Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Making Sense Through the Senses

Diversity and Understanding
Christy Curtis

    Growing up I have noticed that I have a variety of skills and interests which led me to decide on a liberal studies major. I understand the importance of diversity and teaching different students. I volunteer at a camp for children who are in the foster care system and they all come from different backgrounds.
The experience of working with foster kids has allowed me to better understand the reasons behind the behaviors. Often these children have undergone serious traumatic stress and often teachers do not know what they have gone through and only see ways they act out.

    I also stress the importance of inclusion within education and daily life. I work with a seven year old girl who underwent a traumatic brain injury.
By working with her and her family these past three years, I have broadened my scope of what education means to each child. It has also increased my care and compassion for those considered "different." 

    This past summer I helped teach preschoolers and tutor elementary school children at a community organization site in Mexico. I had the opportunity to collaborate with the other teachers to create a class schedule and choose teaching materials. During this experience I saw and worked with students and teachers with very little income. We had second hand books and often made our own copies by drawing. All of these experiences have given me a different outlook on what it means to be a teacher 
and creative ways to use what you have.

Blog: Christy's Blog

The Arts
Christy Curtis

    Though I enjoyed numerous subjects in school including math, literature and writing, I have always preferred the arts. Theater and music especially inspired me. In high school, it was drama class that forced my out of my shell and where I really gained confidence in expressing myself. I understand that with budget cuts and funding issues often the arts or physical education are the first to go. However, it is often the arts that open children to creativity and channel energy. They are also opportunities for students to learn how to engage in social interaction and use "life skills" and gain confidence which will affect their learning in other areas. 

    I am most interested in teaching fourth grade students. I enjoy the ages where learning is still relatively new and exciting. Also, it is an age group where kids have developed their personalities but are still not too self-conscious to perform and act "silly" in front of other people. In fourth grade they are developing how to express emotions and start improvising.

Link to some teacher resources for creative drama: Creative Drama
Link to Art Content Standards: Fourth Grade Arts CA Content Standards

Balancing Act 
Karen Morizi

My personal experience in the elementary grades led me to believe that school was easy. I was an exceptional speller, I was proficient in math, and reading and didn't find the need to study for any sort of testing we were asked to endure. Then in junior high school I found myself slipping a little. I was placed in honors courses for math and English, but I started losing interest in school. From my prior school experience, I had never learned how to study. I had never needed to study. This proved to be a real challenge to me. On top of never learning to study, my time management skills were seemingly non existent. This added to the challenge.

    As an aspiring teacher, I will use my experience in school to reach all of my students, regardless of their level of intelligence. If I find a student is bored because the material is too easy, I will make sure I find a way to challenge them. However, at the same time, I will make sure to get lower level students caught up without babying them. Another strategy I'd like to employ would be an inclusion-based teaching in which the students balance each other's strengths and weaknesses. For example, it would benefit a lower-level student to work with a gifted student academically, but it would also benefit the gifted student in terms of other skills; in my case, time management.


Right & Left Brain Unite
Karen Morizi
        In my own schooling, I was always good at math and language arts. It seems humorous that the two would encompass my best subjects, as one is so logical and based on reasoning while the other allows my imagination to run wild and explore different realms of creativity. However, I believe the fact that I can adjust to either way of thinking will help make me a better teacher. I will have the luxury of understanding students who are more dominantly right-brained or left-brained. This will also help me to reach more of my students in the sense that I can use a variety of teaching styles to ensure that all of my students understand the material. 
     When I first decided I wanted to be a teacher, I envisioned myself teaching kindergarten, and perhaps first or second grade if need be. However, the more I am learning in my education courses, the more open I have become to teaching the later elementary grades (third through sixth). At present, I have decided to be open minded to the idea of teaching any of the elementary grades, as I believe each would offer a different yet exciting new experience.  

Photographs from "The Arts" were found 9 February 2009 at Pics 4 Learning.

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