Finals are already here, man I can’t believe how fast the semester has flown by. Next semester I will be off student teaching. After that I will be the one in charge all alone in high school land. For my final project in this class I decided to do option B, to reflect on my Practicum, write about what I have observed as far as literary strategies, and instruction. Talk about what I liked and what I would do different if it were my own classroom. I guess the best way to start this off would be to tell you a little bit about my Practicum.
. During my Practicum I was fortunate enough to be put into Mrs. Erickson’s drama class down in Chapman. It really worked out, because I had already volunteered to help her with the fall production. So I am able to witness firsthand how it is to conduct a high school production from planning and scheduling, to casting and conducting rehearsals-the whole shebang! I’m also FINALLY in a drama classroom, which has never happened in my prior observations. So I am totally in my element and I not only get to witness growth of students in and out of the classrooms. I’ve also been able to see the real deal. As in what is actually expected of me in my own classroom, how hectic putting on a show can really be in a high school and how that production chaos can slide into my classroom from time to time.
Unfortunately, when it comes to literary strategies in her instruction, there are none. I interviewed her for my coaching and directing class. I know,
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This movie, The Classroom, which was very interesting to watch, discusses all that goes on in the school system, the good and the bad. But it also shows how things at home can affect the way the student acts during the school day. This movie definitely makes you look at students that act out differently, instead of punishing them maybe we should all look deeper into the issue and find a way for the student to thrive and use school as an outlet.
My time spent in the Clinical setting, so far, has been extremely inciteful as to how to become a better educator in a classroom setting. Through the data I collected I was able to connect Borich’s Seven Variables of learning to the students. By being in the clinical setting for nearly two months, I have been exposed to new ways of thinking when it comes to structuring a classroom and instructing a classroom. Within this reflection you will find out how I would better plan an effective lesson for the pupils in my future classroom. You will also discover what I will do about certain issues in the classroom and how I will address/fix them.
Reflecting over the last 6 weeks has provided me with a sense of great accomplishment. I consider myself very fortunate for the opportunity I was provided to perform my practicum hours with Mrs. Lorraine Bott, a 3rd grade teacher at Hazleton Elementary Middle School, Hazleton Pennsylvania. Mrs. Bott was welcoming and informative, and a provided an endless amount of assistance. Her wealth of knowledge, in regard to the students in her class, and her mastery of teaching was the nurturing foundation of the dynamics of her classroom. During the required practicum hours, one of the focuses, was to work with a student selected by the teacher whose reading level was not proficient due to specific disabilities that delay his progression in reading, in addition, the student I selected also displayed short and long-term memory difficulties. At the time of the required practicum, the student I chose to work with was the subject of a child study. The beginning stages of the observation, the child was friendly and enjoyable to work with, but at times displayed some roadblocks in his behavior that were hard to overcome. With that being said, my time spent with the student was very pleasant due to his even-tempered nature and the innocence of his age. Mrs. Bott explained to me that students with display academic difficulties learn to counterbalance for the difficulties and have the ability to learn supplementary skills that are provided through a constant system. I feel the student is very fortunate to have the opportunity to be a part of a classroom dynamic that is supported by a very knowledgeable and qualified teacher who strives to meet the needs of the students in her care.
For my practicum, I was placed in a sixth grade English and History classroom. Working with two classes of Fargo middle school students proved to be a great learning experience for me. Prior to my first day with them, I had been questioning whether or not I’d truly like to proceed with earning a degree in education; however, now I am certain I do. One of the most valuable lessons I learned through observation and working one-on-one with students, was that everything in the classroom is subject to change, from the physical learning environment to the timeline of the topics covered.
Sitting here, I find myself reflecting on the events that occurred in my second year as a classroom teacher. A year that came and went too quickly. A year where emotionally and mentally I was being pushed to the limit. A year where my patience was tested daily by the students that formed the community that was my classroom. A mix that was new, due to the redistricting that our school had put in place for the upcoming school year. A year in which I found my first student of many that I know will always stay in my heart. A student I will always wonder about: Where is he? How is he doing? Has he continued to succeed like I know he can? Has he stayed out of trouble?
