Craft Ideas to Help Create a Safe and Welcoming Classroom Environment!

I have been thinking a lot about how I am going to create a welcoming and inclusive classroom that children can feel safe, wanted, and accepted in. I believe that visual art is a fabulous way for children to represent themselves! Below are three pictures of art projects that I believe would promote a positive and inclusive classroom environment.

If you have any other cool art projects please send them my way! I am always looking for more ideas! :)

Experiential Learning: Invitations to Learn

For my Experiential Learning course, three classmates and I created a workshop to teach our peers about invitations to learn. Invitations to learn allow for children to direct their own learning using tools that are strategically placed in an “invitation” area. An example may be a painting invitation, with paints, a paint brush, paper, and other materials placed in a manner that invites the child in.

Through my experiences as a student-teacher, I have come to realize the importance of allowing children to explore, inquire, and guide their own learning experiences. Setting up invitations to learn in the classroom means having materials set out for students to explore on their own. Sometimes it is difficult for teacher’s to give up their “direct” teaching methods; however, experiential learning is known to benefit a multitude of students as it fosters inclusion, diversity and individuality in the classroom environment.

To begin our presentation we created a video to show what we believe a classroom should not look like. Then we created two different invitations to learn through the use of literature. One invitation was based on the Stella book series by Marie-Louise Gay and the other was based on the book “The Mysteries of Harris Burdick” by Chris Van Allsburg. Literature is a significant source of inspiration for children to engage in invitations, but also an idea generator for teachers thinking about how they can create invitations! After allowing our classmates to engage in the invitations, we provided different picture books for them to look at, and asked what kinds of invitations they would create using the books that they had! The workshop turned out very well, and I am so glad to have learned about the implementation of invitations to learn in classrooms.

If you are interested, please have a look at the introductory video that my classmates and I created for the workshop, and provide any feedback that you have about what you saw. I would love to hear from you. Thanks!

EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING ROCKS! :)

Below is a list of fabulous resources for teachers who are interested in setting up invitations to learn in the elementary classroom!

Childhood 101  (BLOG)

Creating Invitations for Learning (SK Ministry of Education Brochure)

Snails and Puppy Dog Tails (BLOG)

Technology: Bringing the World Together!

I recently watched the YouTube video, KONY 2012. As I watched this video, I considered how technology can allow the world to come together for world peace. I have heard about children in Africa who have been forced to become child soldiers, but in actually witnessing this video and hearing the first-hand account of a young Ugandan boy, I was able to develop a deeper empathy for children who are exposed to war in Africa. To hear about something, and to actually be a part of the fight for justice, are two very different things. The creator of this video is clearly very passionate and driven, and through the use of technology, he was able to express his message and bring the world awareness about Joseph Kony. This video has truly empowered me! If you have time, please watch it below. The video is 30 minutes, but I assure you, it is worth the time!

I’m so much more than just a teacher!

 

Prior to my internship, I was never fully aware of the many “jobs” that a teacher encompasses within their daily careers.Through my experiences, I have become aware that teaching is so much more than merely informing students about subject areas in school. One of my finds on Pinterest describes that many roles in which a teacher undergoes daily as well as emphasises what it truly means to be a teacher.

“I’m So Much More Than Just A Teacher!”

 

Pinterest for Educators

Recently I have come across the online bulletin board called Pinterest. Pinterest is an excellent resource that allows people to share websites, images, links, and other resources that they have come across in their web browsing. If you find something that you like, then you can pin it to your own virtual bulletin board. Here is a screenshot of my own Pinterest bulletin boards.

I would strongly suggest Pinterest to other educators because it allows for people to collaborate and share educational ideas for the classroom. So far, I have come across fabulous educational quotes, classroom set-up ideas and resources and ideas for Language Arts, Visual Art, Science, and Math. One thing that I really appreciate and like about Pinterest is that it has its own link dedicated to the field of education, which can be viewed here.

The Twitter Experiment: Twitter in the Classroom

I was looking on Youtube and came across this video. I felt that this was an excellent way to provide students with a sense of “voice” in large group discussions, particularly within university classrooms. Do you think it is possible to use this social media in schools today? How would you feel about using this media in an educational setting as both student and teacher?

Classroom Symphony

I was reading my text book, Serious Players in the Primary Classroom by Selma Wassermann, for my Early Childhood Education class, and one quote that I came across truly moved me. The quote said:

“The teacher must be the composer, the orchestrator and the conductor of the classroom symphony, if the players are to make beautiful music.”