Learning Illustrated

This week’s challenge to reflect on “Learning Illustrated” compelled me to search back over my lecture notes and readings from the past four weeks.  Although we are barely into this two year program we have already covered an immense amount of pedagogical theory, teaching techniques and how to incorporate teaching methods of the past, present and future.  I decided to illustrate this with key concepts.  Pulling from each week the lessons and curriculum those core ideas that compel a teacher to teach with passion.

Learning Illustrated

(Click on above link to view)

I also wanted to reflect on a teacher that I had in the 3rd grade.  Her name was Mrs. Wiley and to this day I remember her class.  Not because she was the easiest, hardest, nicest, meanest, greatest or worst teacher.  I remember Mrs. Wiley because she was the most creative.  In Mrs. Wiley’s class we learned math, reading, writing just like everyone else in the 3rd grade but in our class we learned it in a way that compelled an 8 year old.  You see, at 8 years old I still liked to sing and dance and play and that is exactly what we did in her class.  We performed plays, did art, had story time and sang songs all the while learning what we needed to creatively.  Two songs in particular still to this day are stuck in my head, 3 times table and 4 times table. We would sing these songs walking from activity to activity, from the playground to our classroom even when it was time to get settled.  It became over time a memory that I would never forget.   I have even taught these to my own children and often hear them singing them while doing their math homework.  I thought about Mrs. Wiley’s creative classroom as I read Quintilion this week and was struck by this observation,

For as a rule the result of the dry textbooks on the art of rhetoric is that by straining after excessive subtlety they impair and cripple all nobler elements of style, exhaust the lifeblood of the imagination and leave but the bare bones, which, while it is rights and necessary that they should exist and be bound each to each by their respective ligaments, require a covering of flesh as well.

So yes, teaching the standards is important but compelling your student with curriculum through activities they enjoy and that they are interested in is a gift, thank you Mrs.Wiley for this gift.


4 thoughts on “Learning Illustrated

  1. Sarah,

    What a cool idea for an illustration! Are those weighted by mentions in your notes, like a tag cloud? It’s a visual way to see what’s been catching your interest.

    I like your story about Mrs. Wiley, and I’m increasingly convinced that songs are a powerful tool for memorizing. It seems like everyone has a story about something they learned by song that that have never forgotten. Mine comes from 10th-grade Spanish class, where the teacher played a tape repeating the Spanish-speaking nations and their capitals. It wasn’t even really a song, sort of lilting chanting (“Tegucigalpa, Honduras … Tegucigalpa, Honduras”).

    I’m sure I could have learned those in a conventional way enough to pass a test on them, and then promptly forgotten them, but to this day I can tell you any of those capitals. Amazing!


  2. Sarah, teacher’s like Mrs. Wiley are the ones that you never forget. She sounded like a teacher who knew how to interact with kids and wasn’t afraid to teach a song because she knew her students would love it and it would stick in their minds. Teachers like Mrs. Wiley were the ones that made learning fun and excited you about what adventures you may encounter in class that day. I want to be a teacher like Mrs. Wiley. Thanks for your reflection!

  3. Sarah, I love this, and I love the story about your third grade teacher. Interestingly enough, I had a similar quality third grade teacher! She was originally from Peru, and so our morning activities were all in Spanish, which was wildly unusual up in NH. To this day, I remember a lot of what we covered in Spanish, and she was also great at mixing creative and interactive activities for us to remember everything. Thanks for sharing!

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