Posts Tagged ‘Teaching’

We all still enjoy singing the ‘oldie goldies’, which, for some reason seem to have a sticking power that carries down through the generations. Many of those old songs are often relegated strictly to music class for the younger set. However, with a little creative thinking, they can be mined for the content of their lyrics which can make a great launch pad for the teaching of ideas, skills and concepts to students of all ages.

More Than Meets the Eye … or Ear

For older students an interesting history research topic could be to find the origins of nursery songs such as London Bridge is Falling Down, Ring Around the Rosey or Rock-a-Bye Baby. They will find some theories that tell of gruesome beginnings for some of their favourite “ditties”. In their digging around, students will encounter references to factual historical events that can open the door to further discussion. They could also be asked to search out all the versions of each song, determine which would seem to be closest to the original lyrics and then decide which theory of origin best suits the song. You now have an opening to make teams and work on debating skills.!

Research skills for younger students can be introduced with songs such as Over in the Meadow or Be Kind to Your Web-footed Friends. Both of these songs contain information related to a science study of animals (classification, adaptations, habitat, habits etc.). Making charts to record and organize information from each verse of a song helps students by focusing on a well-known selection of text and enables them to easily find the information for each heading, which appears in the same location in every verse. Children also enjoy writing their ‘report’ on another animal by writing it in the format of another verse for the song. Each student then prints up his or her verse on a page with a picture of the animal. These can be compiled in a class Song Book as a singing science report.

Five More Songs for Teaching

• Grandfather’s Clock – math … a pendulum experiment … creative thinking
• Five Little Ducks – ESL … math … creative writing … drama
• A-Tisket A-Tasket – creative writing … drama … music history
• Bingo – spelling practice
• Down By the Bay – Social Studies … creative writing

These are just a few ideas to open the door to using songs for teaching in many subject areas. Of course, don’t forget to sing the songs… just for fun!
For more ideas about integrating Songs for Teaching into other areas of the curriculum, visit the music section of Scruffy Plume’s site Play Scripts and Songs for Teaching.

Teaching your child tolerance makes moral sense, as well as economic sense. In this era of rapid globalization, it is likely that your child will grow up to interact and do business with people from vastly different cultures from different corners of the world. Helping children adapt to different peoples and cultures with genuine respect and comfort will likely expand their opportunities and success in life. Tolerance is not simply tolerating differences among people, but refers to a broad respect and appreciation. The following strategies will teach your child to value difference, rather than fear it.

1.It is OK to talk about differences.
Tolerance is not about pretending everybody is the same. Teach your child that it is OK to recognize and discuss differences. People have different beliefs, look differently, and have different customs. These differences arent good or bad, per se, they are simply different. Curiosity is fine as long it is accompanied by an attitude of respect and not judgment.

2.Expose your child to diversity.
Perhaps the best way to develop an appreciation of diversity is through exposure. Exposure to others teaches the anxious child not to fear differences. Whether it is through school, an extracurricular activity or travel, encourage your child to interact with different kinds of people, and be positive about cross cultural friendships.

3.Bear witness to the commonalities of the human condition.
People from all cultures have families, care for children, work hard, and exhibit kindness and loyalty to their loved ones. So while people vary tremendously in terms of beliefs, culture and traditions there is an underlying humanity which unites us all. Look for points of connection on this deeper level, and discuss them with your children.

4.Get to Know Individuals
Reject stereotypes and get to know people from other cultures as individuals. Recognize the tremendous variation within a culture, and dont be presumptuous about what people are like or what they value. Let the individual show you who they are, just as you would with someone within your own culture.

5.Educate yourself and your children.
Learn about other cultures, lifestyles, and religions. This can be done through travel, movies, books and food, or simply by having your culturally different neighbors to dinner.

6.Model tolerance.
Long before you introduce your child to the concept of tolerance, he will have been observing your interactions with the world. Do you stick with your own kind or do you interact with and befriend people from diverse backgrounds? Do you demonstrate fear or reticence around people who look differently, have a different religion, or different sexual orientation? Do you get to know people for who they are, and reject stereotypes?

Cindy Jett, LICSW is a psychotherapist and author of Harry the Happy Caterpillar Grows, an acclaimed picture book that helps the anxious child face his fears and helps children adapt to change.

One of the most important tasks of parenting is to help children become independent, so that as adults, they can take care of themselves and pursue their dreams. Teaching independence is a long process, beginning in toddlerhood and (hopefully) ending sometime in early adulthood. These skills will help children adapt to new circumstances over the course of a lifetime. Below are some tips to help kids develop independence as they mature.

