Being Taught to Teach

First Time Alone…
September 18, 2011, 5:58 pm
Filed under: Seminar Journals, Student Teaching

I had to be with my class, by myself for the first time this week.  I was a little nervous about it, but also excited.  My CT and I talked about the fact that there are going to be teacher meetings every Wednesday from 9:45-11:00 am.  For this first one we decided to have me just finish up whatever activity the kids would be doing around 9:50 and get them ready for recess.  Then after recess (10-10:30) I would do a read aloud with them that would lead into the writer’s workshop assignment.  I took the book home that I would be reading to them and practiced going through it and thought of a few questions to ask as I went along, making sure it connected to the assignment to come.  Then Wednesday came.  For some reason my kids were as rowdy on Wednesday morning as they usually are on Friday afternoons.  I was a little panicked.  Getting them to recess wasn’t difficult, it was what came next that I worried about.  When time was up for recess and we called the kids to line up, I talked to the first three girls who got in line.  I hadn’t been planning on recruiting help, but because of all the acting out in the morning I felt I needed to.  I told the girls what we would be doing next and said that I really needed their help to make sure we stayed on task and that everyone was listening to what I had to say, they quickly and happily agreed.  Soon the whole class was there and we went in.  It took a few minutes to settle down on the carpet, nothing out of the ordinary and then I explained what we would be doing for the next half an hour.  I explained that their next writing assignment would be for their own kingdom or country, so what they wanted to pay attention to in the story I was reading was how the author makes another world come to life.  Then it was time to start the story.  As we have been learning in Fredi’s class, as a teacher you don’t want to stop and ask questions on every page.  That will tend to break up the story and make it more disjointed.  I decided to go with the method she had shown us of talking about the title before hand, asking pausing in 2-3 places and then really discussing at the end.  The title, “Roland the Minstrel Pig” already contained in it a vocabulary word I wanted to talk about.  That is how we started, as we went along there were two more vocabulary words I stopped on, lute and palanquin.  I also asked one predictive question, but I think everyone found it pretty obvious the fox was plotting.  During the reading several people made comments and as long as they were related to the story I did not try to curtail them as I like the idea of thinking out loud in this read aloud setting.  However, if there were ever side conversations going on Maya would pipe up and ask everyone to pay attention.  After we had finished we discussed how the author made his world different than ours, “The animals have clothes”, “the pig sang”, which led to a more all encompassing statement from Mallory, “They act like humans.”  This was able to give some of them ideas to get on with their writing.

I wasn’t sure if it was ok to ask the children to give me a hand, but it produced such good results!  I didn’t think I would have them working so quietly on their writing when my CT returned and the 2nd/3rd teacher also thought that it had gone well.  My CT and I have been talking about how to get the transitions in the classroom to be better and one thing she brought up was a buddy or partner system.  I think after seeing how the kids can be when I asked for help it might really work to pair people up to make sure the other is getting everything put away, getting to the carpet on time and transitioning well.  What do you think about that sort of system?


Appreciating Diversity
September 11, 2011, 5:55 pm
Filed under: Seminar Journals

I know that different families, cultures, neighborhoods, and cities lead to different ways of thinking in the children they raise.  It is amazing that this begins with the way we talk to children before they can even respond.  How do we make sure to pose questions to our class in a way that is accessible to all of them?  How do I make sure to incorporate lessons that are socially relevant to my students?  I would like all of my students to find what we are studying interesting and something that they can relate to, however I know that not every story will reach every child, but maybe if the children feel a sense of community amongst themselves they will want to learn about each other’s culture.

I realize that where ever I teach I will probably have students of varying backgrounds, growing up with different languages at home.  I just hope that I am able to build a trusting class and school community so that my students can not only be proud of their differences, but celebrate them.  I would like the first weeks or so of my classroom to have a fun project that has to do with their home life.  I would like the students to be able to do a project about themselves and their culture at home.  Ideally the children would have the option of doing this in whatever language they felt more comfortable doing it in so it can be a piece about them that stays true to their identity.  However, I know that children are always very sensitive to differences, would a project like this bring about too many?  Would a project in which I try to celebrate cultural identity end up hurting the culture of my classroom by singling out children for the vary reasons I want to celebrate them?

Goals at the Beginning
September 4, 2011, 5:49 pm
Filed under: Seminar Journals

Having been in the classroom for a few days now and looking back on my volunteer hours in the classroom, I have come up with a few more goals for myself.  One of the things that is always at the forefront of my mind in a busy classroom is how I can maintain control and authority.  I feel that this is a goal that will be achieved over time with experience.  I will need to build my confidence to accomplish this goal, but while it is lacking, I can really feel it.  Even in just being in charge of a small group, what happens when a child is just done with the activity?  How to I convince him or her to continue with the rest of the group?  I know that there are different techniques for maintaining order and the classroom that I am in will displaying only a few of these techniques, most likely the ones that my CT believes will work best with the specific students and dynamics of our particular classroom.

As I gain more experience with the kids I’m sure I will begin to pick up on these things, but it is my goal to get good at it.  Going off what I discussed in my last journal, knowing my subject matter is also really important to me.  I think that this might also somewhat help with classroom management, at least with the keeping kids engaged part.  If I know and thoroughly understand my subject matter and how the kids in my class would interact with it or think about it, I may have to concentrate on management less because I should be able to come up with lesson plans that are thoughtful and engaging for them.  It is my goal to not only master (or begin to at least) classroom management, but knowing my subject matter and the kids in my classroom so that I can better engage everyone during class.