Sunday, September 30, 2012

Lesson Planning

I have been creating my first few lesson plans over the past two weeks and I'm excited to present them to my class.

  •  The first lesson plan I created (the tutoring plans are not being counted here) was for my Positive Learning Environment class. We had to create a lesson for the beginning of the school year that would help teach the students what is expected of them. Since we are based in the KPR school board, us TC's have learned that the KPR board has a character development program that all schools are implementing. I chose to use the characters to help students explain what is expected of them. For example, Respect: "I should respect my peers because I want to be respected myself." Anyways, the goal was to teach students about the characters they are to develop and explain what is expect of them at the same time. At the end of the lesson the class would put up a statement for one of the 10 characteristics on a Bristol board representing the Canadian flag. I just got my mark back (18/20!!!!). I was pretty impressed because it was the first time I made a rubric as well.
  • The second lesson plan that I am creating is with a partner for Language Arts. We are supposed to do a 10 minute presentation on a 45 minute lesson plan. I had just read about getting students to think of alternatives to the word "said" and so I suggested to Dan that we go off of that. My idea was to do exclusion brainstorming but after discussing it, we chose The Cloze Procedure. The Cloze Procedure is basically a passage of writing with words deleted and blanks put in their place. The goal is to get students to think critically about what words should go there. We have decided to read a story that repeats the word "said" a lot and really emphasize the repetition. Then we are going to get the students to break off into groups (we will be doing this as a whole group because we only have 10 minutes) and then have the students come up with alternatives to the word said. Then we are going to create a graveyard with tombstones on the whiteboard with the title "Said is Dead" and have a new word for 'said" on each of the tombstones.Finally, we will give the Cloze Procedure to the students and have them fill in the blanks and we will take it up.
  • The next lesson is extremely nerve-racking to me. It is for Phys. Ed. but luckily I am in a group with a great bunch of people. We are doing Zumba in accordance with the grade 6 curriculum. We are supposed to create a 3 day lesson plan and present a part of the lesson to the class. I am still practicing my moves. Anyways, I volunteered myself to do the evaluation part of the assignment. I created a system where you divide your class into three groups (over three days) and evaluate one group a day. Have a clipboard with sticky notes with the names of each student and the categories you will be evaluating (Knowledge and understanding, thinking, application, and communication) and you will make note of each student. Then give them a mark at the end of the day. 
  • My final lesson plan is just in the beginning stages. I am working with a partner for math to do Ratios. We are trying to find a manipulative that would be new and interesting (cubes are fun but they have already been used twice in our class). I think we might do smarties (peanut free, of course).
Anyways, that is what I have been busy doing lately. A lot of lesson planning and not knowing what to expect marks-wise. Also, I have to do Phys. Ed. journals for each class and they have to be a page long, single spaced. I am wracking my brains on what to write and I am only on the second class! 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Half Done First Semester

4 weeks in and I am exhausted! Between classes, assignments, readings, workshops (which can occur on weekends), and placement...I am almost always tired. The dark circles under my eyes that would only appear during exam season have now become permanent fixtures on my face. No amount of make-up can fix these circles.
Besides that, I am having a lot of fun. I mean, as much fun as one can. I love carpooling with the ladies that I carpool with. I am doing a group project for my physical education class on ZUMBA! I made friends with someone I normally wouldn't say two words to for fear of sounding like an idiot. I am going to say the semester is going well.
I am getting ready to hand in my first two real assignments and I'm feeling good about them. Neither were done hastily the night before or the morning of. I love planning for tutoring twice a week, the books and activities I get to make get me really excited.
In tutoring I am focusing on sight words. I made sight word dictionaries and created a game of tic-tac-toe where I put sight words in each of the boxes and as I read a story, the student has to cross off each sight word that I read. The students get really into it.
I hate that these blog posts are always rushed and unedited but I have assignments that need to be edited, Phys. Ed. journals that needs to be started, and sleep that needs to occur tonight.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask! DFTBA, Tara

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Tutoring Placement

Welcome to the beginning of Week just 5 short days I will be halfway done my first semester. I am hoping it goes by really quick because I want to teach.

As part of the program, our first placement is actually a tutoring placement for students who are at a lower level of reading (usually a level 2). I have two students who are both boys in grade 2.

The first week was just a get to know you week. I made up mad-libs which look like:

Both boys filled them out and then we went on to drawing maps of things they like. After that we read The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch. The first boy didn't want to make a paper bag prince as he didn't think his father would want him to bring it home but the second boy was really into it. He made a paper bag puppet of himself and we talked about how it shouldn't matter what someone wears, it is whether they are doing good things that matters.

The second day was again, a get to know you day in which we read Where the Wild Things Are and discussed how the pictures on the pages go from a small picture to covering both pages and then back to a small illustration on the page. We also did a reading survey in which I brought stickers, hoping they would answer with putting stickers down on the "yes" or "no" blocks. The stickers were of Toy Story but both the boys didn't like Toy Story. I just let them pick out the colour of markers they wanted to use.

I am hoping next week to engage them more. They like comics and so I brought Chick-a-Dee magazine which has comics for them to read. We are also going to start a sight word dictionary as well.
Don't Forget to be Awesome!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Group Projects

With the second week of class behind me, I have come to the conclusion that group projects are a pain. I understand that teaching is a collaborative effort and that group projects are necessary to give everyone a fair chance at lesson planning etc... but I still don't have to like doing them.

First of all, some group projects can work perfectly because some people you are with for most of your classes but other group projects can be a total disaster. Take my Phys Ed project: I was randomly asked to be in a group with some students who I didn't know and hadn't seen in any of my classes. We did not have the assignment (and technically still don't) but I guess they were keen to get started. I received an e-mail a few days ago about a meeting that I could not make because of the times they has given me (I was in class). So they met and e-mailed me with what they had planned along with another meeting which I could not make because I was in class again. At the end of the e-mail the girl basically told me that if I could not make the second meeting, I might want to think about getting a new group. So now I am back at the beginning to find myself a new group because my schedule wasn't being accommodated.

The Phys Ed. example is an exact reason why I dislike group projects. Everyone has different schedules and not everyone is nice and accommodating. Despite the fact that assigned groups can be frustrating, I think I would rather the professor just assign groups and you have to deal with who is in your group. It eliminates a fair bit of conflict that prevents students from feeling left out. I think as a teacher, I will assign at least half the group projects that I give out and the other half the students can choose. I feel like that is a fair compromise.

Anyways, I have some reading to finish and some preparation for next week to do. Let me know your thoughts on group projects in the comments. I love to hear from you. Also, I start my literacy tutoring on Wednesday! I will blog about that (while staying tactfully confidential) next week.