Friday Two Cents: Media Literacy Inquiry


 

This week I had the opportunity to “Captain” a class for the first time in the sense of setting the curriculum for the students, in a kindergarten class, as a teacher. Last week I followed the plans the teacher had laid out but this week I was able to plan for the week. During the first week, I was able to observe the students and I discovered an area they were interested in; superheroes. From this information I was able to create a program to help the students explore this subject while helping them in other subject areas such as media literacy, language and art.

If we are doing heroes, I though why not start with one of the first stories based on a hero. Therefore I started the week by introducing them to a picture book called Hercules. It is based on the Disney movie version. It is about 100 pages so we read only a few pages a day and I had my special bookmark to help us remember where we left off. The students loved this story and every morning they would ask when are we reading the story of Hercules.
artWC

Warm and cool colour art


I then helped them to start thinking of colours as warm and cool with an art project. They would create a sun in the sky, divide the paper by drawing two horizontal and two vertical wavy lines and then colour it with warm and cool colours (the sun warm and the sky cool).
We then explored the world of heroes and villains by using characters they were use to from the media. I told them media are things they see and hear from movies, television, radio, newspaper, magazines and the Internet. We focused on the characters from the Marvel, DC and Disney universes and they came up with a comparison chart of what makes a hero and villain. They came up with words such as good, happy, helpful, smiling and kind for the heroes and bad, evil, scary, fights, steals for the villains. I also asked them if they noticed the colour of the outfits each group wore. They came up with light or bright colours for heroes and dark colours for villains.

Media Anchor Chart

We than had group activities where they would create their own superhero. One day it was a male hero, on the second it was a female. We noticed that there were more male/boy characters then female/girl. I then had them talk amongst themselves to come up with a few female character names. They came up with a few and we wrote them on post-it notes and placed it on the chart.
We also explored the idea of violence in cartoons. I showed them the scene of Charlie Brown trying to kick the football but Lucy moves it at the last-minute and Charlie goes flying. It may look funny but I asked, ‘How to you think Charlie feels?’ I also showed them a scene from Peter Pan when Peter and Wendy meet the mermaids. They said that the mermaids look like the heroes but after they saw the video they said that they were mean for picking on Wendy, pulling her hair and getting her wet while Pan just laughed. Scenes like that may look innocent but I asked how do you think Wendy feels. They said the mermaids were bullying her and Peter should not have laughed. They were very aware and we had a little discussion about it.

The final project for the inquiry was to create their own hero or villain. I gave them a choice of a male or female character outline to create their own character. I reminded them about the colours they should use for their character to make them look like a hero or villain. The results were amazing to see.
We finished the media literacy inquiry with the final project but the students wanted to do more. I told them that I will have the chart up for them and we can use the iPads to help them explore more during the last week of school. We also finished the story of Hercules and as a bonus I would bring in the DVD of Disney’s Hercules for everyone to watch. They were all excited and could not wait for next week.
Next week is the last week of school and the students are engaged and excited to learn more. As a teacher I can’t think of a better compliment they could give me.

 

SaveSave

Friday Two Cents: To Boldly Go


 

This past week has been a whirlwind of a week to say the least. First off I finally made it onto the Occasional Teaching (OT) roster of a school board. I say finally because after 2 years in university, one year of teacher’s college and 2 years of supplying as an early childhood educator (RECE), I can say that I am working in my chosen career.

First Day as an occasional teacher (OT)

As great as that sounds it is only the beginning. I went in on Monday to the school I usually go to for my first day as a supply teacher. The experience was amazing! I was in a grade 5 class where all of the students basically knew me and I knew about half of them since kindergarten. I then covered a few other classes where I had the same experience.
At the end of the day I received some good news for me. A teacher had gone on sick leave and they asked me if I could cover the class until the end of the school year. I jumped at the chance and the best part  was that it would be in a kindergarten class that I have already worked in as a RECE!!
So the following day I started in the kindergarten class as their teacher until the end of the year.  The experience was a lot different then when I was a RECE. I have been in the several classes as a RECE for several weeks and months at a time, yet being a teacher in a class is totally different. They say the weight of responsibility weighs heavy on those in authority and I can now say from experience, that it does.
Before, I was helping the teacher, something very similar to a “sergeant”. Someone in authority and respected, but subordinate to someone else.   Now as the teacher I am like the officer, the “captain” of the ship. You still have someone to report to, the principal (Admiral), but you chart your own course, steering the ship in a direction towards a destination for learning. The crew (the students) are your responsibility, you must keep them safe and ensure that they benefit for your leadership.
This week of being the “Captain” in the class was amazing. I had the benefit of the programming of the previous teacher and then I threw in my own spin in teaching the material. Next week I bring in my own plan of action, so to speak. This coming week I am the captain of the S.S. Kindergarten. Their on going journey, into a new and exciting world of learning and exploration. To boldly go where we have not gone before.

