My teaching juices are definately flowing today. This week has been a hard one as I have started my third trimester.
I have found lately that one of the greatest challenges is keeping everyone engaged and making sure everyone is challenged. I’m sure this will be something I will have to learn to handle constantly as I am teaching three completely different individuals, with different personalities, interests and learning styles.
Teaching my 6 year old is so much easier…he’s much more receptive, mature and his attention span is great!! Teaching my 5 year old is quite a different story. First of all, he’s a bit more artistic, so his interests, motivations and learning styles are very different. I have found myself looking for different, more creative ways to approach him and always making sure that he finds learning enjoyable and fun. This has definately been a struggle the last few weeks…but it’s stretching me as a teacher.
Then, of course, there is the challenge of keeping the toddler not just entertained but also challenged. I am learning to use everyday experiences as teaching tools. Today I had him count his grapes in Spanish as I served them to him.
Yesterday, the boys found a snail outside, and of course, it’s become an additional pet in the house :/. This has turned into a great teaching opportunity at different levels. Last night I pulled up a couple of lessons to learn more about snails…we are going to watch a cool video of giant snails in Africa, since they have been learning about the continent this month. One of the hands-on experiments involves hunting for more snails. We will add them to our “collection” and then use what we have learned to create a habitat for the snails.
During his “free play” time today, my more artistic child wanted to learn how to make paper boats. Well, we spent some fun time making and decorating them. They, of course, name their boats “Paddle to the Sea”, drew a Paddle person on them, and wrote “Please put me back in the water” just like in the book we are still reading. This turned into art time, handwriting, language arts etc. It also turned into motivation to finish their lessons for the day. I told them after their lessons we would float our boats in the bathttub and the snails can ride in them. I still need to see how it will all turn out, but so far the process has been very educational for everyone and kept each of them excited and engaged.
I am learning to use their everyday curiosity and interests and turning them into a lesson or learning opportunity. When I’ve done this successfully it almost always turns into a great learning day.