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Aug 29, 2010

Posted by in Teacher's Corner | 0 Comments

Term-end Analysis

Even though I have been teaching for so, so long, I still find myself surprised at how quickly a trimester goes. It feels like we just started yesterday, but here I am again, checking their papers and working on grades. Despite this term starting off on the wrong foot for me (for some reason I had difficulty getting into the groove of things, why I don’t really know, but it was not as natural and spontaneous for me this time), I enjoyed my classes very much. I also liked the outputs that came out of my various classes, especially the advocacy and information dissemination campaigns we did, both for abnormal psychology and for another subject.

My goal for these projects was simple: to campaign for understanding for their assigned mental disorder (for abnormal psychology) and to promote solutions for simple day to day social problems.

In their projects, I had the students make videos that would make their assigned issue simple and understandable to an ordinary person. I told them to also supplement these with inspirational posters that will drive their messages home.  I also encouraged them to make their campaigns as multi-modal as possible. Some of them designed pins and buttons with funny quotes and some even made board games about their topics.  There were some who even designed shirts (similar to those Cafepress funny tshirts) to highlight how simple it can be to solve everyday problems if we just try.

Those projects were definitely the highlight of my term :-) I loved how this also engaged the students in a different type of learning activity that let them tap into their different potentials. Overall, I have to say the effort of my batch of kids this term made me feel good about teaching, especially since I tend to be a more non-traditional teacher. This term, I felt that for the most part, they appreciated that too :-)

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Aug 27, 2010

Posted by in Featured, Reflections, Teacher's Corner | 3 Comments

Missing my Little Cara-tot

I would be lying if I said I don’t have class favorites.

Let me qualify that statement: I have kids who I feel more connected to compared to others, but this does not mean I don’t treat my kids equally. Some of them just have the uncanny ability of tugging at my heartstrings. To be fair, I keep my emotions in check when I work with the children in class, and I make sure to have my partner tell me if she feels I am paying too much attention to one over the other.

The thing is, as hard as I try not to get attached to some other kids, I can’t help but fall for some of them. Perhaps it’s because of a certain need they have, or a difficulty we worked through together, or simply because he or she is simply adorable and can make me laugh, whatever it is, some of them creep slowly into my heart and stay there for a long, long time.

Cara was one of those little kids who touched my heart and has stayed there despite the fact that she has been gone for the past two school years already.

I guess what made Cara so special to me was that she was in the first class I taught after returning from my two year retirement from preschool teaching and she was one of my biggest success stories ever! She transformed from a very clingy (yes, with matching cry, kick and may-I-throw-you-a-tantrum daily) little girl who refused to talk to anyone except her cousin Rafa and her nanny to a confident and sociable child in a few months. At first she would not allow me to hold her and would really cry if her yaya was asked to wait in the nanny area already.

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Aug 27, 2010

Posted by in Classroom Escapades, Featured, Lesson Plans, Outside the Classroom, Preschool | 0 Comments

When Nature Has Other Plans

Often times in a preschool teachers life she will find that no matter how well in advance she has planned her lessons, things happen that change the course of this discussion. In my personal experience, this has happened countless times, both for the good and the bad. Sometimes these changes are due to faulty equipment or at times due to a more pressing interest in another topic or stimuli, whatever it is, the teachers job is to adjust to these changes and not get caught up with the “plan”.

When I was starting out, I occasionally struggled with that. It took some time for me to really embrace the idea that no matter what I do or say, if the children are intent on something else, I better just go with it. And what I realized from this is by going with the children’s flow, I would find they learned better and they remembered these lessons even years later.

One example of these sudden changes was when I ran into Mother Nature as I taught my kids about animals and bugs. As part of our Math lesson, I had them go through an investigative bug hunt. The task was for them to look for the plastic bugs and pictures of animals I had hidden around the playground and to count the number of legs these bugs had, then we were to chart this and compare which had more or less . Armed with a magnifying glass and a record sheet, we set out in search for these little critters.

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Aug 23, 2010

Posted by in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Easy Cost-Cutting Measures for Day to Day

It is a sad fact that good quality learning materials are costly. While it is true that cheaper and more affordable alternatives are readily available, their quality is not always as good. For example, I was able to buy a relatively affordable pocket chart for my class, but compared to the more expensive one that I got a few years back, it broke more quickly than the old one. Another example is how the low-cost building blocks can really not compare to Duplo or Lego.

However, the question of expense should not compromise the quality of education we give our kids, or at least I would like to believe. I work hard at finding ways to give my best to the kids without having to spend too much. Unfortunately for me, the use of discount coupons and rebates, such as the Radio Shack coupons I was able to use years ago to get one of those V-tech computers, is not very popular where I live. As such, I have to rely on store sales all the time.

Nonetheless, there are many ways to cut costs on a daily basis. Here are a few of my ideas:

  1. Buy in bulk. Whether it is art supplies or printer ink, get them in the bigger bags since these are often waaaay cheaper. Plus there are often promos for these, such as the HP coupon codes that allow you to get small tokens, rebates and refunds.
  2. Utilize scraps! I use a whole bunch of these…from toilet paper rolls old boxes, these will definitely lessen the need to purchase new items.
  3. Scratch paper is your friend! I use these for drawings, practice sheets and the like.
  4. Make sure your light bulbs and the like are cost-efficient. Recently, we were able to change some of our bulbs to the “green” and “low energy” bulbs. Hopefully this will translate to savings soon. These bulbs are available in local hardwares. Sometimes there are even Home Depot coupons and discount vouchers that can lower the costs of these more expensive light bulbs to the regular ones which are generally cheaper.
  5. Be vigilant. For me, this is the best cost-cutting measure. Make sure you utilize materials and equipment at it’s best so that you can save in the long run. Keeping these in tip-top shape will make sure nothing goes to waste.

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Aug 22, 2010

Posted by in Featured, Reflections, Teacher's Corner | 0 Comments

When Students Grow Up

fellow bloggers with SM Winema Project Head, Sharon Yu…

yes…she used to be my student!

One of the most rewarding things for me as a teacher is seeing my kids grow up to become their own people. Over the years I have received updates from parents bubbling with pride over their child’s latest accomplishments and every time I get these messages, I feel a surge of pride rush in me. Even though I know a lot has happened since they were in my class, I can’t help but feel I am part of that growth and progress as well, even just a little bit.

In the past two years, my very first preschoolers have graduated from elementary school and are now in high school. It’s amazing how quickly time flies and in my head, I still think of them as the little kids I used to carry around!

My college kids have graduated too. I guess that’s even stranger for me than having the little ones grow up! For one, a guy from the very first class I taught in the university is now my colleague in the department. More than that, he’s a very accomplished researcher. I also have found myself “working” with former students in a totally different capacity now. Since I have gotten into this blogging thing, I have run in to two former students from an advertising/marketing class I once taught. The last time I saw one of them, we had a long talk about the movie Inception and about Psychology. And you know what, for some reason, I felt so tongue-tied and clueless all of a sudden!!!

In any case, seeing them grow up has truly been a testament to why I do this job :-)

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