The Whole Child

As a third grade teacher, I sometimes get caught up and distracted by the fast approaching EQAO assessment.  Our school doesn’t fair very well in the EQAO world and there is a lot of talk about getting the students ready.  One way our school is preparing students for the assessment is by providing them practice runs at previous EQAO questions.  As Sangeeta mentioned in a previous post, I also worry about the amount of pen and paper tasks our students complete.  Don’t get me wrong, knowing how to read and write are VERY important skills that must be acquired, but there are many ways to learn how to read, THINK and write, technology being one.

As we neared the end of the calendar year, I allowed myself to forget about EQAO and teach the way I taught when I taught grades 4 and 5 and kindergarten!  Even though my students receive their music and art instruction from other teachers, I decided to include it in my program as well. Visual literacy, music, drama, art, movement, design and technology were springboards for incredible thinking and prompted the most meaningful and well crafted writing I have assessed so far this year!   More importantly, the level of engagement in my class springboard as I observed students focus and participate in ways I was not able to observe when I did not integrate the arts in my teaching.

I know this! Why do I allow myself to get caught up in the EQAO frenzy?  Don’t get me wrong. I actually like the EQAO assessment and take the responsibility of teaching STUDENTS the Ontario curriculum very seriously— but sometimes I think we get turned around and teach the CURRICULUM to students.  I think there is a difference.   My goal for 2012, is to make sure I teach to the WHOLE CHILD everyday and allow students to explore the curriculum in different ways before bringing out the pen and paper:)