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!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Around the Magnetic World to Mental Math

October 25 - 29, 2010

This week has been filled with me teaching lessons! It started on Monday with Language Arts. I taught Text-to-World, a difficult connection for a 10-year-old to make. The lesson started off well, I reviewed Self-to-Text and Text-to-Text, and then moved on to begin explaining World-to-Text. I then read Casey at the Bat, and modeled how to write a Text-to-World using a graphic organizer on the overhead. I read a written summary of the poem (written by REM), and then modeled how to make the connection to something in the world. The connection made was to the Red Sox 2004 win over the Yankees, but from the perspective of a Yankee's fan. The kids loved it! REM jumped in to further illustrate how hard this connection was for students to make, and to request a teacher conference if they needed more help.

On Tuesday, I started part one of the two part lesson on Magnets in science. This was sooo fun! Nod was there to chime in when necessary, and didn't have to except to answer a question or two. The other student intern, Eagle from here on out, and I planned the lesson together. We discussed the worksheet that was already made for this lesson, and decided it was a lot of information that wouldn't keep the kids engaged. We reconstructed the class worksheet to make it more kid-friendly. These modifications, which Eagle made, were great accommodations for my class! The first day, we began with a PowerPoint explaining the history of magnets. It then went on to explain the poles of magnets, the Earth's poles, and how magnets attract and repel each other. I then invited the class to participate in some magnet demonstrations. First I showed them how to make a magnet repel and attract (using same poles and opposite poles) and then had a student "chase" a magnet on the overhead, trying to put the two together (using same poles). Together, we filled in a worksheet, and Nod ended the lesson with a challenge/review of the electricity unit so far.

Day two of magnets started with a challenge review. I then invited the entire class to sit up front and watch a BrainPop. This is a great website that explains educational topics in kid-friendly animation. The clip we showed was really cute, and the kids loved it. The even begged to watch it again! I guess normally they do watch them twice, but because I wanted them to experiment, we didn't have time. I then showed the class what they would be doing for their magnet experiments and sent them back to their sheets to make predictions before experimenting. I then went over the predictions on the overhead. Before we handed out the materials, SPEM went over the rules of sharing and I friendly reminded them if I saw any materials in the air not attached to their hands, they had "special work" to do (Dividing and conquering paragraphs about magnets).

The students then worked together at their table teams to see what would be attracted to the magnet. They were given a stick, steal wool, a utensil, paperclip, a colored disk (which turned out to have a wire wrapped around the edge), paper, tin foil, and a nail. We then went over what attracted and what repelled as I recorded it on the overhead. The class really seemed to enjoy this experiment, and they did everything wonderfully! :)

On Thursday, I taught mental math - multiplication and division with zeros. While I did great with the steps and process of solving for the facts and then tacking on zeros or crossing them off "one for one"...but then REM had to step in to explain what they were really doing with place holders and so I basically forgot the biggest part of the lesson...

Friday was our Halloween Parade...I dressed in my show clothes as an Equestrian. We paraded to the other classrooms and then went outside for a whole grade photo (students only) and then went for recess. The only thing academic today was making science flash cards for the Electricity Unit test next week. We also had our Vision Party today, and the class watched Horton Hears a Who. Movies on the Smart Board are awesome! :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Oh Friday...2 digit divisor Loooooong Division

Friday, October 22, 2010

Around 8:00 a.m. today, while I was defusing a sibling fight and building block castles, the principal announced there were many absences and if teachers had time in their day to help cover, they were encouraged the call the office. I assumed as an intern, I'd be pulled. I was right. I covered for a third grade class...and boy did I have fun!! On Friday mornings, this third grade class has "Reading with Family and Friends". Parents stay to read with their child and sometimes other students read with them. I joined a group of students and we read and I SPY book. The teacher, who was running late, was running even later, so I started morning meeting. Because I wasn't familiar with the class, and earlier I noticed they had a list of meeting rules on the board, I asked if the students could tell me what their meeting rules were. They did a great job! And then, thankfully, the teacher has already posted the morning message on the while board, so I read it to the class. They had been reading the book, UP, and the class was asked a question the day before. We spent 15 minutes or so guessing the word for the definition they gave me (the word was inference), and I had a blast with the kids! (I had been with this class before, and didn't know what to do, so I took them to recess!) :)

I was having such a good time, that REM had to come find me and needed me back to cover for Chorus time. They day progressed from there, until REM received a phone call that her daughter in day care was running a fever and needed to be picked up. This was in the beginning of the integrated class' math lesson. Luckily, the student intern had already seen the fist lesson, so REM went and got her and she and I co-taught the lesson (although I mainly let her take over because it was two digit divisor division and I honestly didn't remember how to do it!). By the next class, I was good to go, which was good, because I was on my own! :) Using graph paper on the Smart Board, I modeled for the class how to do long division. I reminded them over and over how difficult this was and to give themselves time to figure it out. They were so attentive, and a few of the girls even gave me hugs. :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Observation #1: Two Birds, One Stone

Monday, October 18, 2020

Today I did a by-the-seat-of-my-pants Language Arts lesson. I thought I was co-teaching Text-to-Text connections with REM, who gave me the materials to preview on Friday, but she must have confidence in me (grin) because she handed me the overhead this morning and asked me to observe Sunshine teach the lesson so I could teach it to our class. That said....I LOVED it! I'm glad she did it this way and I'm happy to be in front of the class more. I had been feeling too much like an observer/teacher's helper, but this week, I was in front of the class a lot. :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Observation #1

The last week or so, REM and I have been going over the first day of Division, which we were planning for my first observation lesson. I also used this lesson for my curriculum class (two birds with one stone kind of thing). I was doing well with the lesson until Tuesday after school when I started to doubt everything. SPEM and I went to a professional development for writing and then stayed to prepare the class for the next few days. I had written the lesson plan and REM looked it over and thought it was great! So I was working on what I would say, and started over thinking it. SPEM had me walk her through the part of the lesson I was doubting, and she helped me with the language. I really do have a great team of mentor teachers!!

