Multiple Teachers

This semester I’m teaching a course with two other instructors. It is a unique and interesting course blending all of the fine arts into a collection of humanities credits through multiple instructors. I just recently taught during our first class period. As with most first days it was spent on getting to know one another, getting familiar with the syllabus, and laying out the groundrules for the semester. Pretty standard stuff. One of the difficult things for me, as an instructor, was sharing the floor with other people. My teaching style is one based on my own personality creating a … Continue reading

A Sense for Humor

When I teach courses I typically start with something my students don’t expect. I force them to scream in unison, do a funny dance, throw hundreds of paper airplanes my direction at the same time. These strange beginnings tend to reenforce a message I want to send to them: this can be fun. My message of fun is typically backed up by experience. Sure, there will be students who won’t have fun. There always are. The vast majority of students will enjoy the courses I teach because I teach art. I know, I see some of you raising your hands … Continue reading

Pushing Younger Kids Beyond Their Comfort Zone

When I first started home schooling my last three girls, two were in third grade and one was just starting preschool. It was a challenge wondering how I would present the lessons when there was such an obvious age gap between the older girls and the youngest. Being able to home school our kids allows us a lot of freedom though. Kids don’t have to be pushed ahead when they aren’t ready or held back when they are. What I did was to offer the same exact assignment for all of my girls, always at the age level of the … Continue reading

A Whole World Curriculum – Learning About Other Lands And People

I lived in Maryland when first homeschooling my girls and the school board is pretty relaxed with the curriculum. You can use a traditional curriculum and workbooks or create your own, as long as the children are given an overall education. Truthfully, my kids were bored to tears with workbooks and textbooks, so I decided to make a curriculum that would really stimulate their senses and be fun at the same time. I knew my daughters liked learning about other lands and people, so I bought a world map and taped it to the dining room wall—-our makeshift classroom for … Continue reading

The Trials of Switching

Did you ever have a really honest teacher? Someone who didn’t try to hide the chinks in their armor? Someone who pointed out more than the glossy surface but also the underlying cogs, axles, and inevitable grease that made the whole thing run? In short: Did you ever have a teacher who taught you about teaching? At first this may seem weird but I realize that I’ve had many teachers like this. My fifth grade teacher who would open class with a magic trick, close it with cheesy jokes, and teach us amazing (and amazingly related) things in between; my … Continue reading

Teaching Toddlers

There are so many learning opportunities for toddlers. They are just beginning to explore the world around them. They can learn a lot on their own. However, with help from their family, they can learn even more. Teaching toddlers can be a fun and exciting experience. Playing with toys can be a learning experience for toddlers. Helping with daily chores are learning experiences for toddlers. Why shouldn’t we use the things that we do on a daily basis to help our toddlers learn? Here are some of the ideas that I have had and implemented in order to teach my … Continue reading

Taking Chances – Teaching Beyond the Text

One of the strange things about being a full-time graduate student and a part-time college instructor is that you’re really not hired to “create” content as much as follow a set of guidelines already laid out before your time… lessons passed down from generations of other student/teachers that you mildly modify to suit your teaching taste, particular students, etc… Something strange happens, though, when you feel like deviating from this design. There is a fear. There is a danger. There is (gasp!) no extra pay or assurance of future employment. There’s also a lot of extra work. The most difficult … Continue reading

Relief Society: Cutting Back on Handouts

Handouts seem to be a staple of many Relief Societies. There are handouts to announce activities, handouts on the lesson topics, and handouts to help you reach your goals or to remind you to visit teach. These handouts may seem like a good idea, but when you come home with so many different handouts they are less effective then they should be. If you are using handouts to make your announcements or for Enrichment activities, consider switching to email announcements instead. You would still need to create a smaller number of handouts for the sisters who do not have an … Continue reading

Primary Time: Teaching a New Class

One of the great things about a new year is getting a new class to teach if you are a Primary or a Sunday school teacher. It is always hard to say good-bye to students that you have grown to care about, but it is also nice to start out fresh and to get new students as well. If you are beginning to teach with a new set of students it is important to get off to a good start. Here are a few suggestions. First if you are teaching Primary, then introducing yourself to the children before the first … Continue reading

A Sweet Fragrance

The sense of smell is the most evocative of the sense in regard to memory. It is one I often use as a trigger of memories in creative writing workshops. More importantly though, whenever I go to teach a Sunday school or SRE – special religious education class I always make sure I put on a nice perfume, usually Dewberry or Ananya. Why do this when teaching? Because I want everything about children learning about Jesus to be a pleasurable experience. I’ve had more than one child tell me ‘you smell nice.’ It’s only a little thing but I consider … Continue reading