1.Give children increasing responsibility.

Teach children that they are important contributors to the family, and give them age appropriate chores. When they are five years old, they may help to fold the laundry, when they are ten they may help with yard work, when they are fifteen, they may help prepare family meals. As children approach their later teen years, they should know how to do most household chores (cooking, cleaning, laundry, and yard work); so that when they leave home they are ready to function independently.

2.Encourage kids to try things themselves first.

At times parents over function for kids, and kids become trained to ask for help rather than try things themselves. Whenever a child asks for help, if it is a task that you believe he can do on his own, ask him to try to do it himself first. If he tries, and doesnt know how to complete a task, offer him help, but teach him how to do the task rather than doing it for him.

3.Teach kids to solve their own disputes.

Young children will often ask parents to solve disputes between siblings or friends. When children are very young, this is an appropriate role for parents. However, once children develop problem solving ability, encourage them to work out issues among themselves, and to approach you only if someone is in danger or the problem is intractable. If you do step in to help a child work out a dispute with a sibling or friend, act as an arbitrary in a negotiation so that you are modeling how to problem solve with others. If there is any bullying or abuse involved in the dispute, assume an authoritative role and discipline the offending child as needed.

4.Teach kids how to manage money.

Teach kids how to handle money, including earning money, saving money, prioritizing spending, and giving to others. When they are very young, you can begin be teaching them to save a portion of their money, spend a portion and perhaps donate a portion of by helping with special tasks. By the time kids are teenagers, they should be able to understand how to make a simple budget. Having kids earn their own spending money during the high school years with a part time job, is a great way to introduce them to the real world of providing for oneself.

5.Teach kids to set goals.

When your child discovers an interest or a passion in life, teach him how to set broad goals and smaller goals as a means to achieving the larger goal. Talk with your child about setbacks, and the importance of persistence in any endeavor. Some children will give up on goals prematurely due to anxiety about failure. Teach the anxious child that failure is an inevitable part of the journey. Children who can identify what they want, set goals, and persist despite setbacks are well on the way to independence.

Cindy Jett, LICSW is a psychotherapist and author of Harry the Happy Caterpillar Grows, an acclaimed picture book that helps the anxious child face his fears and helps children adapt to change.

Practicing kindness generates good feeling, a broader understanding of the world, and fosters happiness in both the giver and receiver. Most people would agree that it is an important virtue to teach our children. Here are some strategies to encourage kindness in children.

Teach empathy.

The bedrock of kindness is empathy, the ability to put oneself in someone elses shoes and feel compassion for their experience. Help children adapt to different kinds of people and encourage them to look below the surface. Why is that little boy so quiet? Is he shy? Afraid? Why might a friend seem sad? Is there something your child can do to help them feel better? Ask your child what helps him when he experiences similar feelings, and encourage him to try out different ways of being there for others.

Teach manners.

Help your child understand that manners arent simply conventions; they are ways of showing respect for and honoring other people. A rule, such as not interrupting others, is way of valuing what someone has to say. Saying thank you is a way of showing gratitude and acknowledging someone elses effort.

Be kind to your kids.

Show your children that you love them, respect them and value their feelings. Practice good manners with them. Never berate your children or call them names.

Set limits with your kids.

Being kind doesnt mean that you are always nice. Children need limits and to need to respect your authority. They will need to be told when they are out of line and punished accordingly. Limits are about teaching your child how to be in the world and to treat others with respect. In many ways, setting limits is a way of teaching children the standards of respectful and kind behavior.

Reinforce acts of kindness in children.

If your daughter brings you a bouquet of flowers, show your joy. If you see your son sharing his favorite game with a friend, acknowledge it. Encourage children to give cards when people are sick or to thank them for gifts.

Encourage children to be kind to the world at large.

Reach out in your community in some way. Perhaps you can volunteer at a local soup kitchen, visit the sick or the elderly, or walk the dogs at the local animal shelter. Often, giving back to the world can be a family practice.

Model kindness.

Treat others with respect, demonstrate thoughtfulness, volunteer, and practice empathy. Children are more likely to internalize what you do, than what you say to do.

Cindy Jett, LICSW is a psychotherapist and author of Harry the Happy Caterpillar Grows, an acclaimed picture book that helps the anxious child face his fears and helps children adapt to change.

