Teaching is, for me anyway, a very intuitive process. What isn’t so intuitive is recording and tracking everything. That said, I’ve had a good deal of fun putting together the videos at the Itsy Bitsy Spider Page, with the exception of the daily battle with the intarwubs.
My second year in Spain, the children in the 4-year-old class loved the Itsy-Bitsy Spider, in part because we had a great version of it sung by Sho, Mo, and the Monkey Bunch, a jazz group. They also loved it because we sang it just about every day. We made spiders with them of various kinds, but the spider puppet that is on this site was one of their favorites!
Separately, I had done the song with some private students and made a book. I wrote in the words and they drew the pictures, we stapled the whole thing together, and from what I understand, they made their parents read it to them relatively often. With those same students, I had more freedom to do what I wanted and not follow a set curriculum, so we also did a lot more art projects.
Being a Fiber and Print Media Artist by training, towards the end of the year, when I was running out of ideas, I thought of the mono-types I did while at SAIC, and thought, “That would be a very cool project to do with the kids.”
But you see, panels of glass don’t fit well with the idea of art-studio-in-a-backpack. They are heavy and fragile. So I had to come up with another way to get the project done. So, one day I was in a Euro-Bazaar– like a Dollar Store– and saw those plastic sheet protectors that are omnipresent and thought, “Hey, that would work, let me test it out.”
Anyway, to make a long story short, the project is a compilation of various projects that worked for me with various groups of children. It is exciting how the ideas from one place trickle in to other places. The finished project is a puppet, and a book.
Being a teacher is a unique opportunity if we can open ourselves to the ideas that flow. Children, while in some ways limited, are in some ways more free than grown-ups. They can’t do everything because they are in the process of learning how to do it, but because they don’t know how, they often make things up that grown-ups would never try.
In the series of videos about the project, I have yet to film the one about how to use the book. It is the most exciting part. Hopefully you may see it before the weekend, let’s hope my internet connection cooperates.
This is a lesson which I prepared to teach EFL students in Spain. In it they practice numbers, learn to indicate up and down, practice the weather, and learn how to ask some questions. This project was done with children between six and nine years of age.