it; because most of the class are in their places leaving it much safer for the couple movers/runners to do their thing with less bumping into their friends. Sorted. Differentiation. Unique needs of a few students met whilst still meeting the needs of all students. Priceless.
Moving and stopping is very hard for some of our young learners. This skill requires listening skills, plus body control (inhibitory control, self control and spatial sense).
For the ol' Supply Teacher Bag O' Tricks, here are some games designed to give kids a self-regulation workout: (from: http://www.parentingscience.com/teaching-self-control.html)...
As it turned out, this particular class had no such problems.
Teacher Reflection: Physical age doesn't so much matter here, as much as past experiences. Some groups, on the whole will not have had many movement experiences, and may require extra work. If this is the case, stick to the self-regulation control dancing games.
We were ready to Just Dance! And dance we did... we did some Free Dance to some different styles of music: from classical to hip hop and popular songs.
In between songs, I questioned the students about what they were doing, referring to grade-level dance expectations from the curriculum, for example:
I would use a 'Creative Movement' Word Wall to display words to help students talk about how they are moving, which likely would turn out to be an Arts word wall as the words are helpful across subjects.
Next, we tried a Jam Fest activity, from a DPA Dance and Movement Workshop, called Cardio Hip Hop with Marissa Murphy, presented for Professional Development by HWOTL a few years back:
Clever Teacher Move #4: State some safety rules.
Together, create a couple of rules to keep everyone safe. Some kids are super dancers but not everyone is safe to imitate their moves. For example, upright dance moves, no gymnastics, feel free to adapt the move to something you can do, etc.,...
Clever Teacher Move #5: Resting Area
Part of self-regulation is knowing when we are tired and need a rest. So, I designate a spot to do so. In this case, the students could sit atop the tables on their bottoms with their feet dangling down (the classroom teacher's approved table top sitting method). I stipulated that they must still be moving by keeping the beat somehow: clapping, snapping, rocking, patting lap, or with voice (woo woo, uh huh), etc.,...
There are countless benefits to dancing, so many, in fact, that I will focus on the ones that can be observed in a one-off, spontaneous dance party that I can conduct as a supply teacher:
This is acknowledged not only in our Ontario Curriculum Document and by science, but those who dance, just know these things to be true!
Our CURRICULUM says...
Dance Elements are: body, space, time, energy, and relationship
In the primary grades, students should be moving creatively every day. Students begin to use personal experience, imagination, and familiar movements to develop a movement vocabulary, to respond to prompts and express ideas, and to communicate their thoughts and feelings in various situations. Through a balance of free exploration and guided exploration, students develop awareness of their bodies and of the many different ways they can move. Through modelling and guided movement explorations, they expand their movement vocabulary to include some of the elements of dance. In particular, students begin to travel through pathways, use gesture to communicate feelings, and explore a range of levels, shapes, and locomotor and non-locomotor movements. Students also develop their ability to move and control their bodies in space and time and begin to create short dance pieces using the elements of dance.
PHE CANADA gives Five Reasons to Teach Dance, for anyone still unconvinced:
As a teacher it is important to remember that everyone CAN dance! By using an approach that provides an opportunity for guided movement expression, all students can bring their unique abilities to create movement.
And, of course, SCIENCE agrees that dancing is good for us:
Bonus Clever Supply Teacher Move: Choose a VGB
Last class at the end of the day... tired 6 and 7 year olds... meant to be learning about health and nutrition, but they weren't exactly into it. It's not that they were against it, but they were just really wiggly and tired and grumpy, and I just couldn't see peace lasting until home time.
Oh, Look What I Just Happen to have in my Supply Teacher Bag O' Tricks!... This VGB (very good book), which is a very versatile read-aloud that is good across MANY grades; has enjoyment factor + matches a plethora of curriculum expectations....
The Candy Conspiracy: A Tale of Sweet Victory, by Carrie Snyder (2015)
In Candyville, the Juicy Jelly Worm rules over a land where lollipop trees grow beside rivers of root beer and powdered sugar falls like snow. Every day, he devours his candy throne, jujube crown and cupcake castle. Day in and day out, the children of Candyville must make new ones -- never getting so much as a nibble of nougat for themselves. Finally, one child comes up with an idea to outsmart the self-centered tyrant. The children plant a secret garden, hoping the fruits of their labor, which include sugar snap peas, candy cane beets, sweet potatoes, and watermelon radishes, might appeal to the Juicy Jelly Worm just enough to spark the sweetest trade ever.
We just had a fairly quick read aloud (due to time) and these same wiggly kids managed to sit mostly still in their chairs for the entire story! VGB = Priceless. (Especially if you use your public library! I love my library; Hamilton Public Libraries Rock!)
If I were a classroom teacher...
I would do so much more with this story. For example, we could do some word work to expand the students' vocabulary and the story lends itself well to using the Prediction Literacy Strategy.
I hope you enjoyed my post and can use some of my ideas in your own teaching. I just love my job!
A Day in the Life of a Supply Teacher... So much more than meets the eye!
In this post, I introduce: Clever Teacher Moves, If I Were a Classroom Teacher... Next Steps and Questioning, and Gratitude Attitude Alert! I introduce the concept of VGB - a Very Good Book, as well you will find references to a Supply Teacher Bag O' Tricks, the importance of Reflection To Guide Change, and a Bonus Clever Supply Teacher Move...
Language: One of My Favourite Read Alouds...
