ST Blog – Week 15

Resources:

  • 2011 by Hoyle
  • Factcheck.org
  • Snopes
  • Trump Articles (Thumbs up and Thumbs Down)
  • Google Timelapse
  • Lonely Planet
  • Metrocosm Video
  • Technology Video – “Supersized Earth” https://docur.co/documentary/supersized-earth-a-place-to-live
  • Videos about Trump
    • Thumbs Up http://insider.foxnews.com/2017/04/22/corey-lewandowski-president-trump-accomplishments-first-100-days
    • Thumbs Down https://safeshare.tv/x/3u0M4syuNo0

 

Lessons Taught:

  • Example of geography and climate of New York City
  • Trump Debate Challenge v. Miss Menard
  • Subbed one day – video about technology, claims about Trump’s first 100 days

 

Thoughts I Had During the Week:

  • Using Hoyle’s 2011 was really neat, because it’s futuristic predictions both matched up and didn’t match up to our lives today.  It fostered some great discussions and students were really into it.
  • CT used great real life example when talking about wants versus needs – his water suit. Actually brought it in. Kids thought it was cool. Nice to be able to make connections to real life
  • With springtime, coming back from vacation — classroom management was a bit tricky at times.  CT had to really make a statement early in the week to dial students back in – “How do you want me to remember you?”
  • One student has been having an extremely difficult time dealing with her mother’s death – for months it’s been a struggle to even have her in class. Teachers and administrators on the same page about being firmer with her, but it’s gotten really hard – it’s turned into babysitting. I understand that it’s important for her to be in the classroom learning with her peers, but she refuses to do anything and is distracting to everyone else in the class and bringing a few others down with her.  School isn’t the best environment for her to be in, but there aren’t really other options.
  • Debate Challenge with Miss Menard – challenging the reigning “smartypants” of the classroom.  I prepared two opposing claims for Trump’s first 100 days, and students could choose to take me on for either claim.  First class – they didn’t refute my claim, but shared their own claims – I won the debate (voted by CT and para).  Second class – went really well.  They challenged me on a lot of my points, and I wasn’t sure how to respond on some of those challenges. One student who is super politically charged was able to keep herself composed and rational which was great. No vote happened, we “tied”. It was a really great example for students to see how to make a claim and support it with evidence.
  • CT is planning a sendoff for me (only a little while longer!), calling it “Operation Baller”, sending me out of the classroom sometimes so they can prepare. 🙂

 

 

Teacher Meme of the Week:

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ST Blog – Week 15

ST Blog – Week 14

Resources:

  • NY Times Videos https://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/03/10/8-compelling-mini-documentaries-to-teach-close-reading-and-critical-thinking-skills/?_r=0
  • Naviance (Goal-setting)

Lessons Taught:

  • Survey mini-lesson
  • Sovereign State Challenge: Hunger/Famine
  • Reflection of Game – Are rewards what motivate humans?
  • Racism video and discussion

Thoughts I had during the week:

  • Walking students through goal-setting – can be tedious, but important for them to know what kinds of goals to set and to set realistic goals – those that are achievable
  • For Sovereign State Challenge, we really let go of the reigns and let students just play the game. It was interesting to see how it developed, what ideas students came up with, and how they interacted with one another.
    • War broke out (like the game “Risk”)
    • What happened in one class was different than what happened in another (the first class “saved” the second class from having to take action on the hunger challenge)
  • Having students reflect is so important – reflection should have their own thoughts and opinions but should also include evidence. In this Sovereign State Game, students could use evidence from their discussions on Chatzy, from the materials in their folders, and their flowcharts
  • The last day before a vacation is tough to plan – kind of have to back off and do something that is engaging but not too heavy.  With the 7th grade, I had a “heavier” video and discussion for students to engage with, whereas the other two videos were “lighter” – it’s important to have that balance any day, but especially on the last day before break.

