~Steven Waller - History Teacher~


This section is dedicated to my teaching methods and philosophy



Teaching Philosophy:

A teacher should be one who helps facilitate student learning as well as inspiring students to greater interest and achievement. A classroom should be decorated and organized in a theatrical manner to transition the students from the outside world to one of fascination. In order to bring this about, it is the role of the teacher to create a well-structured and organized environment.

History and Art are my passions therefore I am striving to be a teacher that not only educates, but fascinates and inspires students. It's the role of the teacher to, not only explain to students the importance of history but strive to find creative ways to pull history out of the textbook.



Classroom Methods:

The following are a sample of photographs of my classrooms and methods.

    

I enjoy drawing visuals with colored chalk to enhance the learning environment. The Cyclops pictured here was part of a unit on the Odyssey when I taught 9th grade Language Arts. The students really love these visual enhancements to the lessons.



    

I painted this map as a learning tool to help the students better understand the wanderings and adventures of Odysseus. As the class progressed through the story the students also tracked the progress of Odysseus from point to point with a piece of red yarn and a picture of his ship. The map provided a visual reference in reviewing the storie's plot, while giving me the opportunity to add music and sound effects at key points along the way.


    

My chalk drawn characters are always popular. They serve as a focal point for the lesson and is an effective and humorous method of conveying messages to the students. They tend to remember the message better because it comes from the character and not the teacher. Shakespeare was used here to convey messages and words of encouragement to the students during the study of Romeo and Juliet. I would constantly have him saying different things, such as, "To pass or not to pass, that is the question?". The students always looked forward to seeing what he had to say.



    

Here I am with some of my students. They were wearing helmets that I used in the classroom while teaching about the Renaissance for the study of Romeo and Juliet. Things of this kind do wonders for pulling history out of the textbook. I am a strong believer in using original artifacts that were part of history, as well as using authentically made replicas that the students can hold to get a feel for what they were like. My philosophy is, that although a picture is worth a thousand words, an artifact is worth a thousand pictures. I used one of these helmets during a lesson on the English Civil War while teaching World History. The class became excited at the sight of the helmet, and once they were able to hold it, feel how heavy it is, bang on it, and try it on, all the historical pictures I used afterwards became incredibly more significant.


    

Here are other historical figures drawn on the board for the study of some other subjects.




The students always enjoy it when I depict the months on the board with some kind of decorative theme. I always try to present the first letter of the month as either a character or decoration that has something to do with a holiday during the month.



I acquired these statues while in Egypt and had them shipped back to be used in the classroom to enhance the lessons and the atmosphere of the class. The students especially enjoy their large scale. The one on the right is four feet high and the one on the left is six feet high.





I enjoy using theater in the class to help bring out the drama of history! One way of doing this is to use lighting, sound, and various other special effects. To learn more gohere.



Students look forward to having their work posted. As you can see, I always try to decorate quizzes and tests and other papers with historical characters from the topics being studied. The students especially enjoy it when I draw them myself and add comments from the characters as pictured here. It provides another way of encouraging students. Click on the picture to learn more and see additional pictures.

Click on the picture to learn more and see additional pictures.



The students especially enjoy it
when I wear original or authentically
made replica uniforms or other various outfits to go along with the
particular lessons.

I also enjoy wearing theme ties to match the subject the students are studying. In order to keep the students paying attention to the tie and therefore the subject of the day, I have created a mystery tie contest. I tell the students that I have a really wierd tie that looks like a regular tie, but is of a really wierd subject. I tell them that I'll wear the tie at some time during the semester, but most likely when they're least expecting it. Whoever is the first to figure out that I'm wearing the tie and what it depicts, will get a big wad of candy to be dumped on their desk and is allowed to eat it in class in front of everyone else.



Here is the classroom as it appeared on the last day of school.
Go here to see how it appeared during the holidays.


My students are important to me, so I set up a buffet of treats for the last day of school




This was my 9th grade 6th period Language Arts class at Hawthorne High.






The above two photos are of my 11th grade 6th period U.S. History class during
student teaching at Narbonne High.



I now teach fulltime at Narbonne High School.





Resources and Materials:

The following are ideas that I formulated and collected for classroom management and instruction.




(PAT)

Preffered Activity Time



The printable graphics shown here are the directions to learning game activities that I formulated that go with the Fred Jones classroom management methods shown below.

Print Me! Print Me!




       
     
       
Here I am with Fred Jones during the
Fred Jones Classroom Management
Training Seminar in Phoenix, Arizona
in 2002.
     
This was one of my classes playing Basketball,
one of the favorite activities that my classes
always look forward to on Fridays. I designed
the classroom version with modifications by
my students. The students enjoy making the
academic questions that the game is centered
around based on material studied throughout
the week. A printable version of the directions
is located above. This game and others like it
are part of a classroom management approach
that centers on incentives rather than punishments.
You can learn more about this approach by linking to
Fred Jones' web site, located below.



Book Recommendations:



Classroom Management:

I Highly recommend getting both of these books. The knowledge to be learned and the skills to be gained by a consistent practice of what is taught by the authors is indespensible to conducting oneself proffessionally with the resulting organized class.
  • Tools for Teaching - by Fred Jones
    • The First Days of School - by Harry Wong




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