Clever Teacher Move #1: Sneaky Transitions...
Me: “As we walk back to the classroom, I want you to think about 2 words: PIG and PARADE. When we get back, I want you to look inside your brain at the picture those words made and SKETCH it on the paper on your desk, and, go!”
(We discussed the word SKETCH so that they would not be surprised and upset if they are not done after 5 minutes.)
Clever Teacher Move #2: Schema-collecting, sharing & oral communication...
We sat around the perimeter of the carpet with our pictures. I chose students to tell one thing that they put in their sketches and anyone else who also put that item in their picture raised their own up to share. (The option was there if students did not wish to share.) We could easily see the things that were the same or similar and the things that were different. New ideas were also generated and the students were eager to go back to their sketches and add more. I told them to hang on to those ideas because they were going to use them in a little while.
Clever Teacher Move #3: Choose a VGB - a Very Good Book (a very versatile read-aloud that is good across ALL grades; has enjoyment factor + matches curriculum expectations)....
A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes is one of my favourite books and is a go-to item in my Supply Teacher Bag O’ Tricks! It takes a silly idea and proceeds to build an argument based on the author’s opinion that a pig parade is a terrible idea. I’ve used this story for pure enjoyment, of course, but most often it leads off to work around opinion/persuasive writing, depending on the grade level. And, yes, I do use this story for middle school kids, too, because it really does follow a pretty obvious formula that can be easily replicated by the students in their own work.
For this group, due to time limits, during reading we simply counted all of the authors reasons as to why he thought a pig parade is a terrible idea. We also briefly discussed his explanations for those reasons.
Clever Teacher Move #4: Offer choice...
A __________ parade is a _______________ idea because…..
I told the class that they were to complete the words in the sentence and then either use words, pictures, or both to finish the sentence. In passing, I also suggested that they use interesting words, other than 'good' or 'bad' which provided an enrichment component for some (differentiation on the fly). Knowing this particular bunch of students, I fully expected many pictures, but I also got many more words than I had expected to get. I think it is because it was each student’s personal choice. As the students handed in their masterpieces, I got further elaboration if required, but the pictures did a mighty fine job of depicting what they were meant to - quite the group of artists, I tell you!
Art Lesson: Van Gogh and his Flowers
Gratitude Attitude Alert!
One of the best things about my 10th year of occasional teaching is revisiting lessons. With reflection, they adapt and change and become even better than before. And knowing my students allows me to tailor the lessons for each class and/or grade level.
Bonus Clever Supply Teacher Move: Building Relationships with Teachers and Students (All Staff, really)...
That’s exactly what happened with this art lesson… On the phone, Dear Classroom Teacher said to me, “Do you remember that flower art lesson from a couple years ago? Do you want to do that with them?” Well, great, I thought. I love teaching art and making art with children, but the lesson could be bettered. In the original lesson, I showed them a sample (top right), demonstrated making the flower (as pictured on the left side of the top right photo below), and then the students went off to spend 3 minutes copying my picture and they were done and most of the pictures were the same.
Of course, the luxury of knowing my position days before allows advance preparation, so I went to my library for the DVD, and an Art idea book that had a sunflower picture that we could use as one source of inspiration. I found a handy Crayola resource chart (see above) depicting a couple of other styles of painting flowers.
The students were well into the animated version of Van Gogh's life, and unfortunately, due to time restraints, I had to cut it short so that we had time to explore the paints, as well as make our art. We discussed Van Gogh's use of colour in regards to how the pictures made us feel and thought about how he felt while he was painting them. I told them that since Dear Classroom Teacher's instructions were painting flowers that was the only rule (aside from filling the page). Some of the kids came up to me and asked if they could do a video game flower... sure!... a monster flower? Sure! Field of flowers, potted flowers, single flowers, whatever!
There was no brown. Tragedy? Not at all.... they had to make their own by collaborating with the students in their groups, so they did, and we had many different shades of brown. If we had more time, I would have given only primary colours, plus white and black, so that the students would have been forced (ha ha HA!) into more problem-solving than they did... and many of the students created their own colours in separate plastic cups. While circulating, I asked them to name their colour creations as an impromptu enrichment activity, or asked them to explain how they came up with their colour. Of course, a few students will always be finished sooner than I'd like, but most were engaged right up until clean up time! Done one picture; make another! All good:) And, while I was not yet in the habit of documenting student work, I do have an updated flower picture for my files!
Clever Teacher Move #5: Preparation for Cleaning Up...
The fun of conducting painting art lessons with no sink in the room is Awesome, but luckily, with preparation, the kids were actually able to be fairly neat. I used Word Work trays to put paint in egg cartons on, plus empty mixing containers, brushes, and even some brush alternatives (anything can be used as a paintbrush!)... We covered the desks with the big paper used earlier in a math lesson and I filled water containers to rinse the brushes out and provided paper towel to wipe excess paint off brushes before dipping in next colour. And, I had to be a meanie and tell them "no painting on hands or finger painting because we have no sink access" and we simply had a short discussion on why I needed to make that rule... they knew; kids are smart when we give them time to think:) Finding drying space was also quite a challenge... I so wish I took that picture.... there were paintings drying on every flat surface in the classroom. It was Art-ly Awesome!
I hope you enjoyed:
DIFFERENTIATION ON THE FLY IS THE ULTIMATE FLEXIBILITY!
IT IS MY SUPER POWER!
Nicola Schneider, Occasional Teacher, 13 years