Teacher Meme of the Week:

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ST Blog – Week 14

ST Blog – Week 13

Some important resources:

  • Thematic maps

Lessons Taught:

  • India thematic map (literacy and population)
  • Helping students practice career presentations
  • Example of bill project (elderly driving license bill)
  • Led discussion about economic terms in news
  • Making group work contract

Thoughts I Had During the Week:

  • One student had an awesome answer in a group discussion that I wasn’t expecting – left me speechless in a good way.
  • Working on district assessment, had to sit with one student and literally give him everything he needs to get his work done. Needs constant pushing
  • Career Presentations – great to see what students experienced. Really great to see student with ASD present.
  • Delayed start – PLP/Content meetings. Created shorter class periods.
  • Confusion about expectations of district assessment for both grades, even though it was talked about before. How do you make it clearer?
  • I had a day that I didn’t want to be in school – not feeling good physically or mentally. I went to school because I knew cooperating teacher needed me – had to suck it up.
  • Bill project – one group doing weed bill. Great conversations, but they can get too caught up in the talking part – will need direction to stay focused as project goes on.
  • Outright refusal – “I won’t sign something that says I’m doing work, why would I do that?” A struggle with this student. Cooperating teacher has to be firm with him.
  • Some students not using class time productively, but district assessment due next week – have been given SO much class time to work, really no excuses

 

Teacher Meme of the Week:

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ST Blog – Week 13

ST Blog – Week 12

Some important resources:

Lessons taught:

  • Subbed – working on district assessments for both classes

Thoughts I Had During the Week:

  • A lot of this week was “recovering” from student teaching – grading work, getting missing assignments from students, processing, and beginning work on my portfolio entry. Boy I was tired this week.
  • District Assessments – 7th: Economy and Geography (looking at two maps over time), 8th: Journaling (taking my prompts and turning them into one longer journal).  Thoughts about journaling – it would have been better for me to have known what my cooperating teacher was looking for in the district assessment so that I could have better prepared students – but, it turned out to be okay.
  • I had my first interview for a teaching job! I passed the first round and then made it to the second where I had to teach a lesson to a group of students at the school – an interesting experience for sure!
  • Having to constantly guide certain students is really hard – can’t sit with more than one student at a time. How do you get students to not drag their feet?
  • Syria – yet another example of why teaching social studies is so important!!

 

Teacher Meme of the Week:

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ST Blog – Week 12

ST Blog – SOLO TEACHING – Weeks 10&11

I did it… I made it through my two week solo teaching period!!!!! WOW 😀

What can I say – solo teaching is hard. I have been exhausted for the last two weeks. When I came home from my last day of the solo, I took a six hour nap… you could say I was tired.

Although I was only required to independently construct one unit, I took on the challenge of doing two, as the seventh and eighth grade curriculum differ.  For the seventh grade, we looked at economics, including economic basics (such as wants, needs, choices, consumers, and barter), economic systems, supply and demand,  entrepreneurship, and trade.  For the eighth grade, we looked at the origins and history of the Industrial Revolution (IR), IR technology, culture of the Gilded Age, and labor unions.

One of my biggest take-aways from my solo was the fact that I made countless changes to both of my units – ultimately I ended on completely different notes than I had originally planned.  This was a great experience, and totally realistic of what a teacher goes through.  It was cool to be able to make adjustments as I saw fit, according to how the students were receiving and reacting to the material.

I think that I was successful in creating engaging learning opportunities for students.  I diversified my instructional and assessment methods in order to attempt to meet the unique needs of individual learners, and of the needs of the different groups as a whole. I believe that I made the expectations clear and made myself and the material accessible for all students.

One area for growth is my classroom management strategies.  My first week, I did not have to use much strict classroom management because the students were still getting used to me being the authority figure.  However, the second week proved a bit more difficult as students grew more comfortable – they were trying to see how far they could push it with me. I admit that there were situations in which I could have been more firm, but often in those moments I found myself trying to concentrate on the rest of the class and not on the individual student causing the problem.  Also, I had never seen my cooperating teacher send students to the office before, so although I knew that was an option I had, I didn’t feel comfortable doing it myself.

Another area for improvement would be my timeliness in giving feedback to students.  I tried to keep up with grading assessments, but I found myself short of time everyday as I planned for the next. Although I reminded students multiple times of their assignments (and also had the responsibilities posted digitally and physically on the board), by the end of my solo there were a handful of students missing a lot of work.  If I had been more proactive after the first week to give that feedback, it likely would have been easier now for students to finish up the remaining work, with a lighter load.

I really enjoyed creating the assignments for students to complete. In almost all of my assignments for both grades, I created original assignments – only a couple times did I borrow lesson materials from online sources.  Although it made it a lot more work, it was a great way for me to not only engage in the content material, but also to make the learning personalized to the group of students who would be working on it.

