instructor magazine: arts integration

This year, rather than ordering Seventeen magazine from the local high school fundraiser, I decided to get a magazine especially for teachers! I have only gotten two issues so far, but I already love it! One of my favourite ideas in the last issue was using artwork to teach other subjects! 

Arts integration is especially interesting to me, as I am taking an ART 100 class for my Fine Arts elective this semester. As soon as I saw the familiar water lilies painting by Claude Monet (which we covered in my Art class) with a headline for using it to teach a subject other than art, I was hooked! The example in the magazine uses Monet’s piece as an introduction to plants, what they need to survive, and man-made versus naturally occurring parts of the environment (for the other ideas, check out the Winter 2013 issue of Instructor by Scholastic).

It has been stressed in Education to me already that students have multiple intelligences and, often times, the more artistic or outdoorsy types of learners’ learning styles aren’t acknowledged or adapted to as much as the other visual or auditory types. 

This is an inspiring idea for me and as I progress through my program, I will keep my eyes peeled for any further artworks and links to lessons they may have use in my future!

1. Art can have different types of patterns or balance: symmetrical, asymmetrical or radial (radiating out from a centre point of a circular object). Using works with these pattens can be a great visual for math lessons!

This is a great example of symmetry (Sayre, 2012). What is symmetrical in this picture? What is not?

Coronation of the Virgin, Enguerrand Quarton

Here is an artwork containing asymmetry (Sayre, 2012). How is it asymmetrical? How does this piece still contain balance, though?

Boston Common at Twilight, Childe Hassam

This final work is from the Chartes Cathedral in France. It showcases radial symmetry (Sayre, 2012). How is the symmetry of a square different from symmetry in this circular piece?

Rose Window, Chartes Cathedral

Sayre, Henry M., A World of Art, 7th Edition. New York: Pearson, 2012.


celebrating differences

The celebration of diversity and differences among classmates in my future classroom is fundamental part of my educational philosophy and I have made a goal to collect resources by which to do this. Today, in my ECS 110 class, the professor said something along the lines of: ‘Differences in our society should be celebrated, but they are not,’ and this instantly sparked some lesson ideas that I am scrambling to write down before they are lost inside my head.

1. At the beginning of the school year, get students to pair up or go in groups and brainstorm things that neither/none of them have in common. Children often get to know each other through their similarities in interests, and lots of get-to-know-you activities are geared towards what is the same. By getting them to brainstorm differences, they can see how diverse they are from each other. You could even have them tally their ‘points’ and reward the group that came up with the most differences.

2. In traditional show-and-tell fashion, each child will get a turn to present something about them that no one in the class shares – something about them that is completely unique. This enforces the idea that all students possess characteristics that make them special. This should enforce that differences are things to be proud of, not hide. It will be a great way for children to tell others about something that is completely their own, something that no one else has!

*Prompt children to dig deeper than differing favourite colours. They can find lots of differences that are more creative than that!

Afterwards, you should always enforce that differences are good and that students need to not only accept and be proud of their differences, but be respectful and accepting of others’ differences as well. We do not single people out or disclude them because of their differences. 

Differences are a chance to learn, and that is what a good classroom is all about!

pre-kindergarten ideas

I did my ECS 100 Field Experience in a Pre-Kindergarten classroom, and the teacher had so many great ideas that I would love to steal!1) Pictures of the students as attendance.
When the children come in, they find the picture of themself and stick it to a large board with velcro. At this age, some of them have a hard time distinguishing which picture is theirs, so this is a beneficial activity. The teacher says that as the year progresses, children have to match their picture to their name.

2) Names on felt squares.
The teacher cut out differently colored felt squares and placed each child’s name on a square with tape. In the morning, they have to find their name square on the rug and sit down on it. Again, this helps them recognize which name belongs to them (and allows a teacher to decide where the students will sit – talkers/wigglers at the front, chatters not beside each other, etc.).
3) Ouchie/ Boo-Boo book

It has actual band-aids in it! So cute. Also, the teacher mentioned that the kids love these books because they are the stars.

4) Guess Who? book

Then the next page shows a front-facing picture of the child with the caption “It’s _______!”

5) Other themed books.

-My Favorite Candy
A blank line where a picture goes and the words “‘s favorite candy is…” and underneath a wrapper of their favorite candy.

-Halloween Costume Parade
A picture of the child in their costume. Underneath, the words, “I see ______. He/she is a ________.”

last days of school alphabet countdown

During my Grade 11 and 12 years, I volunteered in two Grade 1 classrooms in my hometown. They did something at the end of the school year that I would really like to adapt into my future classroom someday: the last 26 days of school were a alphabet countdown!

For example, when there were 26 school days left in the year, that day would be ‘A’ themed. This continued on until the last day of school, which was ‘Z’.

Activities that followed the letter theme didn’t have to be incorporated throughout the entire day, it could be as simple as one activity done that day that used that letter. On ‘E’ day, the teachers handed out booklets that the students made which were about elephants.

I think this idea would be a fun way to end off the year and incorporate all the letters of the alphabet! 🙂

Some ideas for themed days that I have:

A- apple, archeologist, art
B- beach, book
C- circle, colours, Canada
D- dinosaur,
E- electricity (science experiments with static?)
F- flowers,
G- garden, globe
H- hello (learn to say hello in different languages)
I- ice cream (take the kids out for a treat, make your own ice cream), instruments
J- jive, jump rope
K- kangaroo, kayak
M- music, movie
N- numbers
O- octopus
P- pyjamas, painting
Q- quiet, quick, quilt (maybe all decorate a square of paper and make a class quilt)
R- rainbow
S- swimming, surfing,
T- toys (popular toys in different countries)
U- ukelele
W- weird words (give them a word and have them make up a definition)
X- xylophone (maybe use it to get the students’ attention when switching activities)

Please comment with any ideas you have!