SaveSave

Friday Two Cents: New Rules, Positive Behaviour And Discipline


This past week has been a bit trying to say the least. The students in the class are all great yet the dynamic in the room between the students has been a bit … unkind to one another. One of them even told me that they were not being good friends to one another. These are kindergarten students so the social behaviour is something that needs to be taught and encouraged in great deal at school.

With this information the teacher and I embarked on a new inquiry, ‘Being a good friend to each other.’ I was asked to try to develop a few lessons to help the students be kinder to one another. The first thing I thought of was to create a chart of positive behaviour we need to work on. I read the book “What does it mean to be kind?” and the class and I created a chart together. We called it Manners and we came up with a few ideas. The first was saying please, thank you, you’re welcome and I’m sorry as the number one class rule. We also came up with listening to each other, helping others, being patient, sharing and treating others the way you want to be treated.   Not a bad start for kindergarten students.
The next day I reminded the students about these rules by pointing out examples from their own actions when they were and weren’t following the rules they helped to come up with.   Yet I also brought in a couple if things to help solidify these rules. One was a book called “How full is your bucket?” and the other was my Mufasa and Simba puppets.
My Mufasa and Simba puppets helps the students see that the adult lion Mufasa has rules that Simba may not like but they are there to keep him safe. These rules are not there because he wants to be mean to Simba or that he does not like him but because he cares very much for Simba. The moral is that adults have rules for kids because they care about them and they want them to be safe. As well, if Mufasa is upset with Simba for breaking a rule he is not angry with him all the time, he still cares for him. The same is true with adults like their mothers, fathers and teachers.
The book “How full is your bucket?” encourages positive behaviour by using the idea of an invisible bucket to show children how easy and rewarding it is to be kind, appreciative, and caring by “filling buckets.” This is not a new concept for the students but perhaps some reminding will help them. I reintroduced the bucket idea on Thursday and all day Friday they kept talking about filling each other’s buckets.
It feels good to see that they are embracing this idea and the other concepts I have been trying to instil in the students. Yet the one thing I have been doing as well is being very firm when it comes to room discipline. I allow the students free expression yet the rules, manners and the bucket ideas are being strictly reinforced by the teacher and myself. I thought that they may have a problem with the extra discipline I am introducing but it appears that the students are welcoming it. I have noticed a bit more smiles on the students and a feeling of calmness in the room when it comes to the students’ personality dynamics. I guess the drill sergeant in me has a place within a classroom even when I am only there for a short stay. Only time will tell if these initiatives will hold up for the rest of my stay.  

Art Inspiration: Graffiti Art Signs For Sick Kids


ArtInspirationPaulGLogo

 

Last week at the school I am working in, they were having a fundraiser to raise money to help support Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. Every group would be responsible for one of the three days to help raise funds.  Tuesday was popcorn day, Wednesday was ice cream and Popsicle day and Thursday we had baked goods. The students also participated in the fundraiser by helping to sell the goods and my grade 3, 4 and 5s’ also helped to make the baked goods.

I am not very good at baking, correction not good at baking with kids (too messy for my liking, actually the clean up part). Therefore I volunteered to help create awareness by creating posters with the students. I did not want to create the traditional posters the students and teachers make with large paper and tempera paints. I learned a new way and I wanted to share it with the students. So we created Graffiti Art posters.
We needed to create four posters, one for each day and a central one with Sick Kids on it. This was perfect because I had four groups. Below you can see the images of the different stages of the process and the best part was that I had the students do all the work.

