Teacher Candidate Weekly Log

posted Apr 1, 2013, 8:13 PM by Dawn Gernhardt

Name: Dawn Gernhardt                                             Week 8                                                     Date: 3/29/13




Coursework and classes at CSUSM



1 Coursework.

2 Prep. Ran through today’s lesson and transitions.  

3 Co-teaching, supportive: I led SSR, then I lead the new vocabulary activity “vocabulary billboard.” Tomorrow we’ll complete the activity when the students teach each other their words, using pictures.

4 Support, tutor: I tutored students learning English in matching vocabulary, creating the “future selves” through pictures, and finding skills needed in the workplace.  

5 Same as period 3.

6 Support in Ms. Easterbrook’s class. We’re starting a new unit. Students started with SSR, vocabulary, then students worked on spoken word.

7 Met with my CT to begin practicing our Thursday activity and discussing Night, the upcoming persuasion unit.



1 Coursework.

2 Prep. Ran through today’s lesson and transitions.

3 Co-teaching, supportive: I led SSR, and then I lead the second half of the vocabulary activity “vocabulary machine.” Students take their vocabulary “billboard” they created the day before and teach each other.

4 Coursework. The ELD teacher took students to the computer lab and didn’t need a tutor today.

5 Co-teaching, supportive: same as period 3.  

6 Coursework.


1 Coursework.

2 Prep: Ran through today’s lesson and transitions.

3 Co-teaching, team teaching: my CT and I modeled the SSR poster for students then had students work in pairs to complete themselves.

4 Support.  Worked with students learning English

5 Co-teaching, team teaching: same as period 3.

6 Co-teaching, team teaching: since I had worked as my CT’s partner in 3rd and 5th, I stayed to help her in 6th as well. We notified Ms. Easterbrook.


1 Coursework.

2 Prep. Ran through today’s lesson and transitions.

3 Co-teaching, supportive: I led the vocabulary review and my CT lead the expository draft writing exercise.

4 Coursework.

5 Co-teaching, supportive: same as 3.

6 Coursework. Went to CSUSM to drop off my permission slips.


The best part of this week

I’m happy to see my ideas, like the vocabulary billboard/machine activity, come to action. My CT is great about letting me come up with ideas and then putting them into practice. She also gives me written questions to consider for feedback after my third period class so that I can consider how I’d like to tweak fifth period. Third period is typically a bit clunky while I work out the bugs of new lessons and material, while fifth period typically runs more smoothly. After periods 3 and 5 today, I asked the students to reflect on how useful the vocabulary exercises were in their comprehension and retention of the vocabulary words. Period 3 didn’t find them useful. Period 5 were split down the middle with the following comments: they wished they had more time to keep rotating because sometimes there were three or four of the same word in a row. They liked drawing the vocabulary words. As a teacher, I reflected after third period and choose to not have students get into their groups. However, it worked better to eliminate the occurrence of the same words appearing in a row. The students were so tight together that the rotation of one step to the left didn’t seem to work for 5th period. Somehow there kept being bottlenecks of students. Also, it might have been better to have two groups of 20 instead of one huge group of 40. Or, it might be just as great to let the students work in a group of 9 and teach each other their words. I’ve seen this done with an inside circle and an outside circle, but we don’t have a lot of space in the classroom. Maybe we’ll use the Vocabulary Machine for a big review instead of just a weekly review. Another way to work vocabulary is to have the students teach from the front of the room. If students drew a picture/symbol to represent the vocabulary words, then the class could guess which vocabulary word it was. We typically play a game on review of three sets (or about 27 vocab words for the cumulative test), not every week. Or to play $20,000 pyramid, Jeopardy (we’ve done), charades, etc. I’ll keep trying to see how we can make this work. I like letting the students have some choice. If we put all of the vocab words in a hat and the students draw a word and then act it out or do a charade, or draw it (like Pictionary), that could be a great group learning activity.

Also, I created a new silent sustained reading (SSR) activity and it was a huge success. The students were engaged, it’s easy to model and demonstrate, and the students worked in pairs and actually discussed their books with passion and interest! Before they would just read and that was it.

Biggest challenge this week  

I’ve had to talk to two different students immediately after class. One talk was a few weeks ago—that has been fine. On Friday, one of my students was not responding to me, having a poor attitude, and talking incessantly when I was talking. I talked to her after class, while my CT was in the room, and she was nervous and distracted. She was worried about being late to her next class. I told her I had a pass for her, but she was still worried. My CT saw her leave quickly afterwards and she was crying. I’m sorry she seemed to take it personally or that our talk triggered her strong emotions. I'm not sure why she was crying, but I felt I was fair, straightforward, and kind. On Monday, I’m doing coursework at CSUSM, so I’m not in the classroom. The student I pulled aside on Friday, and another student were talking and my CT heard my name being used. When she asked them what was going on, they asked how much longer I would be teaching in our classroom. My CT told them I would be there until the end of the year. Then she asked if there was a problem. They said no. But, clearly the student I had spoken with the Friday before was upset and sharing that she was upset with other students. My CT told me that I’m doing everything right as a teacher, but sometimes this happens. It may be because I’m a student teacher, or they liked the way the class was before I came along. Regardless, I’m going to not take it personally, not make assumptions, do my best, and try to get to know the students on a personal level and use the curriculum to engage them and keep them interested. I’m remaining positive and I treat all the students equally. By this Thursday, the two students I had spoken to about their behavior, in the past, and their group of friends in the class, were less distant and more responsive to me. It seems the situation is resolving itself. It also helped to change the seating chart and have direct conversations with the students about their lives and interests--not the classroom or their behavior, which something I've been doing, but I'm going out of my way to get to know the students that have had a harder transition with my introduction into the classroom mid-year. I'm getting to know the students better, and that can always help in all areas of classroom management and instruction. They are great students and people and I feel fortunate to learn and grow with them.

Next week

I’m planning for teaching Night. I’m excited about working on material and creating something from nothing. My CT has a small binder of material she has used in the past, but it’s hard for me to take someone's material cold and try to make sense of it. So, I’ll use what she has if it fits. We’ll be taking my ideas and seeing if they work. I'm open to reviewing what exists from my CT as well as other teachers who may have materials posted online. After Spring Break I'll be taking the lead nearly all of the time for planning and implementing our instruction.

Class Webpage

There is a School Loop website for our class with all of the handouts and materials the students (and parents to help their students and stay informed) need if they lost materials or were absent.  I also have a website for my planning and implementation for my 20% project that relates to teaching persuasion through Night. This website is in process as I’m still in the early planning phases.


Co-Teaching Models

Co-teaching Model

Planning lead Cooperating Teacher

Planning lead Teacher Candidate

Teaching lead Cooperating Teacher

Teaching lead Teacher Candidate





















Lead Teacher