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Jul 10, 2010

Posted by in Arts and Crafts, Teacher's Corner, The Library, Tips and Tricks | 2 Comments

My Concept Wall

It’s been over a month since classes started and I realized I still have not posted what my classroom concept wall looks like. With no further ado, here it is!
The caterpillar is actually a recycled one from my Toddlers days but I love it so much I decided to keep it, even if my students don’t really need it. For the calendar, I decided to up the ante by having the kids master the concepts of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

My favorite feature, however, is the reading train. My co-teacher painted that over the summer :-) There are a series of pockets which currently hold our various word lists. An alternative I was thinking of is tracking titles of books we read throughout the month. Fun idea, huh? :-)

Join in and jump aboard the reading train!

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Jul 10, 2010

Posted by in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Teacher’s Back Hurts :-(

While being a preschool teacher may be full of fun and excitement, it is not without any job hazards. For one, I have not had my toe nail grow back to normal after it has been trampled on, dropped upon and abused by my kids. Lately, however, I have been contending with one of the worst job hazards ever: lower back pain. I know there is a right way to bend and squat, and I guess I really haven’t been quite careful about it because now, my lower back is always soooooo painful. At times, even slight movements make me cringe. I think I need to see an acupuncturist or a therapist to help realign whatever and help ease the pain. Also, I KNOW losing weight will help a lot, and I can’t really dilly-dally around with that. Perhaps some apidexin supplements will help kick start the weight loss and ease the back pain. It really is crucial that I get this done ASAP! Perhaps, if I feel better physically, I may reconsider leaving preschool next school year.

job hazards I have learned to live with

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Jul 10, 2010

Posted by in Teacher's Corner | 0 Comments

Child-proofing and room safety

One of the most common accidents that happen in school is what we call in Tagalog “nakanto”, or when a child hits the corner of a shelf or a table. One way we address this in our school is by making sure the tables we get have rounded edges, but these are not really a dime a dozen, right? I was once able to buy those plastic office furniture kid safety pads (those plastic thingies that you slip to the corners of a table) but we lost two of them. Now, I can’t seem to find replacements :-( In the meantime, we placed cut-up sponges in the corners.

Another common classroom accident are fingers caught in the door :-( We were able to find a rubber foam stopper that helped eradicate this problem in school. It’s looks like a butterfly and it helps block the door from closing completely, so tiny fingers don’t get caught even though you close the door. Will post a picture of it soon!

The scariest room danger, however, are electrical outlets. It’s like no matter what you say, children seem to gravitate towards them. I’m glad we were finally able to find those socket blockers so now I feel much better about it. Before, what we could do would be to cover up the outlet itself by putting a shelf in front of it or hiding it behind posters and charts.

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Jul 9, 2010

Posted by in College | 0 Comments

Excuses, Schmexcuses.

There are a few excuses I hate to get from my students. For one, I hate it when they come to class late and offer up the lame reason “Miss, it was traffic, eh”. Some even have the audacity to say, “I come pa kasi from Alabang” (I still come from Alabang). I reply: so did I.

I also hate it when they forget to bring in their homework. What gets my goat is when they say “But Miss, my printer didn’t have ink” or “But Miss, the line in the internet shop outside was so long!” and to top it off “The computer shop cant open .docx files”. Um…hello?

What irks me most, however, is when the students seem to forget common sense. For example, I can’t get why students think that walking into an elevator at the same time those inside are trying to walk out. Isn’t it common sense?

The other day, I was consoling a friend as she was checking her students’ tests, many of which were extremely low. She was feeling low about it, especially since she knew she gave the kids adequate resources to do well in the test. She even pointed out that some items used rephrased terms that came from her lectures. That set off an endless barrage of comments between us, pointing out how sometimes, the students don’t think hard enough or even analyze what they are taking. It’s as if it’s all a game for them. That got me to talking about the lack of common sense or perhaps, the lack of care for common sense. My friend jokingly replied, that’s not a lack of common sense…kulang lang sa prenatal vitamins at gatas yan!  (It’s probably not a lack of common sense….maybe it’s a lack of prenatal vitamins and milk growing up, that’s why!)

