Getting up close and personal with the "Science Sisters"!
When Miss Tara joined our teaching team in August of 2011, we had no idea that we would also be learning from her dynamic twin sister, Miss Sara! Miss Tara is our Science and Art teacher, and the homeroom teacher for the "South" group (Kindergarten). Miss Sara is our resident penguin expert, and will be teaching many of the science lessons during the Penguins theme this January. In this special report we have the pleasure of interviewing both Miss Sara –- who is visiting from Antarctica -– and Miss Tara. Although these wonderful women look very similar...they are very different!
1. What three things could you never live without?
Tara: Chocolate, Coffee and Camping.
Sara: Puffy Socks, Peppermint Tea and Penguins.
2. Have you ever had a "near death" experience? Were you scared?
Tara: As a young girl I was nearly mauled by a cougar, and as a teenager I came within meters of a black bear -– both while camping in the wilderness of Vancouver Island.
Sara: Once...at the Oak Bay Tea Party....I nearly fell out of the ride called the "Sky Master”!
3. Did you ever get in trouble about anything when you were a child?
4. What was your favourite subject in school?
Tara: ART throughout my school years, and ENGLISH in high school and university. Believe it or not, it was my own Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Owens, who inspired the artist within me. I will forever treasure her encouragement and belief in my unique abilities. Her spirit inspires me to this day!
Sara: SCIENCE. My most memorable experience was an aquarium of tadpoles which came to life in my Grade 4 classroom in Victoria. Observing life from tadpole to toad was a very formative experience for me, and one that keeps me in Antarctica witnessing daily the cycle of life.
5. What does "mindfulness" mean to you?
Tara: To be completely present in the moment -– to stop and focus completely on a task, look deep into the eyes of the person I am sharing something with, or to sink to the ground and just be with my surroundings. This is the ultimate, and what I strive for both for myself and those around me. Mindfulness to me changes; it ebbs and flows with the unique moments of each day. To be present in what I am currently doing is always my goal.
Sara: Mindfulness to me is an awareness -- of the world, of myself, and of the needs and desires of all those I share space with. It is sort of like tuning into a language that we all speak without words.
6. Tell us about a time when you failed at something. What did you learn?
Tara: Many things in my life have come easy, but public speaking has been a struggle for me for many years. I recall a few times throughout my schooling when my nerves got the best of me, and I felt that I was unsuccessful at a presentation. For me this continues to be a work in progress, and each time I do speak to a large group of adults, I grow and learn. Your opinion of yourself is the only one that matters, and there is always a path to what you seek. Detours are just an opportunity to learn.
Sara: I failed my very first driving test as a teen...and although it took me almost two years to overcome my fear of failing again, I went back, passed and got my licence. And while I am licensed to drive in B.C. now...I still prefer tobogganing with the penguins.
"Becoming" the theme or topic of study is my teaching passion. It is in the experience that I create with my students that the genuine magic of learning comes to life. Such engagement in materials can be found in the instant retention of facts and information. Rather than asking students to simply listen and apply what the teacher speaks about, the students themselves guide their exploration and interact with the materials through hands-on experience. A thematic lesson that presents learners with cognitive, emotional and physical interactions with their materials engages the mind and body, and meets a variety of learning needs. When facts and information are presented in a tangible way, they actually become REAL things that are enjoyed, digested and quickly retained through deep engagement rather than by rote memory. It is the experience itself that becomes the learning. As a teacher, I believe that it is natural and imperative to build enthusiasm and excitement into every teaching topic. The creative minds at ArtsCalibre Academy thrive in such an environment. When the teacher is charged by the spark of a child's passionate interest, their students are surely drawn into the lesson. It becomes "our" lesson...and the focus of both teacher and student is on the exploration of a concept, fueled by a common goal -– to live, breathe and to truly become the learning journey.
-– Miss Tara
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