It’s been a while since I posted something about preschool, but since I got asked the question, I guess it’s a good time to answer it First of all, let me share why giving children fine motor skills activities is important. Well, here’s something to think about: Imagine writing your name with your non-dominant hand, it’s hard, right? Why is it difficult? Simple: the skill is underdeveloped. Coordination is difficult as well.
Developing fine motor skills, in tandem with hand-eye coordination, is essential in basic academic tasks and in many of our life skills as well. Writing,for example, begins with well developed fine motor skills. Sadly, nowadays children are forced to develop penmanship skills even before they are ready.
Working on fine motor abilities, such as hand/finger dexterity, flexibility in the wrist, and small and controlled movements will help them achieve academic competencies with more ease and less discomfort. Plus it tends to be more developmentally appropriate.
Activities that can help include:
1. Paper Tearing – give them sheets of colored paper (or even scratch paper or old magazines) and work on tearing them into small pieces. At first, you will observe that they will grasp with all fingers coming into a fist. Over time, they will learn to use the fingers with more flexibility and control.
2. Play dough – allow them to work through the dough and watch how they manipulate it to shapes. Eventually they will learn to roll, mold, shape and piece together, other than pound and throw only
3. Barrel Beads – this is best type of bead to begin with because they’re large enough to hold and with large holes to shoot string through. Not recommended for very young children though, more for the older groups. Over time, they can graduate to decorative beads. Maybe some of them might even discover paper beads or jewelry beads. Who knows, maybe someday one of them will end up being a jewelry designer for and you can order their pieces online, such as from JoyJewelers.com or even Instagram of Facebook!
4. Finger paints – the use of finger paints give them more of a hands-on (literally) experience rather than just paintbrushes. Nonetheless, paintbrushes are also awesome.
5. Lacing/Sewing cards – these are great tools to teach wrist flexibility and concentration.
There are many other activities that can help, but I guess this is good for now Please do drop me a line for suggestions or other questions!Read More
Yesterday was grade consultation day and for the first time ever, I had more than 3 students come to me for consultation. The funny thing is for most of them, it wasn’t about their performance in their class that they came to talk to me about, but about other things they were feeling and going through. Some of them were struggling in their courses (and mind you, not in my subject!) and so they were asking what they should do next. They were feeling conflicted about whether they should stay in their current programs or whether they should shift to another. I told them I did not have an answer for them, and that only they can make that decision, but that they really have to think about a few things before making a choice. First off, what are they interested in? What are their strengths and weaknesses? After that I said they have to take into consideration their resources. Lastly, I asked them to think about what they want and what is holding them back from achieving this.Read More
This term I learned one important thing about myself as a teacher…I often am guilty of stereotyping
What I mean by this is that whenever I teach a class, I base my activities, behaviors, attitudes, and the like all too much on my preconceived notions of the group I am handling. I guess on one hand, there is some value to this practice, because it allows me to tap into the strengths and interests of the group. For example, when I handle business sections, I try to teach of social entrepreneurship and the like. So when I teach about ethics, I used the business setting as the base of my lecture. Makes sense, right?
However, there is also a danger to this. Because of preconceived notions, I may miss out on giving them opportunities that go beyond those ideas. Also, it leaves me defensive because I feel like I cannot connect with the students who like things I don’t understand or have a different wavelength. For example, I have no idea what cree xm-l LED’s are but I have students who talk about that and other electronics like it was nothing. As such, I cannot connect.
This term, I had to overcome that again. And because I did not hesitate to say I didn’t know what they meant, I was able to learn more and in the same way, I realized that they are also interested in other things outside of what I think they do. Lesson learnedRead More
It’s that time of the year again: Summer Vacation! Three full months of freedom: no waking up early, no teachers, no homework and all fun, fun, fuuuun! However, this does not mean that kids have nothing to do all summer. In fact, my mommy friends say that summertime is actually just as busy (if not even more!) than the school year. What with the many different activities their kids are enrolled in.
As a teacher, what I suggest is that kids get to participate in activities that are less academic based. While I have nothing against taking advanced lessons, doing programs like Kumon or Enopi, and other school-like activities, I feel it would be nicer if the kids be given a chance to explore other areas of interest. Here are some things I can think of:
1. Sports. Enrolling kids in sports programs are excellent ways to improve their social skills and build self-esteem. They also learn sportsmanship and discipline. Plus its a good way to expend excess energies. Team sports are best, but activities like swimming, kids yoga and the like are also highly recommended.
