Monday, April 23, 2012

Heart Maps!

The last two weeks have gone by so quickly! It's amazing how time passes by so quickly when you're busy doing something you love! After the first three days, I've pretty much been teaching every day and am gaining a lot of hands-on experiences. I'm so lucky to be able to do my practicum with such supportive staff and amazing students!

Today I'd like to share a lesson I taught as part of my poetry unit which I got a lot of good reviews on! They are called heart maps, adapted from the idea from Georgia Heard's book, Awakening the Heart which has loads of useful ideas on how to teach poetry. The heart map is a great way for students to get in touch with their emotions and realize what makes life meaningful for them. It's also a useful tool for students to go back to during the school year when they can't think of topics to write about.

I introduced the activity by telling the students that they will be making maps of their hearts. None of the students had ever worked on this activity before, and seemed very curious. I told them that their heart maps would represent different things that they care about, memories that have stayed with them, qualities that make them special or unique, or experiences which have shaped how they are today. 

I also gave them the following list of guiding questions to help them come up with ideas:

  • What was the most fun you've ever had?
  • What makes you unique?
  • What people/objects/activities are important to you?
  • What has really affected your heart?
  • What secrets have you kept in your heart?
  • What are some experiences or central events that you will never forget?

I was so amazed and inspired by the finished work that the students handed in! They are now all put up on the bulletin board in the hallway, and I've been asked to teach this lesson in another class as well :)

Monday, April 09, 2012

Making Connections with Text

My practicum is finally starting tomorrow! For the last couple of weeks life had been quite busy with final assignments, projects, and exams, but now the good stuff starts! I'm so excited to finally be able to be in the classrooms.

Over the next three weeks I will be in a grade six classroom teaching a language arts unit on poetry, and European Handball in PE. I'd like to share with you a great idea I borrowed from Kim at Finding JOY in 6th Grade which I will be incorporating into my poetry lessons on how to make personal connections with the text. I thought that this strategy would fit perfectly into the Prescribed Learning Outcomes of English Language Arts here in BC:

A4: Select and use strategies while interacting with others, including
  • making and sharing connections

B8: Respond to selections they read or view, by
  • explaining connections (text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world)

After spending the first day on an introductory lesson on poetry, students will begin making personal connections with various poems they find which they can relate to. To explain the three different kinds of connections, I will use a poster which will hopefully help them understand how to make such connections, and the differences between the three types: text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world.

After I model how to make such connections through a think-aloud, the students will work on making their own connections, then sharing their thoughts with partners. I'm going to use the form below for the activity. 

Next week the kids will start creating their own poems, using heart maps (mentioned in my previous post titled Great Resource for Teaching Poetry) and other activities to spark their interests and creativity. I'm thinking of ending the unit with a poetry cafe <3

I will be teaching this lesson towards the end of this week so please let me know if you have any suggestions or advice on improving the lesson. Thanks!