Starting from last year, the chemistry teaching lab at Tech has been my second home at Northwestern University. Soon, it became a place where I worked, researched, and studied. On some days, I would spend more time in the lab than in my own dorm room. This place was familiar to me, but while observing this familiar place, I found different interactions that I had not noticed before. Prior to this observational exercise, I thought that the lab was just a place where classes were held and experiments were conducted. Although I had recognized that there was an academic hierarchy, where the importance of professors, TAs, and undergraduate students were clearly divided, I had never truly noticed how socially complex this lab was. From my observations, there were three main interactions in the lab: equal interactions, unequal interactions, and resonance interactions.
While not every teacher teaches the exact same, there does exist a few, fairly common similarities between those I was able to sit in on. Of these commonalities, there were positives and negatives. Typically, one of the first things I noticed during observations of a “good” class was that from the moment students entered the room they knew what to do. Out of the ten observed classes, eight used some form of bell-ringer that was displayed before and during the ringing of the first bell. Yet, of these eight, only four classes successfully engaged in the bell-ringer. Of these three, there was only one that required the teacher’s full input, which came in the form of reading the question. Even still, the four classes that successfully started off the classroom’s time with learning did so out of routine. The two classes that did not use bell-ringers while I was observing did so voluntarily. One was because the students were to be engaged in a Science project within the class, and the other was because they were expecting to leave to take student yearbook pictures. Excluding the Science outlier, classes that did not start off with a bell-ringer or some form of question/activity at the bell tended not to transition as smoothly into lecture or the next planned activity.
When I arrived to my classroom today, Mrs. Beach’s students were still at their special. This gave us about ten minutes to talk about my upcoming less. Mrs. Beach would like me to teach my lesson on October 24. I am not certain which standard I will be teaching, but I do know that I will be teaching students how to solve story problems using the standard subtraction algorithm. I am excited to teach this lesson, but I am also very nervous because I don’t know exactly how to introduce this topic to the students. At 10:10 A.M., the students returned to the classroom, grabbed their math baskets and sat down at their desks. I am constantly amazed at how well behaved these students are. I cannot to learn more about the management strategies that Mrs. Beach implements in her class.
On December 5, 2017, I spent my fifth session with class 3-213. As a prospective student teacher, this day provided me with a plethora of information regarding questioning. For my first few weeks of observation, I focused on the differing forms of instructional planning, assessment, and interdisciplinary instruction. However, this week I listened carefully to the types of questions the teacher asked the students. Mrs. Diaz is truly a remarkable teacher, who carefully plans her questions to execute informal assessments. She uses these questions to measure student performance, while simultaneously stimulating collaborative and encouragement in the classroom. Based on this idea, Mrs. Diaz continuously asks questions throughout the duration
One major drawback that Blatchford (2015) has with the idea of differentiation is ‘the fact that teachers have to do this for 30 students at once’ making ‘it even more difficult’. He further continues to express how you can have great experience in this field which reflects ‘purposeful practice’ but you still would not be able to ‘quite crack’ differentiation. In some ways, I agree with Blatchford as from my first placement, I too have felt the pressure of differentiating for the whole class. I always found myself altering my plans as just when I think I have the best plan for that teaching, another need will crop up, thus starting back at stage one. Additionally, I feel it gives the teachers the impression of feeling intimidated by the number of needs that they would need to measure for when planning.
My first day at Roberto Clemente taught me the most critical and foundation characteristic of the school in that all the staff are there of their own accord with inspiring goals for the students. It is clear that anyone who enters the school with the intent to support the students in one way or another is welcome.
This term, Nina has made noticeable improvements to stay focused during classroom discussions. Despite her best efforts, Nina still finds it difficult to follow instructions, learn specialist vocabulary, locate and join words together to form meaningful utterances. Furthermore, her language and communication difficulty extend to interactions in collaborative tasks, group work and social situations where she struggles to use social language, such as ‘turn-taking’ and to consider what others say. Due to such communication and interaction difficulties, she requires a lot of support and structured activities to help with her learning.
When I evaluate my school year, many things come to mind. I think about friends. I think about the highs and lows.I also think about how I have grown.My 7th grade year at CMS was full of concepts learned, memorable experiences, and personal growth.
Throughout my college career, I have worried about looking professional, supporting my students, and being creative. However, my placement has helped me take a critical look at what I can do and what I need to improve on. Some of what I discovered was positive like the fact that my fears about putting together an effective lesson were mostly in my head. Other discoveries highlighted genuine concerns such as my ineffective social skills. At the end of the day, though, I am more prepared for the coming challenges of my own classroom.