Jumping back into teaching after taking time off to be a stay-at-home mom was hard. I'm glad I did it. I always thought I was a pretty good teacher, and tried to be the best I could for the class I was dealing with at the moment.
I'm one of those teachers who never teaches the same thing the same way twice. I change things up depending on the students in my class, the mood the day, the way my day is going and any other variable that could alter the effect of the lesson. I have never been a text book teacher in any sense of the term. When I taught K I never used my text book... shhhh! Ok, I read the stories from the reading series,but that's about it. Now in 1st I do use it more, but I've always said that a textbook is a tool, not a toolbox. You can't find everything you need in the textbook. Some of my best lessons have been planned on the spot. I know shock and horror... you are supposed to carefully plan out every lesson and decide what questions to ask and how the students should answer them ahead of time. That's not me... I'm not that teacher.
I love to let the children come up with the questions. I love for them to interact with each other and for me to be there to guide them if needed.
For example, today I presented my class with the project of turning an animal into a super hero. I introduced a template to assist them in writing a 5 paragraph essay.. yep you read that right. Ok the paragraphs may have only had 3-5 sentences, but hey it's a process. Each child had to draw a picture of thier hero. In the template they told: how it got it's powers, what the powers were, and how it helped the world. The students then wrote the essay (ok these aren't done yet, but hey we are working on it). They also used pattern blocks (we are learning about plane shapes in math right now) to create their hero and then graphed the number of shapes they used. I took a picture of their hero and will print them out. I will then post their organizer, story, illustration, picture and graph in the hallway. I gave them the suggestion, the tools to complete the assignment and then let them work. And guess what... they had fun doing it. They interacted with each other. They challenged each other. They asked for help only when needed. They learned, and isn't that what my job is about?
When did I plan this? Ummm yesterday when I was trying to think of a narrative writing assignment is when I came up with the idea of the super hero story. Today while setting up for Wacky Wednesday I planned the rest. Yep on the fly is how I play.