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 – Week 3

Some important resources:

  • Minnesota Center for Community Legal Education  Mini-Trial Manuel
  • Flag maker website: http://flag-designer.appspot.com/#d=9&c1=3&c2=1&c3=4&o=0&c4=1&s=16&c5=0

This week included a lot of really great discussion.  With all that is going on in the political sphere (Trump’s executive orders 😦 ). It was a full five day week, and I taught a lesson on monarchy for the seventh graders and planned a mock trial for the eighth graders. I got to experience a fire drill (it was planned), which is nice because I know now exactly what to do if it were to happen while solo teaching.  There were a couple of instances with the eighth graders where they really had a hard time being able to be focused during a class discussion – CT had to be more stern than usual to get the point across. During our team meeting, I got to see the process of evaluating a student with a special educator. She asked the staff questions about the student and they had to answer (both short answer and bubble answers such as “Often”, “Sometimes”, etc.)

Some thoughts I had during the week:

  • Talking about Trump’s immigration ban – how many chances do you get as a teacher to talk about a current event that is a constitutional crisis?! Really great opportunity to capitalize on the moment.
  • Controlling a passionate and opinionated class is hard! Sometimes you have to “sacrifice” the curriculum in order to talk about how this teachable moment in history is worth it
  • Inclusion – having “April” sit with group. She’s making noises and moving around, but class just keeps on going. Doesn’t stay in class for the whole period. Always has para with her
  • SBAC testing, mandatory certification – I didn’t have to do it, I won’t be administering test. CT saving me from the trouble
  • CT had to be stern – called out specific students who kept making jokes/faces at each other. “Is this direct enough? You take responsibility or I will, you choose.” Later in class talks to each student, finds out what “really” happened, apologizes to students in front of everyone. Let’s them save their pride
  • Amendments can seem boring, so it’s important to find cases and examples that make it interesting! CT does this well
  • Adjusting curriculum – one student not really doing work, isn’t engaged. CT changed curriculum/expectations for him – I just want you to create “this” product about the right to assemble (he had made a comment last week – “why protest? It doesn’t do anything”). Allowing him to “skip” other content this week in order to focus on this task. This option was a choice. Student said yes, appears to be really engaged. Not distracting others, is actually doing work.
  • students wouldn’t stop talking – CT asked them multiple times to come back, he rang his gong in two different ways, then threatened to put them on “lockdown” in the seats to do work, would send them to the office. “I don’t have to act like that, right? That’s the first time this year I felt like I wasn’t going to get you back. It’s like you forgot I was here.” That got their attention and focus.
  • “Patrick” has hard time focusing, but when I go up and work with him 1 on 1, he does the work. But he needs that constant pushing, which a teacher can’t always provide
  • CT working with “Ross” – acting as a scribe for monarchy worksheet. Talked through it with him. Otherwise, he probably wouldn’t have done it at all (never really completes work)
  • Mock Trial – I planned most of it, put a lot of time and effort into it. It didn’t go the way I had envisioned it (perfectly, of course), so I was kind of disappointed. CT disagreed – he said that although there were bumps, students got a lot out of it. Second group went better. What they got out of it was the process – saw challenges of being lawyers, how prosecution has burden of proof, etc. Had hoped some particular students would have stepped up to the plate, and they didn’t. Others that I didn’t expect, however, did.
  • Bringing in a guest speaker – we had a police officer come in (a student’s father) and he talked about search warrants (we had talked about the 4th amendment this week). Great “real world” connection.
  • “Lottery” system for 7th graders in order to pick country’s location and size – nondiscriminatory, fairness)
  • CT had been one of the leads on school’s Penguin Plunge fundraiser – happened this weekend, so all week CT was a bit stressed and overwhelmed – understandable!

Teacher Meme of the Week:

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ST Blog – Week 3

Day 12 – “Bweep”

Today’s practicum…

  • ADVISORY — Students finished their “Coat of Arms”, which displays a personal goal, interests, role models, and individual mottos. They were supposed to begin writing a “I am” poem, but they did not get to that.  At the very end of this allotted time, my cooperating teacher put on a video with a skeleton dancing, and everyone (teachers included) stood up and mimicked the skeleton.
  • CLASS — Students handed in their current event assignment, and took notes on the colonies with the teacher. While they were taking notes, I read through their current events and graded them based on content (if they had a title, the date, where the information came from, a summary, how the event impacts people, and why they chose the article).  At the end of class, the students were allowed to play a Kahoot because they had done a good job paying attention during the note taking.

Today’s takeaway…

While reading through the current events, I was astonished to see the difference in writing levels among students.  Most students fell in the “middle” of the writing spectrum, but there were definitely some outliers.  There were one or two students who clearly have a great understanding of writing – they were able to summarize, explain, and describe in a clear and coherent way.  Other students, however, were significantly behind their peers in writing levels – even several grades behind.  There were incomplete sentences, unconjugated verbs, and no explanation or even description of the current event.  Having such discrepancies in writing ability is tough for teachers – especially in secondary grades – to address.  The curriculum is already full of content-related standards that take up the teacher’s time and energy – it’s hard to incorporate writing skills into that already packed schedule.  Plus, having to stop and take the time to teach basic writing is not engaging at all for students who do not need it.  It’s critical for teachers to take the time to learn their students’ writing levels so that they can  create lesson plans that allow all students to thrive while at the same time appropriately challenge students.  The timing of this “revelation” for me is quite favorable, as I am creating a lesson plan that requires students to write.  Knowing that writing abilities differ so drastically, I can adjust my plan accordingly.

Day 12 – “Bweep”