I am pretty well known with the people in my life for relating most things back to teaching – I visit a cool place and I’m planning a field trip in my head, see interesting art work and I’m visualizing the student friendly version – you get the picture! So today I want to talk a little bit about my main sources of inspiration for my classroom (temporary class until end of November) in hopes that you can share your inspirations too and we can all feel a little bit more inspired together…

Team Teaching

This year in math I have been working with one of the learning assistance teachers at school to do some team teaching. Not only have I been learning a lot from her but it has also inspired a lot of creativity in us! We have planned lessons related to cookie recipes for ratios and short form texting for percentages. Not only have we had a lot of fun planning these (sometimes silly/goofy/ridiculous) lessons but it’s also made the rest of my teaching a lot more creative as well! The plan behind these lessons is to introduce a unit in a way that is fun, based on real life, and an easy introduction to the necessary steps a student needs to know.

Quotes

I don’t know why but quotes have always been a very powerful source of inspiration for me. I love looking up quotes about balance, teaching, leadership, mindfulness… really anything that relates to my life. I often find that just reading these quotes and making small mantras out of some of them really increase my capacity to find inspiration in other places. One of my favourites this year that has really been in the back of my mind through my planning, teaching and marking came from a workshop back in September that I was at. I can’t remember the exact quote or who said it (please let me know if you know it!) but it was something along the lines of “we need to make math irresistible to students.” I just love the idea and the passion that I feel when I hear that word irresistible used with math – not only are we trying to break down the barriers of math being “too hard” or “not for me” but let’s also try to make it so engaging and enjoyable that students love it and want to do more (like reading for many students).

Childhood Favourites

In the back of my mind I must have known that I wanted to be a teacher since I was little (even though I didn’t admit it until I was 19 – coming from a family of teachers and trying to be fiercely independent) because I kept everything that I might need one day. I have a bookshelf full of novels and pictures books from when I was a kid and in my box of childhood memorabilia I have found various projects from throughout the years that I love to adapt and bring into my own teaching practice. Last year students had a great time looking through my old poetry book from grade 12 English before they made their own and a variety of other projects remain in the “one day” pile of things that I want to do.

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Two in One Animal Books

Most recently I have started planning a science project that is based on these little books that were favourites of my brother and I when we were kids…

It took me a little while to find a copy online (these books were my brother’s and I guess he wasn’t as considerate of my future when he decided to give this set away) but I now have one in my hands to use as an example for my next exciting science project! To study the differences with ocean/freshwater living environments my students will be making their own books to show two different animals. I can’t wait to see one of my childhood favourites come to life. If it goes well you might see it up on our TeachersPayTeachers site soon!

Professional Community

This will probably always be the number one way I find inspiration for my job and I am so lucky to have amazing people in my life that help me reflect and improve my practice. The new online community that I’ve discovered has also become a wealth of knowledge, opportunity and inspiration for teaching.

This weekend was full of opportunities for me to talk “teacher talk” (without annoying everyone in my presence). I had some good teacher talk after school on Friday with a few colleagues to start it off. And then my good friend from university was in town so we talked a lot and visited with a couple other teachers and spent the whole night talking about everything from curriculum to sharing funny classroom stories – what a refreshing time!

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Some of my creations at Art Club

After all that I had my art club this afternoon that has become a wonderful opportunity to talk with other teachers while feeling completely immersed and inspired by art (something I rarely take the time to do on my own).

I’ve found this year that I have been really pushing myself to take more opportunities to expand my professional learning community and access many other people’s thoughts and ideas. I’m so thankful for all these people but I am also working hard at making sure I stay open to new ideas as much as possible.

Meaghan