In this reflection I will be focusing on instructional strategies and classroom management.
In terms of instructional strategies, I think I did a good job of selecting and implementing a variety of methods of instruction in order to engage students in different ways. In this clip, I have facilitated classroom discussions, a presentation of notes accompanied by a dialogue between myself and the students, and two videos of different natures. I think something that I did well in these different strategies is that I did not do them in isolation – after watching videos, we discussed what we saw. When taking notes, the students were interacting with me, instead of me just talking at them. I think that by choosing to have students watch a clip of a reading of the Declaration, they were able to engage with the document more than had they just read it (and by providing them with the option to also read it, I made the information more accessible to different kinds of learners).
Looking back on this clip and lesson, I wonder how the students felt about the note taking part. Typically, I would have made slides for them to be projected on the Smartboard so that they could take notes off of that, but I had seen my cooperating teacher write notes like this on the board before, so I thought I would try it out. I think it worked well, but I am curious to know how the students perceived it. The first time I taught this lesson, I had students watch the entire video of the reading of the Declaration; in this clip (immediately following this clip), I chose to just focus on the list of grievances section, as I observed that the first group of student lost interest in the longer video. I think this was a good change, but I also wish I had found an engaging way for students to be exposed to the entire document, as it is so important in our nation’s history. I wonder if maybe I should have had students read the first part of the Declaration, watch the grievances section, and then finish with them reading the end of it – it is something I will have to think about!
For classroom management, I think I did a much better job of managing the classroom in this clip than I had in other instances. There were minimal instances where students were talking amongst each other at inappropriate times. I could have done better during the first video, with the students in the back who were talking at the beginning and a little bit throughout. At the time I did not find it to be too distracting, and I knew that they were reacting to the video, so I did not say anything to them. When watching the video, I was distracted by it, so I am sure that students sitting around them were also distracted. To improve this, I could have gone over and stood near the group of students, implicitly reminding them to be quiet with my proximity to them – and by being closer,I could have quietly asked them to quiet down, avoiding having to “make a scene” in front of the class by asking them to quiet down from the front.
In another instance I am giving directions about the next task and students in the back are talking. I am able to just say, “Listen up” to them and they do, allowing me to smoothly continue giving instructions – it didn’t become a big, or awkward, thing. I think that by outlining what we were going to do for the class at the beginning of the lesson, I gave students the opportunity to get focused on the tasks and the content and they consequently were attentive and well-behaved. I think that by the way I structured the note taking – reading what I was writing out loud, writing in big letters, writing concise notes, and asking the students to give me information they know – I was able to manage the class well; there really weren’t many side conversations and students appeared to be engaged. In the future, I would be more direct in asking students if they had finished taking notes, and perhaps even going around the room to make sure they had had enough time to get everything written down, instead of assuming their completion by their looking up at me.
Overall I think that this clip (and the lesson in general) went really well. I really enjoyed teaching this lesson, and I think that the students enjoyed it AND learned from it – which is the whole point!