Most of you know that my day job is teaching. Probably not just my day job. I also teach on Sunday at my church, and I teach my own children, plus others when they want to learn something. I have taught crochet lessons, piano lessons, cooking lessons, crafting lessons, sewing lessons, etc. I guess I was born to teach, and nothing gives me greater joy.
Last year I had a very difficult year with 28 high behavior students. We knew the year was coming… we had watched these students since first grade knowing eventually they would be ours. We always hoped they would grow up and some of those behaviors would subside as their little nervous systems continued to mature. And we were right. By 5th grade some of those behaviors did disappear, but not many. We struggled through the year the best we knew how.
Sometimes I didn’t even know if my students were listening to me, or understanding what I was saying. And what about those few “normal” students who were swimming in a sea of movers and shakers? Were they getting enough of me? This isn’t anything new… it really is an age old problem. But still, I thought if I could get through that year, then I would be able to do anything.
I am proud to say that my students were listening. There scores at the end of the year were some of the highest scores I have ever had. Was it because I had to work harder and smarter? Did they make me a better teacher? Or was it because what they say about movers and shakers is true? That they really are some of the most intelligent children out there, they just respond in a different way? I hope to think that it was a little of both.
Guess what? This year, I now have 29 kids. All movers, shakers and talkers. There is never a quiet moment in my room. I have never in the history of teaching had to move students on the first day of school… even last year! 😦 What does that say about this year? I am not sure. But what I did discover is that when they were on task their brilliance really shined through. What to do? What to do? Only a week and a half into school and I was about ready to have a nervous breakdown, until…
I was reading a friends blog and discovered a new way of teaching. Whole Brain Teaching. At first I thought… gosh this is so primary, are 5th grade kids going to really buy in? But after doing some research… all weekend… watching middle school kids buy in, I am ready to give it a go. (Actually, if you want to know the truth, tears came to my eyes knowing that I actually have something to try that is going to help me reach this special group of kids.) Here is the video link if you want to check it out. You can also read my friends blog. (theteachingthief.blogspot.com) She explains things so much more eloquently than I ever could.
I have to admit that like all teaching styles and management plans, there are a few things that I just don’t agree with. But for the most part, this is a great way to keep talkative kids talking about their learning, and moving kids moving. Like any other plan, take what works for you, and ditch the stuff that you know just can’t work with your personality. (I don’t think the Whole Body Teaching gurus would be happy for me saying that… shhhh… it’s our little secret.)
And as always…
Enjoy the Dance ;D
P.S. I should mention that the great teaching posters come from 3rd Grade Thoughts. She has even more amazing things where these came from… check her out!