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!