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Dec 18, 2010

Posted by in Classroom Escapades, Lesson Plans, Preschool, Teaching Resources | 0 Comments

Stop, Look and Listen!

A few weeks ago, we were discussing transportation in our classes. The kids had a blast pretending to be traffic enforcers and learning all about stop lights. We made them little cardboard signs that we used to signal the drivers and they had so much fun doing that!

Other things we did (or can do for that matter) in discussing this topic includes:

  • For the older kids, we made a stop light as an indicator of their “warnings” in class. Beside each color (red, yellow, green) is a little pocket where I put in their names if they are misbehaving in class.
  • Cut and pasting art activity where the kids get to make their own stoplights
  • In the juniors they did a “read” and color activity
  • Car wash day!
  • Invite resource speakers like a police officer or a roadside assistance club worker who can show them how to set up an early hazard device and talk about how to be safe on the road

Any other ideas?

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Oct 31, 2010

Posted by in Arts and Crafts, Classroom Escapades, Lesson Plans, Outside the Classroom, Preschool, Teacher's Corner, Tips and Tricks, Toys and Playthings | 0 Comments

The Alphabet Project

...taking reading out of just books...l

Contrary to what would be assumed, given that I am a teacher who teaches preschoolers after all, learning to read did not come easy for me. For those who have been reading my blog for quite some time now, you probably are familiar with the fact that I was diagnosed with a mild form of dyslexia as a child.  Yes, early on, I couldn’t read. Lucky for me, I had a teacher who noticed the red flags very, very early on and thus I was able to receive interventions very early on.

Back then, I couldn’t learn my letters very well, much less put them together to form words. As I understand (this is based on stories told to me by my mom and people around me, because I don’t really remember first hand anymore what it was like in the beginning), I would write my letters in mirror image and I couldn’t identify them properly. As I grew up, I loved reading but in hindsight, I realize I never was really good at it. I tended to skip words and make them up as I’d go along. It helped, however, that I had a good grasp of the English language and I enjoyed playing word games that allowed me to make up the right words as I went along.

Speaking of word games, this was really how I learned to read. In many ways, I would have to say I was really lucky that my mom is not a very traditional mom, so she really went out of her way to find ways to make learning more interesting and fun for someone like me. One way she taught me the alphabet was through the use of shells and corals in the beaches we often would frequent when I was a child. It helped a lot, I would like to say, because looking for these letters allowed me to work on my perceptual reasoning skills and helped me be able to see how letters really look like. To this day, whenever I am in a beach, I go and collect these shells to spell out stuff, just like these:

So today, I was inspired to start a new project. I want to take my alphabet project outside of just the beach and be able to find letters all around me and take photos of them. Here are a few examples:

Let’s see what I can find! Do feel free to take photos and send them to me via my Facebook Page so I can add them up :)

To keep tabs on the project, please check out my Alphabet Project Flickr Set :-)

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Oct 5, 2010

Posted by in Featured, Reflections, Teacher's Corner | 2 Comments

I Teach Because They Taught Me Well

Happy World Teachers Day!

Every now and then, I still find myself questioning why and how I happened to fall into teaching. I still haven’t figured out the answer to that, but every time I find myself questioning just that, I am reminded that whatever the reason may be, I am just so lucky to have been given the opportunity to be among the ranks of those who are called ‘teacher’, and while I may be (and perhaps always will be) an Accidental Teacher, I am grateful that I am able to heed the call to do what it is I do.

Today I’d like to take pause and honor all the teachers that have paved the way for my own path, because in my heart of hearts, I know I wouldn’t be here if not for what I’ve gained through them.

Perhaps the teacher I owe most of who I am today is Teacher Chona. It was she who recognized early warning signs of dyslexia in me and went through great lengths to help me overcome that looming learning disability. While it may come to hinder me every now and then, I believe that her support and insights as early as then made learning, and yes, even excelling, a possibility for me.

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Oct 2, 2010

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

Little Changes, Big Impact

In the last few months, I have been working on making little changes in my behavior that I would like to believe will make a big impact on my profession as a teacher. For a long time (perhaps because I have gotten so used to the daily grind of teaching), I take some things for granted and become too lax in planning ahead, mainly because I am able to rely on my past preparations and experiences anyway. However, I realized that I can do so much better if I just made little changes along the way. What changes might this be, one may wonder. Well, for one, I have made it a point to be more careful about the way I manage my time. I try to make it a point to be in class a few minutes before I’m supposed to so that I don’t have to feel rushed and all sweaty when I come in because I have enough time to do that beforehand. Secondly, I consciously make an effort to check attendance and recognize those who exert extra effort to get to know me (and allow me to get to know them better) by their names. Because I often have almost 120 students a trimester at the minimum, I find it almost impossible to memorize names, but now I am really trying. I think it makes an impact on the students as well. Lastly, I am working hard at no longer cramming and being lax about my students’ grades. I still have to work on a better document management system though, mainly because I tend to get too lazy to segregate my students’ work per class every meeting. I tend to just put them together in one pile, which often ends up with all of them getting mixed together. I think by being more cautious about this, grading will be easier. Also, this will definitely allow me to manage my time (whatever little time I have for this task!) better. These little steps will definitely make a big impact down the line. What about you, any other suggestions? Feel free to drop me a line :-)

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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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