To be fair, there are those who do well and care deeply for their grades, and do think before they act. I think one reason why students behave the way they do is because of the changes in the way life is nowadays. While we still live in a very social world, it’s more of an online social world that makes the dynamics of working with others quite different.

Sorry, World…you had to make it through a teacher rant!

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Jul 9, 2010

Posted by in Lesson Plans | 1 Comment

Where does food come from?

Cooking and food-related activities are sure hits when teaching kids. It can be a little tiring for teacher though, especially since you have to keep in mind the kids safety, as well as the fact that some kids have food allergies.

One activity I enjoy doing is a food sorting game. This can tackle a wide range of topics, depending on the level of difficulty. For example, the food sorting game can focus on shapes by having kids check out what’s in their lunch boxes and grouping them together like this:

For older kids, you can have them classify it by taste (i.e. sweet, salty, bitter, sour), type (go, grow, and glow) but the most fun I have experienced was when I asked them to identify where food comes from.

What I did was had the kids bring in some of their favorite food (some brought in the real thing, while others brought photos only).  On my table, I put a plastic pig, cow, chicken, and plant/tree. We then had a taste test-slash-learning activity. After sampling some of the food, we placed them in the appropriate column. The simple ones were the obvious ones: fried chicken, eggs, milk. Fruits and vegetables were easily associated with plants as well. Burgers, hotdogs, and barbeque was a little more difficult for them, but they were able to understand it quickly. What they had a hard time grasping was that rice, bread, nuts and even chocolate came from plants. I showed them pictures of wheat fields and explained that when the plant grew, it was harvested and milled so rice could be produced. I also showed them pictures of trees like the cashew tree and other flowering plants where nuts and cacao seeds would come from.

cashew tree in Coron, Palawan

cacao tree in Bali (Photo: “cacao fruits” by Dennis Tang, c/o Flickr. Some Rights Reserved). Cacao trees grow in different parts of the world, the largest of which is in northwestern South America. Africa and South East Asia, including the Philippines, also produce a large number of cacao plants. The irvingia gabonesis, an African tree, is an example of where chocolates come from.

The activity was not just an eye-opener for the kids, but it was also a laugh fest for us all. Some of my favorite comments during the activity:

Teacher: Where do hotdogs come from?    Kids: Doggies teacher!

Teacher: Where does bacon come from?   Kids: The freezer!

My all time favorite:

Teacher: Where does a burger come from? Kids: (in unison) Jollibee!!!!

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Jul 8, 2010

Posted by in Advocacies, Lesson Plans | 0 Comments

Dangers over the counter

I am a self-confessed over-the-counter junkie. I am the type of person who would pop a pill at the first sign of a cold or to treat even small aches and pains. However, now that I am getting older, I can’t help but think about what this does to my body. While the relief is almost instantaneous, it can have long term consequences that may affect my future. This is why it scares me that so many over-the-counter medications are being abused nowadays. From oral antibiotics to analgesics, even weight loss pills and supposed natural/herbal supplements, these pills are being passed around like it’s candy. It doesn’t help that many of the celebrities around have made taking these pills cool and interesting.

I think one way we teachers can help address this problem is by including topics like prescription drug use and abuse in our health classes. Although I may not be able to do this for my preschoolers, I sure can address this in my college classroom. A good venue, for example, is in my abnormal psychology classes where I talk about eating disorders and addictions. I don’t have a set lesson plan in mind yet, but I think it would be a good addition to the lesson. Any suggestions?

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Jul 8, 2010

Posted by in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Let’s Talk about the Birds and the Bees…and everything in between

One of the biggest controversies surrounding this coming school year is the inclusion of sex education in the school curriculum. When I listen to the news reports, especially when they just feature sound bytes about the issue, I can’t help but feel that people may not be looking at the entire issue clearly.

I think people automatically associate the act with the words sex education. I also get the feel that people assume that just because it is being talked about, it is automatically encouraged. I would disagree.  Talking about the birds and the bees can a good way for adolescents to become more aware and educated, thus helping them make informed choices. I think it is essential, especially given our highly technological world now where information is really just a mouse click away. Rather than inadvertently discovering the fallacies of these online, the facts are much better, IMHO. Also, by being matter-of-fact about issues like what genitals are called and how the reproductive system works can help clarify issues, thus lessen the urge for experimentation, especially since making it “matter-of-fact” makes it less mysterious.

