ST Blog – Week 8

Some important resources:

  • Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt
  • Pandemic (Virus Outbreak Game)
  • Population Demographic Pyramids –

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:


Image result for teacher memes



ST Blog – Week 8

Video Reflection #2


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!

Video Reflection #2