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 – 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

ST Blog – Week 6

Some important resources:

  • Naviance (not really sure what it’s all about)
  • No Sir, Not I Sir (fun game)
  • Against All Odds (online game about refugees)

Lessons Taught:

  • Embargo
  • Debriefing the Genosha Sovereign State Challenge

 

Thoughts I had during the Week:

  • One day this week we took an hour at the end of the day to introduce the Career Unit (coming up in a couple of weeks). We sent students with a letter home to their parents and talked with them about what they want to do for job shadowing (required part of the project).  In my opinion, I think instead of holding onto the rubrics, as we did, we should have given them to the students before they do the assignments so they understand what is expected of them and so that their is less confusion.
  • As part of the Career Unit we had a Career Panel made up of 6 parents (most were parents of students on our team, one was not) – a journalist, a guidance counselor, two financial advisers, and an analytical chemist.  We had the panel go on for an hour. For the most part, the parents did a great job of describing their careers and answering questions. At some points, it seemed a bit too long as some students were getting squirrely.
  • April attended the Career Panel, and at first was kind of talking and making noises while the parents were talking. But then she was given a coloring book, and this kept her focused and quiet.
  • We went on a bowling field trip and it was pretty fun! Only had one issue with a student, everything else went really great.
  • The day before break, we did a school-wide activity.  The students were split up into groups of 5th-8th graders, and we had to make a 1 minute video using the props we were given. It was nice to meet some new faces. It was really interesting for me to see the energy level of some of the 5th and 6th graders – it was quite high!

 

Teacher Meme of the Week:

Image result for teacher vacation memes

Vacation next week!!! 🙂

ST Blog – Week 6

ST Blog – Week 5

Some important resources:

  • Chatzy – A group chatroom. Teacher can be editor, can get rid of comments that students make if not appropriate

Lessons Taught:

  • Example of 8th grade district assessment (Constitution video)
  • Example of 7th grade district assessment (Kiribati)
  • Transparency/Corruption

Some thoughts I had during the week:

  • My cooperating teacher assigns seats in each of his classes, but he typically puts friends together at tables.  It’s nice for them to sit with their friends, but it can be very distracting sometimes. Should friends be split up?
  • In one class, there were two girls who were leaving for two weeks for a gymnastics trip. They wanted all the work they were going to be missing ahead of time. It’s hard for a teacher to prep that far in advance…and we wonder if they will even do the work while they’re gone, or do it when they get back.
  • The students took a Bill of Rights quiz this week, and were given plenty of time to review for it the day before and the day of the quiz – that’s important for this group.
  • I had made an example of the district assessment for 8th grade and had it ready to go to show the class. But, when I went to play it, the audio and video didn’t line up. It wasn’t a huge deal, but next time I need to check it beforehand.
  • Also related to the district assessment, the directions weren’t super clear in terms of the purpose of the video – who would watch it? Make that clear so that students would have better understanding of what they’re doing.
  • When my supervisor visited, she gave me some advice as she watched me interact with two classes: show the first group of students the same level of comfortability as I did the second group.
  • Important to make distinctions of when to use outside sources for information and when to use one’s own reasoning and creative thinking skills.
  • “Magical Moment” – student made a great comment related to the topic of discussion, so cooperating teacher not only gave him a fist bump, but also let him have a magical moment by getting to play the chimes in the classroom.
  • Important to set expectations when using a group chat website – one student, Martin, really not getting it and saying inappropriate things (getting people riled up). Had to be banned from the chat for a couple of days (while keeping in mind, he was going through stuff outside of class)
  • “Incident” – I had a student, Dennis, who came up to me during recess and said, ‘I could throw this carton of milk at you.’ I responded by saying that maybe he could, but would that really be the best choice to make.  He kind of shrugged his shoulders and went away. We learned that he ended up throwing that milk carton at the wall of the school, so he was told to clean it up. He later apologized to me for saying what he did, with prompting from a special educator that has been starting to work with him.
  • Dennis is being evaluated for special education services, but many of the team staff aren’t sure if the “adverse affect” condition of special education qualifications will pass for him.

Teacher Meme of the Week:

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ST Blog – Week 5

ST Blog – Week 4

Some important resources:

  • Video on power: https://safeshare.tv/x/c_Eutci7ack
  • Lewis and Clark Video
  • “In Plain English” videos

 

This week I taught a lesson on the Third Amendment to the 8th graders, a lesson on urban v. rural communities to the 7th graders, and a lesson on the United Nations to the 7th graders.  I think I am getting better at speaking more articulately and I am improving my in-the-moment response and questioning ability.  I am getting more comfortable with the students on a personal level as well.  I got to experience my first 504 meeting with a parent (Patrick) and I even chaperoned the dance (woohoo!).  There was also a delayed start one day in which the faculty and staff engaged in professional development regarding PLPs; for us, and some other faculty, we were focused on the career unit (specifically, dates, how it’s all going to look, is it going to be consistent between teams, if there was going to be a student panel, if you take class time to do it, etc).  Because of the delayed start, classes were shortened to 20 minutes each – there is only so much you can do in that time.

Some thoughts I had during the week:

  • Letting student do an independent project – to validate the work, share it with the class. My cooperating teacher presented it to the class, congratulating the student who created it.
  • It’s important to thank students for sharing and participating in class discussions (especially quieter students) – that positive reinforcement can do wonders
  • Value in debate on 2nd Amendment – although this is a controversial issue in society and even in this class, the activity has a lot of value in terms of encouraging students to be able to see alternative viewpoints and using evidence to question the opposition’s claims.
  • For some of the seventh graders, you need to literally stand next to them in order for them to get work done.  This is impossible in a classroom with only one adult in the room, as you have to attend to other students in the room.  What do you do?
  • Inclusion opportunity – April sits with her group in a debate.  She talks and makes noises during it, but the class keeps on going just fine.
  • Internet connection problem – one day the Internet in the entire school was out (not planned).  We had to make quick adjustments, as using Google Docs was a big part of the lesson that day.  There’s not much point in stressing out, because there is nothing you can do about it; just go with it.  We gave the 7th graders more time to figure out their states, and for the 8th grade we completely switched gears and watched a video on Lewis and Clark.  The Internet did come back later in the day, but we decided to stick with the adjusted plan, as we were not prepared or able to tackle what we wanted to do within the time span.

 

Teacher Meme of the Week:

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ST Blog – Week 4