Name: Dawn Gernhardt Week 8 Date: 3/29/13
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
to talk to two different students immediately after class. One talk was
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
talking. I talked to her after class, while my CT was in the room, and
nervous and distracted. She was worried about being late to her next
told her I had a pass for her, but she was still worried. My CT saw her
quickly afterwards and she was crying. I’m sorry
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,
not in the classroom. The student I pulled aside on Friday, and another
were talking and my CT heard my name being used. When she asked them
going on, they asked how much longer I would be teaching in our
CT told them I would be there until the end of the year. Then she asked if
a problem. They said no. But, clearly the student I had spoken with the Friday before was
sharing that she was upset with other students. My CT told me that I’m
everything right as a teacher, but sometimes this happens. It may be
I’m a student teacher, or they liked the way the class was before I came
Regardless, I’m going to not take it personally, not make assumptions,
best, and try to get to know the students on a personal level and use
curriculum to engage them and keep them interested. I’m remaining
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.
planning for teaching Night. I’m
excited about working on material and creating something from nothing.
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.
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.