I believe in the importance of balance in life. To be a really great teacher, I feel that I need to allow for and value the different intelligences my students will exhibit and offer a varied and balanced approach. While students need to appreciate the tremendous gift of education, they also need to know that acing a math test is not the be-all and the end-all. I want them to understand that learning is about more than just marks. It is about experiences, risk-taking, successes and failures. Learning can happen outdoors, indoors, in the classroom, in the gymnasium, with a paint-brush or with a video game. I believe that offering differing approaches will not only differentiate for student need, but also encourage them to value balance and variety in their own lives.
I feel that incorporating both the arts and technology into the classroom every day greatly contributes to this goal of a balanced and varied approach.
Here are some examples of how I have done this.
Poster of the Planets – A Mnemonic
I created this poster as a fun tool for helping students remember the order and names of the planets. I used a combination of my own art and an online tool. That particular tool is no longer available but there are plenty of other options available online or as apps for teachers and students. (Example: Comic Master, Captain Underpants, and Toontastic)
Math: Grid Art Activity
This activity helped students to see fractions in their art and introduced the conversion of fractions to percentages. They were given a 100-box grid and asked to pick 4-5 colours. They could create any picture or pattern they wanted, but afterward needed to express their colours as both fractions and percentages.
Full Lesson Plan:fraction-art-lesson
English Language Arts: Science Fiction Google Slide Presentation
In this research project, grade 5 students were asked to find a piece of science fiction that made a prediction that has since come true. Using the internet, they came up with books such as, 20 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (electric submarines), Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy (debit cards), Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (earbuds) and 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke (iPads). Students then presented their findings by putting together a Google Slide presentation. This lesson used technology to explore critical media literacy, research skills, the genre of science fiction and oral presentation.
Full Lesson Plan:lesson-plan-sci-fi-project
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