On Wednesday, I taught all three math classes, and the observation was in the third class, which I was really grateful for! :) REM helped me with parts of the first lesson, and then backed off for the second, but interjected when needed, and then was strictly a "helper" in the third (as was SPEM because I was being observed during my integrated class!) The kids were WONDERFUL! I know they were talked to, but they were soooo attentive and respectful.

This lesson (reminder to self: you have a revised lesson plan stored!) went really well for my observation. First, I introduced division, with a PowerPoint presentation on the Smart Board, by reviewing factors and factor pairs. I then had the class highlight vocabulary sheets as part of my accommodation of the lesson plan. To show me they were ready, I asked them to put their highlighters in the air, and wave them around like they really do care! :) I got a few smiles for that one. I walked them through the vocab on the ppt, asking them to highlight key terms. I then asked them to file the sheet in their math vocabulary section, close their binders, put the highlighters away, and store their binders under their chairs, and keep a pencil.

Next, we did a work sheet to show how division is separating a whole number into equal size groups. First I had them change the dividend so the problem worked out better, however I forgot to explain why I was doing it. One student, who loves to fight the system!, asked me why we changed the number. Clever girl...this showed me that I need to explain the small details sometimes, because they're thinking about them. :) We then drew out circles to represent the divisor, which tells you the number of groups, and then separated out our dividend equally among the groups. The next step was to demonstrate division as repeated subtraction, using the quotient we found with the drawing. Next, the students had to explain in words what they just did. (See filled in example sheet/student's work.) The first I modeled for them, asking them to follow along and do the same I was doing. I then set them to the task of completing the rest of the worksheet.

Part two of the division lesson, I invited the back three tables up to the Smart Board area to sit behind my mapped out spaces. I then modeled with base ten blocks how you divide using repeated subtraction to separate the dividend into equal size groups, using the divisor as your known number of groups. Then I asked for student help with one more problem (I have the problem written on construction paper) and together we further demonstrated division. I then dismissed them back to their seats to a worksheet using images/drawings of base ten blocks. REM and SPEM were also set at two stations in the room to help students, which many took up on the offer! Others went back to their seats, or worked in pairs with base ten blocks. I circulated the room, checking in with independent/pair workers. I then gave them a five minute warning to start the process of finishing up. I then ended the class by asking them to file their worksheets and to have cleaned-up table teams. To further the transition to dismissal, I asked SPEM if she would like to take "visions" for the day. :)

I then went and met with my college advisor to discuss the lesson. She started off by telling me it was a great lesson, and she liked how I have a strong, but inviting, teacher voice. She said I was well organized, and used the time well, giving the class a warning time to finish up. She asked me how I thought the lesson could go better, and said not that it didn't, but as a teacher reflection, was there anything I could improve upon. I told her that this was the third time I was teaching the lesson that day, and from the first to the second, I had already changed the order of worksheets. Before I did the powerpoint, then the base ten demonstration, then the base ten worksheet, and then the drawing and repeated subtraction. I felt it was working backwards a bit, and wanted the class to have to vocabulary and familiarity of repeated subtraction before doing the base ten blocks. It worked out much better this way.

I have a few things to modify in my lesson plan, but other than went REALLY WELL!!! YEA!!!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

There's a New Deputy in Town!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Today I taught a few math classes. I was only supposed to teach our homeroom, integrated class, but REM was out sick, so SPEM and I took over for the class. Today's lesson was two digit by one digit multiplication. The way REM teaches this is by Cowboy Math. So...there's a new deputy in town (the one digit) and he needs to lasso up the bandits out there. So he rounds up the ones column first, and if the product is two digits, then the puts the ones digit in jail (below the equal line), but uses the tens digit to help him find the rest of the bandits, so he goes above the tens of the two digit number with a plus sign in front of him. Then the deputy lassos the tens digit, and then adds his friend before putting him in jail. I wore a cowboy hat and used the lingo. The class loved it! (I was much better the second time, but SPEM helped me with our class, who I taught first.)

On top of that, today was the second TEAM TIME for the "all set" students. This week was grammar, and Sunshine asked me to make up a paragraph with grammatical and punctuation errors for them to correct. I took a passage from Harry Potter and the Scorcher's Stone and concentrated on object and subject pronouns as well as capitalization and punctuation. They had a blast correcting! It was so fun to walk around the room and see them concentrating and working well with friends to correct the passage. So today, we went over the mistakes on the overhead, with class participation. So fun!

A week or two...

So much for writing every night. It's like buying a pretty journal and committing yourself to it, only to find it years later with a whole bunch of blank pages.

Here's what's been going on:

In Social Studies, they've been doing longitude and latitude, coloring world maps, and started talking about geography in relationship to climate.

In writing, the students are learning the divide and conquer method, practicing finding the main idea of a paragraph, highlighting, and note taking...all in preparation for their own research project.

The student teacher and I had to come up with a challenging math problem for the students who assessed as "all set". We came up with a bar graph comparing the amount of sugar and protein in a few cereals. (sheet in white binder)

After getting back from the World Equestrian Games, I put together a quick powerpoint to "share" with the class. The morning meeting was about how you listen and act when someone is sharing something with you. They loved the pictures, and I gave them a bit of history about Kentucky, including it's longitude and latitude. :) Two days later, we came back to the topic during morning meeting so the class could practice asking appropriate questions.