Tag Archives: Layman

Making the Web Work for Me

7 Dec

Inspiration came to me today in the form of my sister, Lissa.  While at the PEAK conference today, I attended Lissa’s presentation titled “Making the Web Work for You.”  She helped me remember why I keep this blog.  I want to reflect on my teaching and learning while also connecting with other teachers.  If I’m never posting on my blog, how am I supposed to achieve this?  One thing Lissa said to me after the presentation was “It takes a little extra time now, but the time it will save in the future is worth it.”  So now I am taking that time.

My school has each teacher set a goal to help us grow as professionals.  A colleague and I set the same goal for a couple of reasons.  The first reason is that we both had interest in the same topic.  The second reason is we wanted to help keep each other accountable.  Our goal is to incorporate inquiry-based strategies for literacy through centers, daily plans, and weekly plans.  We want our teaching of literacy to be more authentic and natural.  We do not want letter of the week or other phonic programs because we do not feel it is authentic.

My current understanding of authentic inquiry-based literacy learning is that it is student driven.  When students start asking questions about letters and sounds is when it should be introduced and talked about in the class.  It should not be introduced in alphabetical order, but rather based on student interest and connections to other topics being discussed in the class.  One strategy is by looking at the first letter of each of their names.  My understanding is that students will start to notice letters and the sounds words make and naturally want to know and learn how to make these letters.

Our plan to learn more about this goal is to do personal professional development and observe other teachers that we know already have this in place in their classrooms.  Lissa has also inspired me to reach out in the twitter world to find others that can help me reach my goal.  Now that the inspiration has come, I will do my best to continue to reflect as I learn.

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The Adventure Continues…

4 Jan
With the end of the semester and then the holiday season my blog has been put on the back burner.  I have not even updated that I am continuing my adventure in a new place.  Well not just a new place but a new country!  I am moving to Kuwait to live with my sister and brother-in-law.  They have lived there since the end of August and have been working at the American International School of Kuwait or AIS.  They have been keeping a blog called Living in Laymans’ Terms where they write about all the new and fun things they are experiencing.  They love it and have convinced me to come as well.I will be substitute teaching for the semester.  My first assignment is a long term position in a Pre-K classroom which is the 3 year olds.  I am a little nervous because the youngest grade I have ever taught it first grade, but I am up for the challenge.Throughout the semester I will be sure to write about my experiences more than I did over Christmas break.  I will start with my eventful trip to get to Kuwait but that will have to wait until I have had more sleep and actually get to my apartment.

Connections from Across the Sea

30 Nov

Yesterday my class was able to Skype with my sister, Lissa, and brother-in-law, Jeff, who are working at The American International School of Kuwait.  First we looked at pictures of Kuwait.  Some pictures were taken by Lissa and Jeff and others were just a few I found online.  I gave them a brief idea of what the area was like so they could come up with questions for Lissa and Jeff. Each student prepared a question for them.  The questions ranged from “how hot is it?” to “do you have doors on your room?”  I did not filter the questions because these were all things the students really wanted to know about.

When we Skyped, the whole class got to say hi.  Then each student got a chance to ask their question and hear the answer.  The answers that were given also lead to more questions and discussion. We had a few technical difficulties with internet connection on their part but we got it all worked out so every student had a chance to ask their question.  The students were so excited to talk to Lissa and Jeff that I had to keep reminding them they needed to sit on their bottom so everyone else could see.

When we stopped Skyping I pulled up some more pictures that Jeff and Lissa had taken of things that we had talked about like their cat and a camel. Both images were taken by Lissa and Jeff.

The response to this image was a collective awww!
This picture reminded them of Aladdin and the spitting camel.