2. Art and Music. These programs will allow the kids to tap into their creative sides. They can also learn how to be more imaginative, to experiment, and to tap into their hidden potential. Since Mother’s Day comes during the summer, perhaps a project they can explore is putting on a show for mom or perhaps making beaded mother day rings to give to them. This can teach them the concepts of sharing and generosity, as well as patience and perseverance.
3. Writing and Literature. Although these may seem a little “school-like”, allowing them to take creative writing courses can help them build their writing skills both in terms of technical writing (how to write good essays) and creative expression.
There are many other things kids can do over the summer. Hopefully they don’t spend majority of their days watching tv and just doing nothing. Happy Summer everyone!Read More
There is no other word I can think of for this post but that. I am flabbergasted. Earlier today I gave my students an exam and I got asked the most jaw-dropping question…
In the essay part of the exam, I got asked not once, not twice, but a total of four times if they could answer it in bullet points. Um….how does one answer that??? Diplomatically, I mean? I guess my students are just used to me being so flexible but I felt quite disappointed with such questions, mainly because I thought the instruction was clear enough. Oh well.
Oh, I did regain my composure and answered them with a “Welll, if you think bullet points equals an essay, go ahead”.
Sigh…the non-joys of teaching.Read More
If there is one thing I wish I had the chance to do when I was younger, it was to have had the opportunity to become an exchange student…in Paris preferably. My eldest cousin was able to join a foreign exchange program at one point during his high school education and he was able to spend a year in a school in the United States and it was not just a fun opportunity, it really opened up a lot of doors for him. Obviously I never got to do it, but if I could, I really would have Although I would have wanted to do an exchange program to be immersed in a different culture in a school setting, other foreign exchange programs can either focus on touring/cultural exposure or on community service.
If I were a parent of a teenager, I would definitely encourage my son or daughter to try join one of those summer volunteer programs offered by various institutions and organizations. Some church groups, for example, even do teen summer community service activities which allows participants to truly engage in volunteer work. Not only do these programs allow let a teen volunteer abroad, this also allows the participant to explore his or her leadership abilities, as well as maximize their potentials.
Exchange programs, whether local or abroad, are definitely something worth investing in. Whether it is academic based, sports oriented or for socio-civic causes, the learning a teenager gets from this is truly priceless. This is really what learning is actually all about, in my opinion. It’s going beyond theory, it’s not just practice, but it’s actually living and breathing through what it is you try to learn, all done outside the four walls of a classroom.
This coming school year is bound to be a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. I can feel it already. But like any roller coaster ride (being someone who loves these kinds of rides, that is) there is that feeling of excitement and anticipation, and a bit of dread, in the pit of my stomach. At the end of the day, however, I know that this ride is going to be a good one. Like the roller coaster, there are more exciting parts, some that you kinda fear (like the sudden dips and in my case, the hanging upside down), and the feeling of comfort and accomplishment at the end of the ride.
This year I am facing a new challenge. One that I never thought I would. This would entail me doing the one thing I’ve always hated the most: research. While I have always hated it, deep down inside I know that I have the ability to do it and to think along the scholarly, intellectual lines that I keep running away from. Sure I don’t expect it to be fun, but in the end, I suppose I can say it was a great ride. I’m lucky too that going on this ride seems to not be sooo very difficult because of the support and encouragement I am receiving from people around me. I don’t even have to get a loan or to check city payday advances or what not…after all, tuition can be so expensive, right?
And so because of that, I have to make some changes in the way I handle my time and my classes in order to really get things done.
So this term I aim to:
- give more relevant examinations that measure and assess learning without necessarily resorting to too many essays.
- avoid putting off checking papers and grading them so they don’t pile up
- work on more efficient time management
- stop cramming!!!
- oh…and on another note, I really wish I can really work on getting to memorize my students names quicker!!!
Keep your fingers crossed for me, ayt?
Because I have given up my preschool job, I have had so much time to do nothing. Literally. Well, yeah, I was supposed to do a lot of work over the month and or so that classes in college had let out, but I think I really needed the break and so it was good that I was able to take a long enough hiatus from the daily grind.
