October 19th

Today was a very interesting day in my internship. I started off the day, struggling to get out of bed and I did not feel well. After I convinced myself to get motivated to eat breakfast, I headed off to the school. First period was prep which allowed myself, some time to relax and get ready for the day.

My first lesson was teaching about reading strategies. We have been using this very cool game that teaches students about reading strategies. It works really well on iPad. In my previous reading strategies class, the students took almost 15 minutes to get onto the site and start playing the game. That’s half of my whole lesson time. This time, I wanted to change it up so that students would be able to get on quicker. I realized that a QR code reader would speed things up, or so I thought. Turns out, on our iPads, we do not currently have a QR code reader (hopefully getting one soon) so instead we had to use the Samsung tablets. These tablets are a great tool… when they work. We had issues with our tablets and in turn, we ended up not getting to our activity quickly again this time. So, I have decided that we will play the game as a class next time so that I know it will get done. Sometimes, it is hard to have individualized technology activities when technology does not want to co-operate.
The chaos of the classroom did not end there. Soon, we transitioned into our Freak the Mighty paragraphs that we have been writing. I felt agitated during this lesson people students continually asked me the same question over and over, “what do I do next?” The interesting part is that I had created a step by step document and criteria list for this paragraph and we went over it extensively at the beginning of our writing stages. I have realized that this is a common theme among our students, “learned helplessness” or the need to be told what to do all the time. I stopped the class to redirect and inform the students about the resource that they have in their book that is there to help them do the best job that they can on this assessment. I felt very frustrated that I spent so much time explaining and creating that sheet, and then it was overlooked instead of being utilized. Anyways, lesson learned.

My math lesson today went well. I felt proud when I decided on the the fly, to do a refresher activity before sending students off to do their assignment. This helped me remember that I had two students who missed the instruction the day before and needed it in order to complete the assignment. I pulled the two students aside and taught them while others worked. In order to help these students get caught up, I made sure that I selected questions on their assignment that touched on each concept, but I lowered the amount of questions they needed to complete. I am proud of this decision today.

At noon today, we had out LUNCH ON LITERACY, which is basically a “Pack-a-parent” lunch with a twist. Parents come to meet in the gym with their child(ren) and eat lunch followed by reading books together. It was a great turn out and very fun to be a part of.

After lunch, I taught social and health. My social lesson involved watching a video about Tommy Douglas. This was a great alternative to researching for students as I noticed they were able to pick out way more information from the video, than they would have been able to get from reading a text. After last recess, was health, where I provided students with an activity where they got to draw their three favorite activities and then list the safety considerations that they needed to think about in order to stay safe while during that activity. I gave the students large pieces of old school printer paper and let them create a mural of their drawings.

I am looking forward to what the rest of the week has in store for me!

 

Until next time!

Jenna deBoth

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Fall 2015: Pre-Internship Experience Overall Reflection

For pre-internship, I have been placed in a Catholic school in Northern Regina. For the first portion of the placement, we had 7 full day experience in the classroom. These periods were spread across 8 weeks. This opportunity provided me with many valuable experiences that have helped shape how I view myself as the teacher, the students and the classroom structure. In this blog post, I am going to go through the different placement days and highlight some of the things that I learned during this time.


 

Week 1: My first week at the school was filled with a lot of learning moments. First off, I had to try and start to remember each students name. By the end of the first day, I knew 10 out of 25 names by memory. The morning of the first day was eye opening as my partner and I were asked to look for different procedures and routines in the classroom. In our co-operating teachers classroom, she has a routine to start everyday with bell work. This concept was new to me as I had never seen a routine such as a booklet that students worked on every moment. This is a routine that I would like to add and adapt to be a part of my future classroom as it provides students with expectation of what their role is at the beginning of each class. On this first day, my partner and  I did a “getting to know you” activity with the students where they were given an opportunity to create a self-portrait that was later put into a class binder. Something that I learned from our lesson was that we needed to spread out our materials for the lesson to avoid a huge pile up at the back of the room or craft table. For our first lesson, this activity was easy and the students loved it. Our lesson can be found in the blog post called “Introduction Self-Portrait Lesson

Week 2: In my second week at the school, I was asked to do a lesson on the Properties of Rocks and Minerals. This was an interesting experience as I had forgotten what the properties of rocks and minerals were. I went to my ESCI professor and asked her if I could borrow some real minerals for students to touch and hold. This was a great idea because the students absolutely loved having real rocks and minerals to use. One moment of this lesson that I was particularly proud of was when we discussed what the streak of a rock was. I had a feeling that none of the students would know what it was, so I brought up a minerals and rubbed it on a piece of paper to show its streak. This was excellent because my cooperating teacher thought that this was very well throughout in advance. I felt very proud that I anticipated this before my lesson and it was a needed demonstration.

