Be a Beacon! The Art of Teaching

Are you a beacon of learning for your students? Showing them the way and leading them to new adventures? Giving them the confidence to explore unknown waters? I have always thought "just tell me what standards you want me to teach and give me the freedom to find a way to make it unforgettable to students." This is what lead me to research in brain-based learning and finding strategies that reach all students.

"When you go fishing, do you use bait that you like, or bait the fish like?" Teachers should teach with strategies that best facilitate children's learning. I had the good fortune of meeting Marcia Tate, a renown brain-based educator, who has identified 20 teaching strategies that she calls Tate's 20. Together, we collaborated to write a book called "Science Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites". It provides science lessons incorporating each of the 20 strategies. Having taught for 40 years, I can tell you that these lessons can be unforgettable to students.

For example, using music, I wrote a song for every unit that I teach. These songs I call Sing Along Science, using melodies that they are already familiar with that often become "earworms". Changing the lyrics (with science info/concepts) and adding movements places the information into the amygdala and hippo-campus, parts of the brain where information is stored for life!

Music and movement are just two of the strategies that can create unforgettable lessons. When I incorporate these into lessons, most EVERY student can grasp the content and concepts. So, the next time that you are worried about teacher evaluations and student performance, think about different strategies that will make the learning painless, and the lessons memorable!

Warren Phillips is a workshop presenter who has taught seventh grade science & service learning for 38 years. He has a B.A. in Earth Sciences, an M.A.T. in Teaching Physical Sciences and an M. ED. in Instructional Technology from Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, Mass. In 1999, he was selected as a PALMS teacher leader. He's a contributing writer for the Prentice-Hall Science Explorer series and has written curriculum for Northeastern University's Project SEED and the Plymouth Public Schools science curriculum. He's also a certified JASON Project teacher trainer. He passed the teaching certification given by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) in 2000. Warren was selected as a finalist for the Massachusetts Presidential award in 2001, 2002, and 2003. Read More...

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