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, November 30, 2010

Quotes and Synonyms

Monday, November 29, 2010

Today I was observed during a writing lesson by my supervisor from my college. I have a major project due in a few weeks for a curriculum class that I should have been working on over the Thanksgiving break, but this lesson plan took up all the free time and energy I had! Phew...who knew putting together two small group mini-lessons could take so much work!

The first small group consisted of above grade level students who have shown through other works and writings that they have a firm grasp on writing and show an individual style. For them, I planned a mini-lesson on the use of quotations. I had seen the use of the quotations in their writing and the biggest pet peeve I have is stand alone quotes. I know that 5th graders haven't learned this skill yet, but I feel they were ready to learn a bit about the proper use of quotes. I found some great rules for using dialogue quotes that I was able to tie into research writing. I have the lesson, so won't talk about it here, but rather reflect on the group. :)

It went well! This group of children are a quiet and controlled bunch. I find that using the thumbs up, down, sideways really works to see where they are with the use of quotes. The groups had some great input about using quotes, and while much of the information was familiar to them, the use in their own writing was new, especially using tags with quotes.

The second mini-lesson was on adjectives and synonyms. Again, I did the thumbs, both in beginning and end, and like with the first group, I got thumbs up all around after the mini-lesson. :) Using adjectives to describe an object, I had this group use a thesaurus and an online thesaurus to find synonyms. This group was a lot more rowdy than the last, but that was more dynamics (three boys one girl in this group, three girls one boy in the first group). but they did the lesson and I feel it was helpful. I even think they had fun finding synonyms because of some of the options given. They found many of the words humorous, and while behavior wise, not the best, I think they will use this skill because they had fun with it!

Once again, my supervisor loved the lesson and thought I did a fabulous job. :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Empty Pot

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Today in Language Arts we were continuing our inferencing lesson, I taught a lesson on prediction. They've seen it before, but for in their response logs, teachers are looking for deeper connections using prediction. They have to pull quotes from the text to support their predictions.

Using the Smart Board to project a graphic organizer, I was able to model for the class how to use a quote from a book to support a prediction, revise a prediction, and then explain what really happened. The book I used was called The Empty Pot, by Demi. This is a wonderful story about a little Chinese boy, Ping, who loves to grow flowers. One day, the Emperor decides to choose a successor from among the children and gives them all seeds. Whoever grows the best flower will be chosen Emperor. But there's a twist! This book made for a great prediction lesson. Unfortunately, I cannot take credit for choosing the book. It was part of a scripted lesson the school has. REM gave me the scrip and graphic organizer, however, I only used the scrip as a guide, and created the information for the graphic organizer.

I first introduced prediction, and then the graphic organizer up on the Smart Board. I had everything already filled in, but put it in white text, so to revel it to the class, all I had to do was change the font color. :) That's the first time I did that...and I loved the way it worked out! (So did REM.) I then read the book, starting with the cover, modeling how I make predictions. I made a few more using quotes, and then stopped on a page to have the students help me make a prediction and pull a quote. They participated really well!

I was also asked my REM and Sunshine if I would teach the lesson to Sunshine's class, because she didn't have one prepared herself, and they liked mine. ;)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Being Sunshine

Week of November 8, 2010

This was a good, but tough week. The kids are still wound up, and a bit out of control. They have had bad reports from Music, Library, and Lunch (which is a continuing situation that is not entirely their fault). I took over for Sunshine again this week, as she called in sick on Tuesday. The day went well, but Senora was out as well, and Eagle took over for her (which she was not too happy about). The day went very well, until dismissal. Two of the boys that Senora watches over were joking around and I saw one of them body slam the other into the fall. The second boy looked a bit hurt. I called them both over to me and had them explain to me what was going on. I said to the first that I saw him slam the other into the wall and that he needed to apologize for that. His response was "not until he apologize's for hitting me in the arm"... I tried to defuse the situation, with no help from Eagle (although looking back, it was probably good that I did it alone. But where was she in the first place, being it was her job that day to watch over these boys). I tried repeatedly to have the first apologize to the second, and told him that I hear what he's saying and validate that he feels he needs an apology, but he was adamant. I tried all the defusing tricks I knew, but the kids behind me were getting rowdy and impatient, so I told the boys the conversation would continue tomorrow with Sunshine. I also told the second to think back over the day to see if anything happened that he should be apologizing for. In this case, however, I'm more apt to believe boy #2.

Native American Photo Albums and Alone for the Day

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Today I was observed for a Social Studies lesson. The class has been researching Native American tribes (5 in total) in groups and now they get to share their research through artistic expression. Each member of the tribe-teams, using their specific research topic (food, climate, clothing...) draws and colors three pictures on large index cards. They then write captions and mount it all on oak board to be bound together with other group members pages, including a collaborative cover.

Sunshine let me teach her class early in the morning during a LA block so I could get some practice with the lesson in before being observed. With a few insertions from her, I was able to get the language needed. She then had a doctors appointment, which went longer than anticipated, so it worked out well that I could teach all the SS lessons that day. I received wonderful feedback during my meeting, and we also went over the PPA draft I wrote. I received help with editing it, and even before that, SPEM helped me write it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Today was parent-teacher conferences with REM and SPEM. I was left in charge of the class, and the 1-to-1 aide was out as well. All in all, it was a great day. I was prepared with the Scientific Notation math lesson, and Eagle taught the first one, so I was able to observe her being I was REM for the day and didn't rotate with our class. However, this time, I was making notes on how I would do things differently, not the same. This was a first so far this year, and I believe an important step. The next class was my own homeroom, and they did a great job. I made sure I was explaining the concept in many different ways, being as clear as I could. It was such a different experience with only one teacher in the room, ie: ME! because certain students on plans really do need those extra bodies in the room! During the third class of the day, the class became so engaged in a math conversation that Sunshine had to pop in and reminded me it was time for lunch. :) What a great experience!

Where I still feel I need improvement is class management. There were times when they would get a bit, too out of control and I found I was loosing my patience. I have to remember that they're just kids!! And sometimes they cannot control themselves!