Thursday, January 26, 2017

My Guilty Confession as a Teacher

So while I have been home on maternity, I am not going to lie and say I haven't thought about my job. 

As a matter of fact, it's actually gave me some pretty good "Pinteresting Time" 

When you have a baby that's not content...unless  he is held, & your 3-year old wants to snuggle on you, let's just say...I've gotten some good "recliner cuddle time" & done a little pinteresting on my phone while they sleep & watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse!!! 

Back to my I have ALWAYS been jealous of elementary teachers because of the "details"...Their fun activities, their AWESOME classrooms, their limited number of students, but the one thing I am jealous of is the "diversity" and "variety" in one school day! 

They have "around" 25 kiddos and with those kids...they do math, art, music, science, reading, etc. (sigh) 

I wish as a (high school) teacher sometimes I could "branch" out & yes, do some of the awesome activities that elementary kids get to do while relating to my own subject area. 

I was actually having this conversation with a friend/colleague. We discussed what would our kids do if we treated them like elementary kids with respect to the diversity & activities? 

We came to one conclusion...they would probably LOVE it! 

I don't get elementary school...the engagement is high, it's hands on, it's so diversified! 

Then you get to high school and it is desks in rows, note-taking and tests. Where did the fun go? 
Where did the excitement for learning? Did anybody else LOVE elementary school? I know I did, and I rocked it! 

I was the best alphabet finger painter around! I know elementary education is WAY more than this, just a little fun pun :) 

But back to topic: so if you're reading this blog are "probably" a world language teacher and if not, you're awesome for checking it out. (You're awesome no matter what you teach or don't teach, by the way)! 

Think about language teachers, if we were to take our language content level into consideration...we are "kind of" teaching elementary school, right? So shouldn't we be able to do some of the awesome, diversified activities that elementary does? 

(Sigh again)...So here is my dream, you ready............... 

I wish that everyday when students entered my classroom, they had variety at their fingertips in 70 minutes. 

I want my classroom to represent "different" areas of learning: listening practice, speaking practice, culture, grammar & mechanics, writing fun, and reading experiences, etc. 

I want them to have a known routine so when they enter, they dive in quickly in 70 minutes. 

I want them to have every minute used for authentic & meaningful hands-on activities. 

I want to teach using props, using conversations, using each other! 

I want color, I want pictures, I want technology, I want resources! 

I want laughter, I want silliness, I want time to pass quickly, not because I'm bored or they are, but because we are involved, engaged, and having fun & lost track of time! 

Anybody else getting excited reading this?! No, just me?! LOL 

Anyways, why can't we make small changes to add this type of learning into our HIGH SCHOOL classes?! 

We can have this TOO! Is it harder for us? Ab-so-freaking-lutely! 

Does it involve switching up the whole "high-school traditional style learning"? Yep, and it's a step-by-step process. It can't be done in a day, week, or even a whole school-year. 

But we can make steps to bring back that engagement & that "love" of learning! 

One thing that gets me inspired is sometimes to "look" at elementary classroom pictures, their activities, and their schedule of how they do things! I instantly try to "convert" it into something that would work for my own classroom. 

Let me clarify one thing: I DO NOT want to be an elementary school teacher. I know it sounds like it...but no, I promise! I love my high-schoolers and my content! It's just...I want that "spirit"!!! 

Below you will find some of my inspiration & ideas. Check out pics of these lovely classrooms that "represent" diversified areas of learning & some activities that can be converted to high school. 

Task Drawers Using Hands-On Props

You could have directions/tasks in target language that challenges students to follow directions using the items?

Adjective Door 

This could be used to have all kinds of target language adjectives. Think of all the possibilities/tasks you could do with this door/area alone?!?! Also, the students could be the ones who make it...that is a great station activity! 

Brain Break Cards 
I can think of so many possibilities...Spanglish task cards, finish early tasks, whole class Spanish language brain breaks, vocabulary run-though brain breaks, ahhh, the possibilities are out there people!!! 

Today's Word or Phrase
Instead of today's "number" could be today's word or phrase. Use it with a friend, build a conversation, create a scene in writing or act out (and video record) many cool activities! This could be one of "many" variety options for a bell-ringers or station activities. 

Telling Time - Target Language Phrases

You could TOTALLY take this activity and just convert it to target language "Son las dos y veinte"(that means 2:20 in Spanish) & match with the egg-clock! Awesome hands-on activity! 

Writing Idea...

Think of all the "scenarios" you could do with writing practice. "Everyday I....(create sentences)"..."On the weekends I...(Create sentences), so many neat things to write about. 

Read & Sort
Read and could do the different tenses "Present, Past, Future, etc." or lower level ideas: Sports, Family Members, Verbs. The students could write the English & Spanish on a writing sheet & put into a sentence. 

Okay, now that you have seen some cool activities...check out these classrooms to die for:

Hope you all enjoyed today's "Guilty Confession" & maybe got the brain stirring a bit :) 

God Bless & I'll be back soon! 
Britt B. 

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