Saturday, November 30, 2013

Years 10 - 12: Thematic teaching rocks!

By my third year at Woodridge, I was establishing a signature way to teach preschool. Teaching in themes seemed like such a natural way to expose children to the world around them. With the help of my specialists, we chose themes that made sense and that the children could relate to (for  the most part anyway!). However, some of the themes were just pure fun, like our theme around Water which included trying on plastic, toy scuba gear and having the second grade teacher, a real scuba diver, come into our class in full real scuba gear! Living in Cheney, I was a familiar shopper at the Ben Franklin, which supplied me with most of my thematic props, including the scuba gear in this picture, and the plastic skis in the winter pictures. I loved that store and spent more money there than I care to admit!

Other themes included Winter, Community Helpers, Seasons, and Pets. (By the time I finished an additional 10 years of teaching preschool in Cheney, I had 27 well developed themes!) Each theme lasted two to three weeks. On the board in our Circle area, pictures were stapled that went with the current theme. For example, if the theme was Water, there might be pictures of animals who live in water, things in our homes that use water, children swimming or running through sprinklers, boats, etc. These pictures hung at a level that the children could see and touch and ask or answer questions about. Books read during this time would also be about Water, as well as the songs we sang while at Circle. This was so much fun and an effective way to teach.

In May there was an all school talent show that was to take place in the Shadle Park High School auditorium. I pestered the principal to let the preschool children take part. I made them little duck costumes and we got up on stage and sang "Six Little Ducks". We were a big hit!

I loved teaching preschool and knew that it was the level I wanted to stay at. But as my third year in Spokane ended, a preschool position opened up in Cheney, about a mile from my house! I decided to apply for the job, and when I got it, I was ecstatic! Now I could spend more time at home and less time on the road.

Leaving Woodridge though would be bittersweet. Over the three years, I had made close friends of both the teachers I worked with and the parents of my students. The principal came to appreciate my way of teaching the students and told me after I got the position in Cheney, "I think I will write a bad evaluation for you this year so you won't go. You will have to stay here with us!" That was high praise from her for sure! Once again, my Titantic Award at the end of the year reflected this sentiment. What a great three years!