Wednesday, February 18, 2009

GarrenAdams News

Alexandra Garren & Christopher Adams

Teaching History In Elementary School

I have always been fascinated with history because the subject matter never changes; but is rather built upon by new events. Having a concise and clear knowledge of our past allows us to make better choices in the present. By examining our past, we can learn from our mistakes and improve on how we interact with other people and our environment. If children are taught the value of learning from our past, they will be more consciously aware that the choices that they make from day to day have the power of affecting the world. Understanding this concept at an early age is crucial because it will encourage global cooperation and the conservation of our natural resources. There is much to gain by being aware of what has happened in the past. Hence I firmly believe that children should begin learning about our history from an early age.

History can be incorporated into any grade level curriculum. The depth of the material that is taught merely changes as the students get older and are able to assimilate more information. By introducing history in Kindergarten, teachers will be able to build upon that knowledge every year. It is beneficial to view the California Content Standards because the standards for each grade are articulated. This website provides the content that should be incorporated into each grade level as well as offers ideas for teaching history with affective approaches. For example, a great way to teach history, especially for younger grades, is to conduct classroom plays. In this teaching method, the students are all actively involved and allows them to incorporate their own creativity. Furthermore, other artistic techniques may be used such as having the children write and illustrate historical events and then creating a classroom book with the collaboration of the students' work. For more ideas, visit Creative History Lesson Plans.

Written by, Aexandra Garren


I have always been drawn to the idea of teaching because I have always been fond of school and the learning process. I feel that even as adults, we have the full potential to keep learning and grow as individuals. Furthermore, as educators I believe we are going to learn as much from our students as they are going to learn from us. My mother is a kindergarten teacher and for years I have been able to witness how much she has learned from her students. Even though she has been teaching the same subject for nearly 10 years now, she still learns more with each new class.

My personal teaching philosophy is to prepare my students to be model citizens for our community. I want to give them the skills to question facts and come up with their own conclusions. I would like to provide a base of knowledge for my students and teach them how to apply what they know to solve problems in their everyday lives. Furthermore, my biggest concern with teaching is to have my students really grasp concepts, rather than just memorize procedures. In order to really learn, students need to know the broad spectrum of how something works.

Additionally, I firmly believe in teaching students to think independently and to understand that their actions affect more than just themselves. Ideally, I would like to set up my classroom as a miniature model of a full scale community. By incorporating this setting into my classroom, my students will be able to learn to work together as a team and learn how everyone has individual skills that when applied, can benefit the whole. As teachers, we help shape the people who will become our future generations. Therefore, teachers are given an extraordinary opportunity to practice positive ideals and values, which may directly reflect in our society.

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Learning through the Arts K-12

My main subject of interest is in teaching through the arts. I would like to teach at an elementary level using art to get students thinking creatively in all subject areas. I am also open to teaching Middle School and High School as an art teacher that incorporates high school curriculum into the art lessons. By viewing the California Content Standards you can see how teaching through the arts meets the curriculum that students need to learn. Teaching through the arts has always been around but lately the arts has been pushed into the extra curriculum content and is still viewed as beneficial but not mandatory. Not all students learn in the same manner or at the same pace. When using the arts as a tool for learning, the teacher slows down the learning process so students can think about the subject they are learning and then share their knowledge with the rest of their class through the art's that they produce. When students are in a safe learning environment and they can personally reflect on a production they created by using information from the subject area and share what they know about that subject with their classmates, they will have a firm grasp of the information and remember it. Art gets you thinking creatively and this world needs more creative thinkers. Art also lets you view the world in a different eye and see beyond what is actually there.

Incorporating the arts into your classroom can be done in many ways, its not all just drawing an painting. Teachers can use dance, music, sculpture, drawing, drama and other personal performance driven activity's. Some examples of these activity's being used in lessons can be found at Teaching Core Curriculum Content Through the Arts. There is also a great program, Learning Through The Arts, who make it there business to promote learning through the arts. They have a vast amount of information to help teachers wishing to incorporate the arts into their curriculum including free lesson plans to get you started. The best lessons are the ones you create yourself, knowing your students ability and interests your lessons can be more personal and creative and help the learning process. It is always a great idea to use art's from your community. There are some fantastic artists out there that can guide you through a medium and help you create a wonderful learning activity.

Written by Christopher Adams


My name is
Christopher Adams. I was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland and I moved
to the United States when I was eleven. I am an artist and I like to
create sculptures and drawings at home and I try to take at least one
studio type art class each semester.I have worked for the Poway Unified School District as an Extended
Student Services Assistant for over four years. This job involved me
working one-on-one, and in group environments, with students after
school. I was in charge of thirty to fifteen students depending on the
time of the day. I worked on-site at Adobe Buffs Elementary School. A
typical day involved helping the students complete their homework, and
have the students involved with educational activity's throughout the
day. I have created, planed, and implemented many educational arts,
sports, and games for my groups. I have also presented some of these
projects that I have created to the rest of PUSD ESS program at their
annual district wide meeting. The grade range I worked with was
Kindergarten through fifth grade, the grade I was primary responsible
for was forth and fifth grade. Additionally I have over twenty hours
certified participating in the Tutor Connection program, a Community
Service Learning Project. I tutored an "At Risk" youth in Foster Youth
Services. I have also put on a professional puppet show at CSUSM for
first graders. I also have given an in class presentation on teaching
through the arts for a classroom at CSUSM showing many of the
activity's I have used with my students.

I am going into teaching because I enjoy working with
children, I also enjoy creating educational art activity's for them.
One of the earliest forms of communication was cave paintings and early
humans used those paintings to tell story's to their decedents. I feel
that even in this modern world we need to keep the arts as a crucial
part of our teaching method. Creativity and imagination are fantastic
tools of the human brain and we need to reinforce there use if we are
to have a brighter future. Teaching through arts gets your students
brains working no mater what type of learner your students are. Art
also get you focused on a subject, you will lose students if they are
constantly lectured. When students personally interact with the subject
mater they hold onto that information easier and remember it.

You can contact me by e-mail and you can also look at my blog in which I write weekly reviews of educational journal articles that use technology as a teaching tool.

Written by Christopher Adams

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