Week 3: In week three, I was asked to continue discussing rocks and minerals, but shift my focus onto fossils and the different types. I used this as an opportunity to provide students with a hands on experience to discuss and create the different types of fossils. My grade four students loved this!! They were so engaged in the learning experience that I felt that they didn’t want the learning to stop. The students had the chance to get some salt dough and a plastic dinosaur and used their dinosaur to make the different mold, cast, true form and trace fossils. I am very proud of this lesson. Please feel free to check it out.

During this third week at the school, we were asked to find a student and interview them to figure out their learning style. I interviewed a young girl who told me a lot about how she likes to learn. I only asked her one simple question, “What would you do or teach if you were the teacher for a day.” This allowed for the student to tell me how she likes to activities where she sits in her desk and writes because it helps her focus. I found that this experience was very powerful for me because it allowed me to give this students an opportunity to tell me about themselves in a very reflective and positive manner. I learned a lot from this experience. I plan to continue to ask my future students this question to get to know them and their learning skills in a different way.

Week 4: My fourth week in the classroom, I created another lesson on fossils that was based around paleontologists and fossils that are found here in Saskatchewan. This lesson was great because I had the chance to give the student a hands on feeling of what it would be like to remove fossils from the groups. The students discussed different fossil found in Saskatchewan and then each student received a chocolate chip cookie and some excavation tools (a paintbrush, plastic knife and tooth pick) to try and remove as many whole chocolate chips from their cookie as they could. The grade fours were very engaged in this activity. If you are interested in this lesson, please take a look at my Paleontologists and Fossils lesson. The video below was my set to this lesson.

Week 5: This fall, we were unable to have 8 field days, due to Remembrance Day falling on a Wednesday this year. I used this day to catch up on homework and try to relax during this busy and stressful semester.

Week 6: In week six, I was actually very sick for a couple of days and therefore was unable to attend pre-internship. My cooperating teacher was so kind and understanding and when I asked to come another day to make up for this, she told me that I needed to use my day to relax and focus on school work. This was a very admirable thing for her to say, in my books, and I greatly appreciated it.

Week 7: When I came back to the classroom in week 7, the students all asked me if I was feeling better as they had found out that I was sick the week before. I felt very loved and respected as these grade four students wanted to make sure that I was okay. In this week, my topic was about fossil dating and the geological time scale.  I decided because this was a content heavy lesson, that I would help my students learn it through an interactive game. I decided to develop a modified jeopardy game for the students to play, which involved new information that they would be learning that day, as well as information from previous lessons about fossils. The students were broken into groups and they were extremely engaged in an activity where we were not even keeping score. I enjoyed that all of the students actively participated and were excited about the new information that they were learning about. This lesson, along with my fossil types lesson, were probably my favorite from my one-visit-per-week pre-internship. I would love to do this activity again with one of my future classrooms.

Week 8: Week 8 was my last week in the classroom until our three week block in March. My last lesson was an introduction to human hearing. This was an interesting lesson that I was also proud of. I had intended to use the smart board to go through the parts of the human ear in an interactive way. Thankfully I had a sheet for my students that also had all of the parts of the ear with definitions because our SmartBoard locked down just before I started my lesson. I am very proud of this because I was able to demonstrate that I was prepared for myself and able to adapt and think on my feet. I look forward to doing this lesson again with a future classroom and be able to use the interactive parts of the ear website.


As our one-visit-per-week section of pre-internship concludes, I am very excited to start my three week block. I found out that I will be doing a unit on healing in health. Keep and eye out on this blog for lessons as they develop in early 2016.

Until next time, thank you for reading my blog!