Now, however, its back to school. And I realized….I SOOO MISS THE DAY TO DAY OF PRESCHOOL!! Haha…during the summer we usually decorate our classrooms and stuff, and I didn’t get that done this year so when I was asked to help decorate the psychology departments bulletin board, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I tried my best to keep it “grown-up” and scholarly but…I guess there’s no way to get rid of the bright and shiny preschool teacher in me. My partner in crime in this task also happened to be a former preschool teacher so I guess we can’t do anything about the bright sunshiney preschooley vibe we went with. MWAHAHA. To be fair, it does add a little life to the seriousness of the room Lookit…it’s sooo cute
It isn’t done yet, but it’s still cute! Will post the updated version next week when I finish it. GAAAWD I MISS PRESCHOOL.Read More
The time has come once again for me to bid farewell to another group of students and classes that I have grown to know and love. It’s funny but this school year has, by far, been the most life changing one for me in so many ways and in so many facets of my life.
On a professional level, I have finally found a good balance between distance and closeness to my students, and I have the kids to thank for that. They have allowed me to see a side of me that I have tried hard not to get to know. As I posted on my “Teacher Ria” facebook page, these past few months have made me realize that there’s so much to teacher ria then i have allowed myself to know and that there is a whole wider world out there for me to learn from, if only i let it happen On a personal level, because I have embraced that openness and allowing-ness, I have become a much better person, I’d like to think.
As I end the term, I am exceptionally grateful for the students in both my developmental and clinical psychology classes for allowing me to learn from them as I tried to teach them more than just psychology, but about life in general.
To my Devpsyc students, thank you for the sweetest note ever I am glad you got to enjoy our “child-like” activities from time to time. Thank you too for always having such a lively discussion with me. It still makes me laugh when I remember how our classroom discussions would often go all sorts of directions because you guys were always so open to giving your ideas, opinions and all. You also made me think a lot. It has definitely been one of the most enjoyable developmental psychology classes EVER.
From your essays, I take with me very important lessons. Yes, I know I give too many essays and just yesterday, two of you were teasing me about how I loooooove reading essays and my answer to you was: reading essays? toink. no. learning from my kids, yes
This term I had so many great essays to read, and while there were those that made me want to pull my hair out, there were some that simply took my breath away and made me say, wow. These are but a few very important life lessons I will take with me from what I’ve learned from you. And if I helped you learn this, then I am blessed.
- “this realization has taught me to live in the present and not worry about the mistakes I’ve done in the past because there’s no use stressing over something that cannot be undone. Instead, I should learn from [these] mistakes and make sure not to repeat it; and not to over think the future because it will eventually come, there’s no use planning every single detail of tomorrow when many uncontrollable things can always get in the way”
- “[Life] is like playing Tetris where you have to find out how to win every level to be able to go on to the next; every one of them a different challenge”
- “I learned that throughout our life span, we develop because it is our nature to develop…to adapt to our surroundings and to try to survive the world. [As we pass through different stages] we arrive at the pit-stops of our lives. [Conflicts that exist] may possibly shake or weaken us, [but] we must learn to surpass them in order to…move on to the next stage”
- “They say that the most valuable lessons are not learned in school. Well, I beg to differ. The things you learn in school are just as valuable as the outside”
- “[Life can be difficult] but I always put in mind that there are no challenges that are meant not to be surpassed because that is the way it is [and that] is what life is all about: learning to breathe and take a step forward”
- “All in all an equally significant ideology I have grasped from this term in developmental psychology is the acceptance that change is the only permanent thing we have. No matter how much you want certain things to be preserved and remain the same, we must not struggle to hold on to them when the right time has come. All these things we must shed are part of growing up and are a part of life. Overstaying the welcome of things will hurt no one but the one who persists on keeping it and at times the object itself. This is how the world works whether we like it or not. But this does not mean we don’t have a hand in how these changes are made; in fact, I believe the most important changes are based on our decisions. I t is how we react to such things that truly define, shape and develop who we are”
And yes, this made reading all your essays oh-so-worth it. There were so many other brilliantly written ones but I will stop with these
And to my dear CLINPSY students…THANK YOU. I tried to teach you the skills and characteristics needed by a therapist/clinician, and though many of you said in our final class that you realized it isn’t for you, I would beg to disagree. In your own little ways, you all (okay, most of you haha), have the potential to be good therapists. Believe me when I say you guys have given me soooo much healing and insight after an exceedingly difficult second term. Being with you guys allowed me to, once more, love what I do and for that, I will always be grateful.
