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:

Image result for student teacher memes

Advertisements
ST Blog – Week 15

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.

Image result for teacher quote

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:

Image result for snow day meme teachers

 

 

 

ST Blog – Week 9

ST Blog – Week 1

This weekly blog is intended for me to reflect on my experiences as I go through my semester of student teaching!

Some important resources I want to remember:

  • Culture Grams
  • Newsela
  • iCivics
  • Safeshare
  • Crisis of Nations
  • Quizlet live
  • Video: “Inside North Korea” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlJUGZPanB8

During my first week I got to do some solo teaching, as my cooperating teacher was absent and there was no substitute.  This also happened to fall on Inauguration Day, so I got to do a pretty cool lesson related to this historic event.  The lesson went well, and the students were really excited about being able to watch live coverage of the inauguration.  Although the timing didn’t exactly match up for them to be able to watch the oath of office and the inaugural address, they benefited from being able to see the Capitol building, seeing important figures that attended the inauguration (the Obamas, the Bidens, the Chief Justice, former presidents, the Speaker of the House, Bernie 🙂 ), and seeing what led up to or followed the inauguration – examples include the Trumps going to the White House to meet the Obamas, the motorcade, the prayer service, the choral performance, the luncheon,  Trump signing his official recommendations for department heads, and the Obamas leaving in their helicopter. The only issue I had during this day was that my cooperating teacher left snacks for the students to enjoy during the live coverage, and each class left a huge mess of crumbs all over the room, despite being asked to pick up after themselves. This revealed to me a lack of respect for the classroom space, and it hopefully will be addressed in the beginning of this next week.

Some thoughts I had during this week:

  • Difference between the seventh and eighth graders – the seventh graders are much easier to work with and are more able to get through things on their own. The eighth graders do have some self-motivated high achievers, but a majority of students need to be directed regularly and are distracted by their fellow peers.
  • Staff at the school – super great. Everyone has been so friendly and welcoming and willing to lend a hand.  Our team has some wonderful teachers too, and I have enjoyed getting to know them.
  • “Bringing it in” – I like how my cooperating teacher has students “bring it in” when he wants to talk with them. They bring their chairs to the front of the room and form a little circle. Here, he lets them know what is going to be going on during the class period, and he displays a slideshow on his board that students also have access to on their computers.  He stressed that these little horseshoe discussions should be kept relatively short, so that students don’t lose focus or become bored. It’s also a great way to get them to focus without having their technology in front of them.
  • Politics – during inservice (my first day on the job) the principal made a point to say that if anyone is talking about the inauguration, we need to stay away from the politics (really put in a strong effort to avoid them) and just focus on the day itself.  I agree with that to an extent, but personally this week I have had hard time with this. I know that as a teacher, it is not my job – or even really my right – to impart my political views onto students.  However, with the issues that have been raised in this particular election, I could not help but cringe when I heard some of the things that students were saying (a great majority of the students, surprisingly, are Trump supporters). I kind of wish that I was allowed to have a discussion about the politics – not that the students are necessarily wrong in supporting Trump, but rather talking about the implications and possibilities of his inauguration.  In Singer’s “Social Studies for Secondary Schools”, he talks about how it IS important to get political… yet the principal of my school disagreed. Where is the line drawn, I wonder?

 

Teacher Meme of the Week:

Image result for teacher memes

ST Blog – Week 1

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

Video Reflection #1

In this video reflection, I am focusing on verbal and oral communication and classroom management. 

In terms of verbal and oral communication, I think I overall did a good job communicating to my students.  I did speak a bit quickly at times, but I don’t think that it took away from the instruction. In the beginning of the video, I did a good job of ending the discussion the class was having by asking the students some prompting questions to reflect on. My volume was appropriate for the whole class setting, and I also adjusted my volume appropriately for when I was having one on one conversations with students. 

After watching this video, I would advise myself to make the following changes in my communication. There’re a few times where I stumbled over my words. It wasn’t too disruptive to the instruction, but next time I would remind myself to have confidence in what I was saying.  I need to make more eye contact when giving instructions to the whole class, instead of looking at my papers or at the back of the classroom.  In the video I appear anxious and even fidgety, according to my body language – I am always doing something with my hands. To correct this, I think I need to just take a deep breath and relax. In regards to my speech, I have a few words that I seem to repeat somewhat often – “um”, “right?”, “so”, and “like”. I need to practice speaking without using these words. I know that they will undoubtedly come up, as they are commonly used in vernacular speech, but I need to be conscious of their use so as to limit them during lessons.

For classroom management, I think I was successful in managing the classroom in this video. I had the students’ attention in the beginning with our whole class discussion and instructions. After students moved to complete their independent work, I walked around to check in with individual students to make sure they were on the right track and to clear up any confusion they had. To remind students of what the assignment asked for, I wrote key points on the board for them all to see. 

Improvements in this area would include projecting the assignment on the board behind me to reinforce the instructions and cater to students who would have preferred to read it there. I also should have had the students watch both videos on Schoology (both the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party, not just the event they chose out of the hat) so that they would have a well rounded understanding of both events – we could have even watched them together as a whole class. There was a point at the end of the video where some students were quietly chatting with each other and also laughing. I didn’t address these students, as at the time I didn’t think that it was detrimental to the lesson. However, another group of students continued to chat throughout the remainder of the period, and I failed to correct the behavior due to nerves – for the future, I must be firm and not worry about their reaction.

Video Reflection #1

Day 11 – More About the Colonies

In today’s practice my visit, the students first completed a journal prompt about what it would have been like to be a Pilgrim sailing over on the Mayflower to the New World.  Then, the students had to fill out a worksheet that categorized the new colonies into regions (North, Middle, and South) and then chronologically ordered them. Following this, students were split into groups to further research the characteristics of a specific region of colonies, using the textbook. The students, later this week, will share what they found with the rest of the class.

 

Today’s big takeaway was simply the reinforcement of the importance of group work and letting students own heir learning. Many times in classes throughout my educational experience I have worked either individually or with others to take on a topic and then teach it to the rest of my peers.  Even now, in my senior year of college, I am doing that in one of my classes, and I know that such an activity is commonly found in many professions, undoubtedly in educational occupations. The skills of collaboration and being able to teach others the knowledge you have learned are essential not only on the classroom, but beyond. By having students teach others, you require that they really know what they are talking about – it’s a deeper learning than if they had just read the sections in the textbook; they have to own it.

Connected to this idea is the significance of being aware of group dynamics. My teacher allowed students to select their first and second choices for which region they were going to study. She collected their preferences and then she created the groups based on those and on her knowledge of who would work well together and who would not. This is essential to maintaining the classroom because if she had just let friends work together, the task might not get accomplished and consequently the learning might not have taken place. Her intentional group setting aimed to make groups that would be productive and thus be able to benefit the whole class, for if one group failed to learn, the whole class would have too.

Day 11 – More About the Colonies