I also think talking about “acceptable” and “unacceptable” touches (which is partly talking about s-e-x) can also be.

When it comes to preschoolers, I tend to agree that sex ed can be a touchy issue. I’m quite grateful, to some extent, that questions like “where do I come from” don’t often come up with my kids but I have had this happen a few times in the past. Personally (and hypothetically, should I say, especially since I am not a mommy  yet :-) ) I would like to think that I would be okay with talking about the fact that babies come from mommies and daddies, and not dropped down a chimney by Santa or the stork. How it gets there, well…I guess I don’t know how to explain that!  I do think though that using clinical or scientific names for body parts rather than sugar coating it to sound

There are a host of children’s books, however, that do talk about how babies are made, and I suggest that parents check it out should they feel their kids are curious about it.  I’ve heard that books like Mummy Laid an Egg and Where Willie Went  are interesting and entertaining ways to discuss the subject. Some parents feel these books were a little too much though, and in some libraries or schools, I think they’re banned, but for home use, it may be a good resource. That depends, of course, on your level of comfort with the subject. I was able to find a slideshow of Where Willie Went online so if you wanna check it out, just Google it :-)

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Jul 8, 2010

Posted by in Arts and Crafts, Classroom Escapades, Lesson Plans, Teaching Resources | 2 Comments

What’s Inside My Body?

Today was a super fun day with the Seniors of Playschool! Thanks to a friend of mine who suggested making one of those cut-out standees, I was able to make learning about the body a more enjoyable and meaningful experience for my preschoolers.

Because my students are Seniors, and especially since most of them were from my class last school year as Juniors, we have progressed from naming the visible parts of our body to the internal parts.We also talked about what it does for the body. For example, we talked about what happens to food when it goes to the tummy and how our body gets rid of excess waste. As a follow up, we will be reading Taro Gami’s book “Everybody Poops”.

So today I tried my best to make a replica of a human body. Pardon me if the dimensions and locations are not 100% accurate, but I used one of the school books to guide me :-)

After creating the model, we took photos with our standee :-)

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Jul 6, 2010

Posted by in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

The Culprit!

Not so long ago, I was shopping in a local mall and I was flabbergasted when I walked out of a store and the alarm went off! Talk about embarrassing!!! I quickly looked up to her with a look of shock that must have been so funny that she just smiled warmly and pointed to the package I was holding. It was a bag of new books from the neighboring bookstore. She asked to borrow it and passed the bag through the alarm sensors and lo and behold, it rang again. Apparently, a common culprit for false alarms are those tags for barcode scanners in books, particularly the imported  hardbound ones that have those inserted alarm tags.Talk about relief!

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Jul 4, 2010

Posted by in Advocacies | 3 Comments

For the Lefties! Lapid refiles bill for left-handed Filipinos

A few days ago, I came across a post in Facebook laughing about a bill filed by the re-elected senator, Lito Lapid. The bill aimed to protect the welfare of left-handed Filipinos. Senate Bill No. 31, entitled the “Comprehensive Handedness Act of 2010″ may seem like a trivial bill for most people, hence the sense of ridicule it brought about. The response of some is that it is a useless bill filed by someone who knows nothing about politics. Granted Lito Lapid, more known as an actor rather than his political prowess, may not be in the same league with most of his contemporaries, but his resolution is not as laughable as what people make it out to be.

Being a Lefty myself, I have found myself put on the spot for my handedness.

When I was in college, I was once accused of cheating during an examination because I had to sit sideways because of the way the school armchair was designed. Back then, most chairs were those small wooded chairs with an extended area for the desk on the right hand side. For lefties like me, it was impossible to write without sitting sideways. Even during my college entrance exam I was reprimanded by a proctor for sitting the way I did, to which I retorted, “Give me a left-handed desk and I will sit-up straight”.

See…to those who think this bill is stupid, as a lefty who has had to deal with making adjustments because of my handedness, let me tell you it’s not.

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