 

Stage 1 – The students’ chose which poster they wanted to create and they got busy creating the letters for the sign. I gave them card stoke paper and told them that they can create the letters in any way they wanted. They didn’t have to be the same and they could cut out the letter and have them either a negative or positive cut out (the letter itself or a page with the letter cut out in the centre).

They then would tape the letter onto a large piece of butcher paper. I told them that they would be spray painting the letter with black paint and whatever is taped down would be the colour of the paper and exposed sheet would have the paint.

 

Stage 2 – once the letters were taped down, we took the large sheet outside and spray painted the letters and sheet. I let the students spray paint their own letter after a bit of instruction on how to do it. You need to spray paint outside because of the smell, and I used flat Black paint so it would not look too shiny and it would be easier for the next stage.

 

Stage 3 – after the paint was dry and the smell has gone (usually it takes a day), I had the students colour in the poster using oil pastels. I told them to remove the paper stencil they created and then just look at the poster and their letter before they coloured. I told them to take a moment and see what they could do with their letter, to use their imagination.

What they created was imaginative and inspiring.  

Friday Two Cents: Summer Vacation Part 5: Washing The Dust From My Soul


 

twoCentsOldNew

 

Usually a vacation is when you go off somewhere to relax and forget the struggles of the daily grind. Yet this summer I decided to go somewhere and improve myself and take an additional qualification (AQ) course. An AQ course helps teachers learn new skills that they can bring into the classroom. From math, language and science to the arts.

The AQ course I am taking is entitled Visual Arts, Part 1. It helps teachers with the foundations of visual arts from elements and principles of design to activities they can bring back to the classroom that is based around the Ontario curriculum for the Arts. I have always been interested in all art forms. Music, drama, dance, and the visual arts, yet I particularly enjoy the visual arts.
Straight from the Curriculum document;
‘The visual arts include a broad range of forms, genres, and styles that include the traditional arts of drawing, painting, sculpting, printmaking, architecture, and photography, as well as commercial art, traditional and fine crafts, industrial design, performance art, and electronic and media arts.’ ((2009), The Ontario Curriculum: Grades 1-8. The Arts.)
As you can imagine it covers a wide spectrum of art forms, all of which I enjoy. There is a lot to cover in the course but it is very fulfilling. So I choose to make this journey into the art world a part of my vacation. The other benefit is that I am taking the course in a wonderfully beautiful small city in southern Ontario, Guelph. I have my undergrad from the University of Guelph and I have always enjoyed going to Guelph since my parents took me as a child. Now I have the opportunity to explore and experience the rich artist atmosphere the city has to offer.
I have been busy with my studies and I have not been able to take in too much but this city has inspired me to draw and create. I also went on an art galley tour with the professor and other teachers in Guelph. I had no idea that Guelph is full of artists. I was so engrossed with the tour I did not take any photos, a situation I will remedy the next week.
There have been a lot of art discovery this week and I cannot post all of it here, yet I will post some photos of some of the activities I did that inspired me to create. These included a few elements of design such as line, colour, shapes and texture. See if you can figure them out.

 

Yet I believe that the most important lesson I learned comes from what Picasso once said about art.
‘The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.’ Pablo Picasso
After a week of art my soul is refreshed and ready for the next day.

Art Inspiration: Greek Vases


ArtInspirationPaulGLogo

Several weeks ago I did a weeklong exploration/inquiry on mythology, specifically Greek/Roman or Classic Mythology.   The students truly enjoyed the week with me reciting the tail of the Greek gods and other classical myths. Yet one art project we did inspired many to create some wonderful artwork.

Below you can see the Greek vase art project we did. You can follow each step on how we created them.

 

Step 1. First we drew a vase and then we choose warm or cool colour oil pastels and totally coated or coloured in the entire vase, pressing hard. If you don’t, the black paint will stick and absorb to those areas and won’t easily be scratched away.
GV01

Step 1: Colour the vase with oil pastels

 
Step 2. After we fully colored and coated the entire vase with the oil pastels, the students use black acrylic paint to paint over wherever they colored in oil pastel. We let the creation dry fully over night.
GV02

Step 2: paint the vase with acrylic paint.

