Thursday, October 17, 2013

Inspiring Quotes

Albert Einstein

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” - Albert Einstein


Recently, we had a staff in-service day ran by All Kinds of Minds, an organization that focuses on the science behind successful learning (and teaching FOR successful learning). At the end of the presentation, the educator put up this quote. The reaction I had towards it was very emotional.


When I think about this quote, I think about my students. My biggest challenge (and the most rewarding thing!) about being a teacher is that I have to figure out ways to incorporate many learning styles into my lessons each day. Some of my students respond better to written directions or visuals. Others are more comfortable with oral information. Some benefit from watching the teacher or another person demonstrate different activities. I try my hardest to engage each and every one of my students in lessons and activities based on how they learn best!


For example, with practicing multiplication facts, some kids benefit from practicing flash cards, so we created "multiplication rings" to take home and practice:

 Other students are physical learners, so to reinforce our facts, I play "aerobic multiplication", where I will write down on the board AND say a multiplication equation. The kids have to do as many jumping jacks/sit-ups/toe-touches as the product of those two factors.


Some kids are visual learners, so drawing pictures, like arrays, with the two factors as dimensions to find the product, keep them engaged in remembering facts.


 I also think about myself when I read this quote. My whole childhood, I was a "middle-of-the-road" kid in school. Not the smartest, but certainly not failing. Still, the fact that many of my teachers did not take the time to think about all of the different learners in their classrooms caused me to struggle. Maybe not academically, but with my confidence. 


I never thought I was smart, because I felt that learning did not come naturally to me. It came with studying, tutors, and lots of practice. Sure, not everything is going to come easily to everyone, and it is only normal that sometimes kids need to work hard to understand certain concepts. I have realized, after experiencing being in academic environments that honor and accommodate for different learning types post-high school, is that not ALL learning should be a struggle. I am POSITIVE that many of the concepts that were introduced to me in my primary and secondary school years could have been exciting and confidence boosting for me, if only teachers took the time to present them in more than one way. I now know what kind of a learner I am, and that brings me joy in learning new things every day :)


I never want ANY of my students to feel the way I did about myself when I was younger. This quote by Einstein reinforces my commitment to my students to make their learning experiences enjoyable, and to make them believe in themselves and their strengths! We are ALL geniuses! 

And because I can't leave without sharing something organization related:

Last year, my student's drinking cups (from Ikea) would always fall off of the small counter where I kept them. There just wasn't enough room for 21 cups on one small shelf!

This year I inherited this wonderful shoe hanging bag, which I intended to use for miscellaneous art supplies. However, I realized the pockets were the perfect size for the cups! Now, when students are done with getting a drink, back into the pocket it goes! No spills, and more shelf space. Win-win!

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