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 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:

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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

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

ST Blog – Week 2

Some important resources:

This week I had a three day week. There was a snow day one day (YAY!) and then I had to miss a day for an out-of-state basketball game.  One day I got to teach a lesson on Tinker v. Des Moines. The lesson went pretty well, and it had some great student discussion.  I think it’s really important that students realize what rights they have in school, and how they differ (or don’t differ) from those that they have outside of school.  My cooperating teacher and I used this court case to introduce student rights, and I think this case (one of the most important and memorable in this category) was a great one to start with. It was a situation that students could understand (especially with all of the current protests), and one that really got them thinking about their own lives – what can they wear to school? We also had a great conversation about what teachers could and couldn’t wear, and how our position of power changes our ability to express our opinions.

One day my cooperating teacher was out, so I took the lead on teaching, although I had a substitute teacher with me.  I didn’t plan the day’s lessons myself, but taught what my cooperating teacher had organized. For the seventh grade group, we were continuing what we had been working on during the week, and it went really well. The eighth grade group did well too, aside from some students in one class who were talking over other students in our class discussion.  The eighth graders were doing a lot of independent work, and many of them did a lot of good work.

Some thoughts I had during the week:

  • My cooperating teacher does such a good job of making connections in the moment that he might not have anticipated.  There was a situation where a student asked a question that easily could have spiraled the conversation out of focus – but, my cooperating teacher kept his composure and handled the situation perfectly. I hope to have that “coolness” when I teach.
  • “Framing” – something to keep in mind is how you “frame” what students are about to do.  It’s important to set the stage for the lesson by emphasizing key points of learning, relevance to “real life”, and the purpose of learning the material.
  • The first time you teach a lesson, it likely won’t be the best version – you can make adjustments for the 2nd (or 3rd, or 4th) time!
  • Making connections to the students’ lives is important – my example was showing students their own school’s dress code, and asking them what they think teachers can wear – or can’t wear – to school.
  • When absent, making an “overview video” – when my cooperating teacher was out, he made a short video for both classes where he went over what they would be doing for class.  This was great because it not only let the students know of his expectations, but it gave me (and the sub) a better understanding of what was expected.
  • Inclusion – when I was leading a class discussion, I was able to incorporate a student with a disability (on the autism spectrum) that normally does not get to participate very much in class. The student’s para found an opportunity for her to join in on the discussion, and I was glad that I was able to call on her and have her be part of the class.

Teacher Meme of the Week:

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ST Blog – Week 2