Monday, April 28, 2014

When Art, Technology, & Classrooms Come Together

This year our class has been very fortunate to have participated in many different activities that have spanned many different facets outside the classroom.

Our latest endeavour is being part of Jennifer Wagner's (@jenwagner) Picture It! 2014.  This is the second project by Jen that our class has taken part off (we earlier stacked Oreo Cookies as part of the O.R.E.O. Project 2014) and it is a very interesting project.

It works as each class involved is separated into groups, with 24 classrooms involved in a group.  A picture is decided upon - this year's picture is Van Gogh's Starry Night.  Each classroom needs to colour a section of that picture and mail it to the other 23 schools participating.

Our classroom has been busy colouring section three of our group's rendition of Starry Night and the kids have used alot of their creativity.

In addition to colouring, each school sends along an All About Us brochure telling the schools involved about their class, including how many students, what they learn, and interesting things about the school, and most importantly where they are from.

My kids have been very interested in where each of these schools are and what they do.  Each time we get a picture (to this point we have received four), we post it up on our board and paste the parts together.  Each time we get a piece of the picture, the kids want to know who coloured it and if they are Grade Four or not.

They are even so amazed if it's coloured by a Grade Six (to which point they go, I can colour better than a Grade Six, ahaha!)

This project not only shows the impact of art, but also of technology and classroom integration.  It incoroporates colour, line, shape, and texture in art and also the idea that the world is much bigger than just our classrooms.

My students have been amazed by it and are really waiting in anticipation for the school in our group from New Zealand to send their picture! (especially since there are only three schools in our group not from the United States - including us).

A big thank you to Jen for her hard work organizing such an enormous undertaking and making it fun!  Make sure to visit her website, to find out more about her yearly projects!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The More Things Change, The More Things Shouldn't Stay the Same

Is it April already?!

Two and a half or so months left with our munchkins!

Spring Break was very well placed this year, but it gave me a refreshed outlook on my teaching.

This year, my second year of teaching, has really shown me how much preparation, planning, and then how to put into effect our lessons with proper supports in-class needs to go into our days.  We NEED to make sure things change, not stay stale, push the envelope and make our lessons more engaging and activating for our students.

Some teachers you can see have hit a wall and no amount of summer vacation, Spring Break, or Christmas vacation can refresh their outlook on how and what they teach.

It's sad because the kids are the ones who will suffer.

So the more things change, the more things shouldn't stay the same.

Meaning, our kids will file past our classroom door and then leave for the next year, but we want to make sure that each one learned something valuable.

I am a big believer in memorization and repitition in engraining information for my students.  That's why I continually have our Multiplication Table up on the wall.  It helps the kids to find the answers and eventually I have seen students not use it to solve questions. 

More practice/repetition/memorization = better retention (not all the time though).

We need to make sure we are fresh, engaging, and fun.

Because that's what teaching is all about.

And believe me, kids remember the teachers who make lessons engaging and FUN (I know I do)!