New Beginnings

Once a place where I kept track of my teaching as a Graduate Student, this is now home to my rants and raves as a teacher. I still have a lot to learn about teaching and about myself as a teacher. Here, I will document my journey, both the good and the bad, so I can successfully reflect on others' methods of teaching as well as my own. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What is your Philosophy?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Today was a short Tuesday. It was a good day. In math we went over the "mean" of a data set. The kids were given "mean faces" on popsicle sticks they could hold up if they had a question. Then they had to gather their own data set by recording their reaction time for catching a dropped piece of paper with their forefinger and thumb. They had a lot of fun with that one, and will find the "mean" of their data later.

In grammar today, the lesson was on possessive nouns. The class seemed to struggle with this, all of them, not just the integrated kids. Some it was word order, some it was the placement of the apostrophe. In spelling, they were reprimanded for poor work, and had a lot to correct. Because they spent the whole lesson correcting and individuating speaking with Nod, they have to do their spelling lesson tomorrow in science...not fun, especially because they are into building their light circuits.

After the dismissal, we met a a team and went over the break up of the math groups according to their assessments. Tomorrow, the student teaching and I will have the "challenge" group and will give them challenging data to get their little brains thinking past what's been going on in class.

I also sat down with my teacher mentors to ask them their personal philosophies about teaching, school culture, and the curriculum. They had some really insightful things to say and were very passionate in their beliefs. More than ever I'm grateful to be working with such wonderful teachers.

Until tomorrow!

Monday, September 27, 2010

And They're Off!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

And it's Jill running out the door and rounding the corner, but Miss E is hot on her tails! Jill rounds the second bend and it's going to be a close one, folks!!!.....

Phew! I was asked to spend a few hours in a Kindergarten room today because a new student is having trouble transitioning and bolts from the room. That's all I was told. We started off great and even had a great time playing in the principal's office, which was part of her earned break time. After thirty minutes of being there, I found there was much more to it. She displayed aggressive behavior, was noncompliant, and did a dead-fall onto two other students while they were sitting in the meeting area. It's one thing to bolt and be a threat to yourself, but when one student harms other students, that's where others need to step in. I was overwhelmed by the lack of reaction to this. At the same time, I can't imagine the stress the K teacher is under. I hope it all works out, because this little girl is very bright, from what I saw, has an active imagination, and I hope she gets the proper support she needs.

On another note, I wasn't in the fifth grade room much, but I was there for science! Today they started electricity!! The kids were given light bulbs, wire, and a battery and had to test a sheet full of scenarios to figure out which ones would light up the bulb.

Until tomorrow!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Picture Day!!

Friday, September 24, 2010


Today was picture day. :) All the 5th graders went out to the play ground structure to take their whole-grade photo, teachers included. We then took individual photos (ours will be used for new security badges) and began the academic portion of the day with chorus. The class did fabulously today by working quietly. The rest of the day went well, too, considering the schedule was off. I can't wait until they schedule steadies out and remains the same. It amazes me how much these kids rely on the structure of a day.

Monkey in the Middle

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Today in math class the lesson was about 'median.' I'm seeing a pattern to REM's method of teaching, and that pattern is FUN! By making her lesson fun and memorable, the students, especially our integrated students, will hopefully retain more of the lessons. This is crucial as well, because the lessons are so short and they only get covered fully in one day (with review days, of course!).

For the lesson on median, REM asked a few children to come up and hold a few large index cards with numbers on them. Her first two groups consisted of 5 children, and one more came up and used the green sparkly pointer (with a pointing finger on the end) to "knock off" the students on the ends. This left one child standing, thus, the MONKEY IN THE MIDDLE! REM and SPEM then proceeded to play the age old game of keep-away. The class loved it! Even Evan got in front of the class and participated. :)

Speaking of Evan, he and I spent some time together today. His aid was called elsewhere (he still doesn't have a one-to-one) and SPEM asked if I would go with him to see if the principal would let him work with a younger classroom. We spent some time playing blocks with a Kindergarten class before going outside for recess. Evan wanted to show a girl in the class the school garden, and so the three of us spent recess there. All in all, it was a great 30 minutes we spent together.

In science, it was the last day to build and test their structures. One group reached 14 dictionaries before theirs was crushed. However, one of the other classes had 35 dictionaries stacked on their structure, blowing everyone out of the water!

Social studies was the same (find the text feature based on this clue), and in language arts, they started talking about journals. We did get to our read aloud today, and I continued with Night of the Twisters, by Ivy Ruckman. Using the microphone with the class gathered around me in the directors chair, we were introduced to Dan on his Black Letter Day...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mode is in Vogue!

So far I've talked about Math class, being it's what REM teaches. But I want to touch upon Science and Social Studies, too. Today in science the class worked on their structures. Using one index card and 6 inches of masking tape, they have to build a structure that will hold at least 6 dictionaries 1.5 inches off of a flat surface. So far, there are some great ideas, but no one has been able to get past 1 dictionary. Without failure, they may not be grand ideas!! ;)

In social studies, Sunshine has the class going over text features of their textbooks and how to use them for different reasons. Today, SPEM offered for me to write the answer to one of the "clues about text features" the class was given on the overhead. I used the "I'm noticing..." again today and I find they really respond well to it.