It was an interesting experience to be the authority figure of the classroom.  For the first time, other faculty members had to speak with me, directly, instead of going to my cooperating teacher (who was hanging out in the library most of the time).  This gave me a more authentic glimpse into the field of colleagueship so critical to teaching.  I got to know some of my team teachers more personally, and supporting educators in my classroom (paras) worked with me to figure out what students needed.

A tough lesson that I learned, that I already knew but never had experienced, is that teaching is hard – there is nothing easy about it.  It’s definitely a profession that requires passion, tough skin, flexibility, and the ability to keep your cool in unpredictable situations.  It’s a job that keeps you up at night thinking about how you could improve, or how your student is doing, or what you’re going to plan for the next week.  It’s a job that you need to love – if you don’t, you probably won’t think it’s worth it. But for those of us who do love it, we will treasure the moment when a student has a break through, the time a shy kid speaks up in class, and the moment when you learn from a student when they are “supposed” to be learning from you.  Not everyone is cut out to be a teacher, and not everyone can just naturally be a great teacher – it takes a lot of work to perfect your craft.  Years of experience, lots of self-reflection, collaborating with other educators, attending professional development sessions, and having the mindset that you can always improve – a lot goes into the profession.  I’m thankful to have had this opportunity in the school that I’m at, and I can’t wait to have my own classroom someday.

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ST Blog – SOLO TEACHING – Weeks 10&11

ST Blog – Week 9

Some important resources:

  • CIA Factbook
  • IMF Trading Game

Lessons Taught:

  • Debate: Is there a better way to make a t-shirt? Practicing Making Claims
  • Natural Resources

Thoughts I Had During the Week:

  • I subbed on Monday, we had snow days on Tuesday and Wednesday, a two-hour delay on Thursday, and a previously scheduled half day on Friday… what a week!
  • I had my first experience of adding more to my lesson on the fly. One group of students got through the material much faster than the other group, and I was going to be left with a good 20 minutes of class without anything for them to do.  Luckily I was able to foresee that so I could quickly come up with additional material that was both relevant and engaging.
  • I had my first experience of really using classroom management strategies in order to adjust student behavior – I gave out numbers that let students know how close they are to being sent to the office.
  • Had a difficult experience with Dennis (although not too out of the norm for him) – while completing individual work, I could not leave him alone or else he would not do the work at all.  It’s a tough situation because there are other students to attend to.. at this point, I might just have to leave the ball in his court and provide support in other ways.
  • I got to have my first family experiences, as seen through Parent-Teacher Conferences. This was a neat experience, as I got to better understand students as individuals.  I was impressed to watch my cooperating teacher and fellow team member interact in these conferences; they were calm, composed, and did a great job of answering unexpected questions.

 

Teacher Meme of the Week:

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ST Blog – Week 9

ST Blog – Week 8

Some important resources:

  • Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt
  • Pandemic (Virus Outbreak Game)
  • Population Demographic Pyramids – https://populationpyramid.net/world/2015/

Lessons Taught:

  • Sovereign State Challenge #2: Code Red Virus Outbreak
  • Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt Activity
  • Planet Money Group Discussion

Thoughts I had during the week:

  • I got to see some really great examples of student work and creativity in the Planet Money assignment – very cool to see.
  • In one situation my cooperating teacher had to call out a student (Justin) in a pretty public manner – “Is this who you’re gonna be?” “Coming back from break, if you keep this behavior it won’t be good”.  Justin holds a lot of power in the class, so this was necessary to send the message to both Justin and the rest of the class.
  • I switched seats with my cooperating teacher – I now sit in the front of the room and he sits in the back – helping students get used to me being the authority figure.
  • In our Sovereign State Challenge, we had to dial it back a bit because students were going to crazy extremes (burning dead bodies before they even knew if anyone had died from the virus, or executing infected citizens).  Have to reign it in before it becomes a whole class wide thing.
  • Group Discussion format – Individuals come up with “best idea”, then split into groups and come up with “best idea” among the group.  Then, the whole class discusses. A spokesperson is picked for each group, and then each of those spokespeople share their “best idea”. Then, the spokespeople can respond to each other by raising their hands. Other group members aren’t talking to the whole group, but can tell their spokesperson what they want them to say.
  • Interesting pattern with the eighth grade group – one class is really great at small group discussions, but not great at whole class discussions; and the other class is the complete opposite. It’s important to keep this in mind when structuring discussions with this grade.

Teacher Meme of the Week:

 

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ST Blog – Week 8