Most states today require a teacher to obtain a bachelor’s degree in teaching, and then to go through an approved teacher development program, which is principally a year spent as a student teacher.  Some states require their teachers to hold master’s degrees, and all states require some degree of preparation after graduating with a bachelor’s degree.  The certification requirements can be filled with layered demands that begin with a baccalaureate degree, but then fold in requirements for additional study beyond student teaching.

At the secondary school level and in middle school teachers stick to one subject – math, chemistry, history, and their undergraduate work varies accordingly.  In general teaching requirements are no longer so clear cut and they vary from state to state.  If you want to teach somewhere in the Kindergarten through high school range (K-12) you should consult the certification requirements for the state where you wish to teach.  Generally they can be found online at the state’s Department of Education website.

While it is true that states are the certifying bodies for teaching credentials, there are many instances where school districts have sought and received permission to bend the requirements a little in order to fill their teaching ranks.  There has been a chronic shortage of teachers for years; for that reason many of the states have softened their requirements somewhat and will work with districts that have especially acute problems.  Some states have special programs for people who already hold a bachelor’s degree but in some subject other than teaching.

Math and science teachers seem particularly scarce in many districts, as do special education teachers.  Many school districts have been whipsawed by reduced funding from the state and increased mandates from the No Child Left Behind Act, as well as absolute ceilings on class size imposed by statewide statute.

You can obtain a bachelor’s degree in education for K-12 teaching from most colleges and universities.  Many online schools offer teaching degrees as well, but in most cases they cannot provide complete preparation for the credentialing process because in all states there is a requirement for student teaching hours in an elementary, middle or high school.  Some schools known for their distance learning degrees also operate campuses in many states, and some of those have arrangements for student teaching hours with nearby schools.

If you want to teach, begin by determining what the requirements are for your state.  If you have previous college credits determine how many would be transferrable to your pursuit of a teaching degree.  Many states also require a certain number of credit hours in specific subjects from their middle school and high school teachers; if that’s where you wish to end up you need to study credentialing requirements for that reason as well.

If this is for you, do your research and get underway. If you have work hours or children that are a concern, get in touch with an accredited online college about taking the classroom requirements via distance learning, and then ask the same questions of the state department of education or the personnel office in your local school district.  Today there is surely a way to obtain a teaching credential without devoting your entire life to four years of on-campus study.

Bob Hartzell writes about careers for On the website you’ll find comprehensive resources about teaching degrees as well as information on education opportunities for hundreds of other professions.

Many people want the best for their animals, trying to get them to go to canine obedience, dog daycare, and pet stylists but the best things you can do to teach your animal is to teach them your self because after all you want them to obey you and not necessarily someone else which could possibly happen if you are allowing someone else to teach them to listen to a person.

The best way to teach your animal is to sign up for training lessons with a professional, and these will not be too expensive and will a great way for someone to teach you how to teach your animal which will be important because they will not always be there to tell you what to do or be there to make your animal listen to you so you will want to take notes or memorize what they tell you to do so that you can use that information for yourself when you are at home.

But many of us do not have time for these long classes which may not be available near you or may be too far away from your home or perhaps are scheduled for times that are inconvenient for you, so there are some easy tips to get started training your animal to obey you.

The best way to make sure that your animal listens to you when you call it is to make sure that it thinks that it will get a treat or some other type of positive reinforcement when it does come, so what you will want to do is to have someone hold the animal at some distance away from you, you will then want to tell them to “come” saying it in a firm voice, and making sure that you are keeping the tone consistent every time that you do this so that the animal can recognize it and will know what to do.

Once the animal comes to you, you will want to give it a small treat and praise it by saying “good boy” so that it can correlate the positive attention and the treat to coming when it is called, and then you will start to alternate having treats and not having treats, and then try many with no treats at all, to see whether they will obey and will come if the voice pith and tone are right and still give them the positive reinforcement.

You will want this to occur over several days and even weeks repeating this process or just stretching it out over the length of that period so that it takes effect slowly so the animal will be conditioned to listen to you when you call them, and will not just forget what it is supposed to do because you did not spend enough time teaching them what they are supposed to do when they hear you make a certain sound, and always remember that positive and negative reinforcement are good, but hitting your animal will never teach them constructively it will only hurt them.

Chuck Stewart recently reviewed canine obedience techniques while trying to figure out how to train his dog Francie. He also reviewed dog daycare facilities while looking for a vacation home for his dog.