To be honest, I’ve always made it a point not to have classes on my birthday (which this term’s last day of class ended with!), but for some reason, I just wanted to be with you guys on that day. And yes, it made my day extra special
I will miss you guys oh so very, very much
Here’s to a new school year ahead!
As I was making my final exam for the developmental psychology class I am teaching this trimester, I was suddenly reminded of the movie Higher Learning. It’s been quite a long time since that film was released, but it dawned on me that the movie was still relevant to many of the concepts I was teaching.
The story revolved around three college freshmen who realized that going to school was more than just a quest to getting their college degrees, rather, it is really a stop in one’s life journey. The learned that the important lessons in life were not just taken from within the four walls of the classroom but that it really went beyond that.
In my class, we did talk about the changing dynamics of education, especially in the past few years. As an educator, I have seen an influx of very, very young students in masters programs in various universities. In fact, some of my old students ask me to fill up endorsement forms and letters of recommendation for graduate school immediately after they graduate. This lead us to questioning how these decisions influence later life choices and developmental needs and goals. Suffice it to say, these class discussions have really given me a new perspective on the way my students think and how different things are from the time of the movie I mentioned earlier. While there may be differences, however, I think the core components of this life stage still remain: this is the period where adolescents and young adults really search for their identity and step on a path that leads them to their future.Read More
It’s been almost a week since I hung up the Teacher Ria hat that I wore for almost twelve years. It was so bittersweet to close the door on a career that I had (and continue to, in fact) loved very much. For all intents and purposes, being a preschool teacher was really what allowed me to feel most free, deeply loved and full of joy. To this day I question if it was the right decision, but I believe deep down inside that despite the fear and uncertainty, there is a whole new world of learning, living and loving for me to explore.
It was so timely, I should say, that I was invited to Hallmark/All About Scrapbooking Scrap and Tell Blogger event last Sunday at the Filstar head office in Pasig. It was the perfect ending to my preschool teaching life.
To be honest, I tried to get out of going to the event because I was feeling very nostalgic and sentimental (sige na nga, sad na rin) about having had to say goodbye to being Teacher Ria and I just wanted to spend the day in my room moping and grieving this loss (yes, I think it’s still important to honor that, right?). However, my friend Jeman convinced me —errr coerced should I say! haha — me to come and so I did. Armed with several photos of my days as Teacher Ria, I headed off to the event.
Before the event, the days hosts gave us a brief introduction to what scrapbooking is, and explained the different techniques and procedures involved in the craft. They also showed us all the equipment available for the art of scrapbooking, and although this was nothing new to me, I couldn’t help but still be amazed at how much I still didn’t know about it!
After the demonstration and discussion, we were given our own kits to create our own keepsakes
Like I said, I thought I already knew how to scrapbook well enough, especially since this is something we often do in the preschool. I learned, however, that I can do so much more, such as how to create more nostalgic effects by rubbing sand paper on the colored sheets of paper to make it look old and frayed. An interesting bit of trivia I learned from the event was when you tear paper towards you, it gives you that “torn” texture to the page that is left behind but if you tear it away from you, it comes out more smooth and does not leave marks on it. Never knew that before!!! Haha.
Suffice it to say the event shoo-d away my sadness about leaving my job and left me with a happier sense of reminiscing the twelve years I spent with so many children, all of whom taught me the essentials in life. I think this says it all:
Scrapbooking with Hallmark’s All about Scrapbooking line sure makes the craft so much easier. When I was first doing this for my students portfolios in the past, I had to cut out shapes individually, color them one by one and I wouldn’t have very nice materials for it. Now, it’s so much easier! The kits range from about Php 150-200 and the albums about Php 225. The stickers and accessories range from about Php 25-100, depending on the style, size and material. In my opinion,that’s quite affordable!
Although it may not be appropriate for very young children, kids of about age 7 and up can enjoy scrapbooking with mommies and daddies any time. This will be a fun way for them to create their own memories, not just with the photos they see but also with the journey they take while making these scrapbooks.
For me, that Sunday afternoon was well worth it, even though I got lost trying to find the venue! It made me cherish my time as Teacher Ria a little bit more and it gave me that sweet goodbye as I walk away from the preschool into the bigger world out there, knowing that anytime, I can take out that Scrap and Tell project I made and recall those days with fondness.
nicey, right? drop by All About Scrapbooking’s Facebook Page and Like my project!!!Read More
Last Thursday I had a great laugh courtesy of my crazy Clinpsy students.