Starting the Maze: First Day of Pre-Internship

October 14, 2015 marked my first day of Pre-Internship. It is hard to believe that I have been in the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina. When I walked into the grade 4 classroom this morning, I felt calm and collected as there was no one in the room. Mrs. R., the classroom teacher was in a staff meeting, but when she returned, she greeted myself and the other pre-intern in our class. This classroom was set up with bright bulletin boards and students art work. After our quick pre-conference and students started to come into the classroom, I noticed something different about Mrs. R’s classroom. One thing that I picked up on was the procedure to start off the morning. Students dropped their bags and coats at their hooks at the back of the classroom and then proceeded to head to their desk. Once students made their way to their desk, they pulled out a small binder and opened it to a particular page that said “Wednesday” at the top. On this piece of paper was 3 mathematics questions. Each student diligently completed the work and when they had finished they flipped to another page of sentences. Students then worked on correcting these sentences. For those students who finished early, they grabbed the novel that they had on or in their desk and started to read it. Once 10 minutes had gone by and Mrs. R had completed her attendance, the students corrected the “Bell-work” as it was called, together.  This procedure blew my mind as I had listened to theory behind a policy such as this, but to see it in action was a whole different story. When it comes to creating policies and procedures in my classroom, bell-work is definitely one that I plan to incorporate!

To follow the bell-work, student were paired up in “dictation partners” where each student was given time to spell words that were dictated to them from their partner. This activity was the first moment of many that I noticed that Mrs. R uses big terms with the students, but explains them so that they can add them to their vocabulary. I think that this process is fantastic as it allows for students to understand words that are used in language that may not be fully explained later in classes. I feel that this process also makes the students feel more like they are being treated as equals instead of being talked to all the time with lower level language. I know that not all language in the classroom can be of higher level, but if we as educators have high expectations for our students and provide the right amount of supports needed then our students will meet or exceed those expectations.

After lunch, I was able to experience another procedure that is in place in Mrs. R’s classroom. After the lunch recess, students come into the classroom, put their coats away, head to their desk and pull out a book. The classroom has been split into three different groups. Group 1 was working on what are called RA books that can be picked up from the library at a certain reading level, that suits the student, so students have material to read that is non-fiction. Another group was working on RAZ books which are electronic books that each student has a log into an account to use. This account provides students with a select number of books that are pre-selected to be in their reading level. Once a student reads a book, they complete a test on the book and receive a mark. The third group also reads a book online, but they are read the book through head phones after. Once the student has read the book as well as listened to the book, then they take a test on that book. This tests students on their listening skills and reading comprehension. If the students get a mark of 1 or two 0.5 marks, then they receive a sticker. These stickers are collected in good reading notebooks. When a student fills a reading note book with their reading stickers, then they receive a prize. The reading notebooks are set up so that if each student completes their book and questions each day, then they will receive a prize once a month. This activity was very interesting to me because I has never thought about having students doing three different things at the same time while at catering to different learning levels. I plan to add this form of bell-work to my teaching toolkit so that I can explore the possibility of it in my future classroom.

At 1:20, it was time for the pre-interns to do our introductory lesson. We started off our lesson with a self-portrait that showed who we are, where we come from and what are some of our interests. After that, my partner and I provided the students each with a 8 1/2 x 11″ piece of paper to create their own portrait on. This activity was very engaging for students because the students were able to choose what mediums they wanted to explore. My partner and I took time to walk around, talk to the students about what they were doing and ask them about some of their interests. This was a great activity that allowed for us to have time to talk to the students and start to get to know them. When we needed the students attention, I used the procedure of “1-2-3 Eyes on Me” to get the students attention. The students eagerly responded “1-2 Eyes on You” as this was a procedure that Mrs. R already uses on a regular basis. The lesson went well, but there are a few things that could have gone better. We originally put the craft supplies on two small desks in the corner of the room and in pairs sent student back to grab some supplies for their self-portrait. If I was to teach this lesson again, I would provide each student with a piece of white paper as we did and ask them to draw a self-portrait. While students are build completing this part of the task, I would set out art supplies at the back of the room on tables that could be surrounded on all sides. This would allow for students to have room to grab supplies for their project easily.

When class was over for the day, my partner and I had our post-conference with Mrs. R. She was very polite and respectful in all of her advice. Our Professional Development Goal (PDP) for this week was based upon communication skills. One thing that Mrs. R wrote down about my communication skills was that I said “you guys” a couple of times. This is a saying that I have been trying to remove from my vocabulary since my second year of University. I was aware before this lesson that this saying would be something that I need to work on and I have plans to exchange the phrase, “you guys” with “friends” to ensure that I am being inclusive.

All in all, I think that my first day of pre-internship was excellent. My feet were a bit sore from standing all day, but other than that, I felt accomplished and proud when I left the classroom. I look forward to next Wednesday’s class, as I will be discussing the properties of rocks and minerals in Science.

 

Until next time, thank you for reading my blog!