But back to, Mode came to town! Mode is a celebrity that everyone wants to be because they are the most popular, they go to the most parties, and they have the most friends, and...see the theme here?

REM started out the lesson by reading an article from TeenVogue magazine. She cleverly inserted her own text into the magazine, complete with quick facts for herself on the back cover. She read an "article written by the editor of Vogue" about Mode and how popular she was.

After introducing Mode, REM "rolled out the red carpet" and Mode came to town! She had the students go up in front of the class holding index cards with a data set (see below). She then had the kids tell her what the mode was. When identified, REM pulled out feather boas, sun glasses, and echo microphones and dressed them on the students who were holding the mode cards. As I held up a Vogue poster, REM recorded the mode for the entire class to see. The "mode" students then walked the carpet and made way for a new data set. This was a fun lesson for all, and I don't think they will soon forget how to find the mode of a data set.

Catch Up

Friday, September 17, 2010

Today I taught in all three math classes. REM gave me her files for the math lessons, and the first is on Data and Statistics. REM and I went over the Day 3 power point, about Cartesian Coordinates, the Wednesday before I taught, with me taking down notes. At home, I went over the slides and prepared more notes. The first part of the lesson was a review of line plots and bar graphs. I then read the class A Fly on the Ceiling, by Julie Glass, in the meeting area. Using the microphone, which I find to be extremely helpful, allows for all the children to hear my voice without straining.

After dismissing the class back to their seats, I went on with the power point. Looking to REM for direction, she explained to the class that we would be co-teaching the lesson, and then proceeded to explain what she hoped they would get out of the book. We then had the class gather around the SMART Board and pulled out a large graph I made on paper with masking tape. This was used for the class to "dress" the graph so it didn't "come to school naked," and then gave them a chance to practice plotting Cartesian Coordinates. Shoes off! Walk OVER the X axis 2, then walk UP the Y axis 4! They were really into it. :) The glass then went back to their seats with a worksheet and I directed them to measure their height and arm span, with the promise that if they worked quickly enough, they would be able to each write their data on the SMART Board.

The second math class I taught went even better than the first. I was more comfortable with the lesson and really got into it. When going over how to plot their Cartesian Coordinates, I borrowed from Sunshines method of repetition when something is important and told them they MUST, MUST, MUST go over first and then up.

After this class, REM gave me some quick feedback. She really liked the repetition of must, but told me that every time I give a direction, I have to make sure I have the entire class' attention. She also liked how right after I finished reading the book, I turned to the white board behind me and went over the concept the book illustrated.

The third class were my integrated kids. The lesson went well, and they loved the book. It was here that I noticed the attention span difference between the classes and also made some on-the-spot modifications as I went, based off the kids answers, and really, the look on their faces. ;)

On housekeeping: 303 had to practice lining up to go to PE during recess. We’ve spent a lot of extra time on lining up and being quite in the hallway. It seems to be a whole grade issue and I was informed that in 4th grade, they were not required to travel to specials in a specific line. It’s important for them to get in the habit now of being quite and organized in the hallway now because it will be expected in Middle School. Right now we're doing a lot of the modeling and practicing for middle school.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I set up “graph paper” on the SMART board for Maura to use as ‘set up’ example rather than using over head sheets and the every archaic overhead projector. :)

Morning math group: did a multiplication problem (16x3) and played Battle Ship to simulate Cartesian Coordinates

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Early release Tuesday! Good behavior day! Brooke was participating, raising her hand; Evan joined us in morning meeting.

Today the lesson was about stem graphs. REM had a giant laminated image of a tulip where she demonstrated how the tens digit went on the left of the "stem" and the ones digits went on the "leaves." REM had leaves she could write on and attached to the tulip image. (Image to come soon!)

The morning meeting was quick (Knock, knock! Who's there? Jane. Jane who? Jane Smith. Good morning Jane Smith. Knock, knock...). Math group played Battle Ship again. :)

The first line up of the day was disaster – not listening, took too long to be quiet, I didn’t like how I was saying things, I felt too harsh. SPEM said “Be quiet now, not when you feel like it!” and I thought she wanted me to say that, so I did…they reacted quickly! But when I got in the room, oops...SPEM said I wasn’t supposed to say it…! I wasn't reprimanded...but she then gave suggestions, I tried next time (counting down, noticing front of line is good, ect) worked great!! And quick!!

Curriculum night (introduction, manned the pp slides), which I lated discovered was Back to School Night, as it was called when I was in elementary school.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Here we go!

In thinking about how I would start logging information for my portfolio, I reveled in a student teacher's idea of creating a blog (thanks ED!!). it goes! I hope to blog every school night, and this is the area I will be keeping info needed for my graduate program. Therefore, I will record everything I need to construct a successful compilation of my year as a Graduate Intern in a 5th grade integrated classroom.

The key players during my journey to becoming a teacher are my teacher-mentors. For the sake of being anonymous, the regular education mentor will be referred to as REM in this blog while the Special Education Mentor will be SPEM. The other two teachers in this program, who the class rotates to for science and social studies, will be referred to as Nod and Sunshine, respectively. No real names of children or adults will be used here either.

We're in the third week of school, so I have a bit of catching up to do!