Lemme put it in context: a few weeks ago in class, I was dressed in this bright red dress and one of my students randomly made a comment about her red pair of Keds that were too big for her and asked if I would be interested in buying it from her. One of her classmates suddenly quipped: Miss, you know pa ba what Keds are?? TOIIINK!!!!
Anyway, her point was that she had never seen me wearing anything but stilettos (or wedges at the very least) and so it seemed implausible for me to actually ever wear flats.
Well, in some ways it’s true because since around July of last year I had stopped wearing flats. If ever I did, it would be flip flops but for the most part, it was always heels. So when my friend told me to wear flats or rubber shoes when we went to the 16th Hot Air Balloon Fest a few weeks ago, I had to dig out my old Crocs. While we were in Clark, I decided to stop and take a photo of my feet since it had been way too long since I had last worn flats. While I was doing so, my friend snapped a shot of me too:
And so when she posted this on Facebook, I had to show my kooky students that indeed, I do wear flats too. Haha. Of course I had to invade some other walls to do that because I absolutely refuse to add students to my own account haha….too much drama I swear.
Anyway, after I did, I kinda regretted it a bit, because I realized I would never live it down, but well, it’s too late now.
And so when I went to class last Thursday I was greeted by that statement:
Oh my gaaaawd she’s human after all. Haha.
Funny, funny things that happen in class I tell ya.
Earlier this month we were discussing plants in our class. In order to supplement the discussion, I decided to have the kids do an experiment. I had them bring several different kinds of seeds and then we went on to do our scientific inquiry.
Here’s what we did:
We started out with an inquiry (a.k.a. creating a hypothesis) in which the children were asked what they think will happen to the seeds if put in a pot with soil and given water and sunshine. To do this I had them chart it on a Manila paper. In this part I had them draw the pots and seeds (although our pots didn’t look like real pots, they were just like dark circles in the middle of the paper with little dots for seeds haha).
Then we did some observations on the seed, the soil and all other materials we used. I asked them to take note of the similarities and differences of the seeds, such as size, color and shape. Some of them even smelled the seeds (which almost gave me a heart attack because they’re so tiny, right???) and one even attempted to taste it. Thank God I saw it on time haha.
After this, we listed the procedures of the experiment (such as put soil in the pot, drop the seeds, etc.) and then actually carried out the procedure.
Of course after carrying out the experiment, we got ready to record our observations and what happens in the experiment
So…after two weeks, the kids found out that:
Teacher shouldn’t plan activities right before we go on a break. Haha. Yes…I had forgotten that the whole week of Feb. 14-18 was not a regular school week because of Paranaque Day, our school field trip, and parent-teacher conferences. Haha.
Seriously though, they did get a chance to see the plants growRead More
The kids had so much fun in the vast open spaces of the farm. Bad teacher wasn’t paying attention to the tour guide so I cannot, for the life of me, remember how many hectares the farm is haha, but it took us about 45 minutes to tour the different areas in the venue. From the animal farm to the plants and vegetables, a butterfly sanctuary and a bee center, the different stops we took allowed the kids to see nature at its best.Read More
In class today we were playing one of those games where you throw out a question and the students answer whatever comes to mind.
Yes, I joined in and got toinked.
Question: If you were transported to cartoonland and can take on the personality of a cartoon character, who would it be.
My answer: Rainbow Brite.
Students: Rainbow who?
A couple of months ago, during our discussion about health and safety, we lucky enough to get our local fire department send over some firemen to share with the kids some fire safety measures and procedures. The kids loved the fact that they got to ride in the fire truck, “shoot” the fire hose, and some even got to put on the fireman’s uniform, complete with those giant boots or overshoes. Sadly, though, it was a rainy day when the firemen came to visit so they didn’t get to fully enjoy their ride on the truck.
It was quite easy enough to get our local barangay to send the firemen over to the school. We just made some simple requests and it was quickly granted. Part of the Fire Safety Program included teaching the kids about “stop, drop and roll” as well interactive exercises about what to do during an emergency.
I strongly recommend that all preschools devote a day to this. After all, we do all sorts of fire drills and the like in elementary and high school, right? Preschoolers need to know this just as much!Read More