 
Step 3.   The next day the students used wooden toothpicks and skewers to scratch away gently into the vases and just remove the black paint exposing the colored oil pastel underneath.
GV22

Step 3: using a toothpick or a skewer, scrap away the black paint to create your image.

 

I told them that many Greek vases depicted tails from mythology or some impart scene from the life of the time the vase was created. My example shows a scene from the tail of Prometheus being visited by the eagle. I told them that they could do a story or some thing important to themselves. A couple of students enjoy playing baseball and you can see their creations. Below you can enjoy the students hard work and amazing finished vases.

Friday Two Cents: Integration Is Not Good For Everyone


 

twoCentsOldNew

This week I had the privilege to work in a kindergarten class with a wonderful bunch of students. Yet there was one student with exceptional needs (EN) in the class that kept me on my toes. This was not the first time that I have worked with students with EN and the student was a good student except for a few instances where I had to stop them from running out of the classroom or pushing another student. However, it did bring up a debate that I had with many other educators about the integration of students with EN into mainstream classrooms.

There is a movement in main if not all school boards to integrate students with EN into a regular classroom. The argument is that they need to be part of the general student population, which makes sense. However, I have been in about a dozen different kindergarten classrooms with these students and it has been a very difficult experience for everyone involved.

Many of these students with EN have behavioural issues, some violent. I have been on the receiving end of students hitting, punching, yelling, screaming, and biting me. In every case the teacher and I had to deal with the student with no other help from the board. The more difficult situations involve these students harming other students. I have seen students with EN pull hair, jump on top and tackle, punch, hit, bit and scratch other students with no provocation.

This behaviour also has psychological issues on the other students as well. There was one student at one school whom, whenever they went out into the playground would hide behind some trees. I saw them and asked why were they there. They told me that they were hiding from this one student with EN because they were afraid that they might hurt them again. When I heard this junior kindergarten student say this my heart sank. Here I am a teacher who’s responsibility it is to provide a healthy, caring and safe environment for the students and I cannot help this student feel safe because the EN student might hurt them. That was when I decided that integration of EN students in a regular classroom environment not matter what is not the best policy.

Mind you, there have been some classrooms I have been in that had EN students and they were integrating well into the routine of the class. Yet those instances are few and far between. In the 12 different classrooms with students with EN, I could safely say that there were 3 that had integrated well. That still leaves 9 that had difficulties. The issue, that many teachers and educators have told me, is that there is no support for these students.

Many believe that integrating is great and it is the new doctrine for the school boards, however I for one think that it is not a good idea. For some time I kept my thoughts on the matter to myself for fear of reprisal, but a colleague of mine told me something that changed my position. She said “If you disagree with a situation you should stand up and make your case for it. If people do not challenge the system or status quo, nothing will have the opportunity to change for the better.” Ever since then I have been vocal when asked about the integration of students with exceptional needs.

It is a good idea but you need to have the support available to help the student and teacher/educator. Simply placing a student in a classroom and expecting the teachers to magically help these students without any support is a fantasy. School boards and the government need to seriously look at how they fund, run and organize the integration of students with exceptional needs. Until that happens everyone will continue to suffer, both the students and families with EN and those without.

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

The Trombonist's Mouthpiece

Music, education, and philosophy

Paul Gauchi

My innermost thoughts I wish to share. These things Inspire me, maybe they will inspire you.

Lucia Lorenzi

the body politic: musings and meanderings

Eternal Atlantis

Official Website of Luciana Cavallaro

The Art Studio by Mark Moore

Where Imagination Becomes Realality

Daniel is funny

Monsters, Jokes, Analogies

A Step onto the Road

The journeying of a literary hopeful

teachingontheverge

Emergent curriculum, play-based learning, and Arts education... go!

The Baggage Handler

I made the impossible easy in both worlds!

Bucket List Publications

Indulge- Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences

Belief Blog

Spreading the Power of Belief

The First Gate

Stories, Dreams, Imagination, Soul

Chris Martin Writes

Sowing seeds for the Kingdom

Unbound Boxes Limping Gods

The writer gives life to a story, the reader keeps it alive.

Mama Cormier

.... my journey to a healthy life, making new memories and so much more

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.