Saturday, August 27, 2011

2 Weeks In

It's Saturday morning. I was trying to sleep in a little. Alas, that did not work. I woke up at my normal time. So I've decided to blog. My first 2 weeks has been great. I have laughed constantly working with my team. I am totally enjoying going to school everyday.

My students took a beginning of the year reading inventory test earlier in the week. I finally got a chance to look at their scores. Some of their scores surprised me one way (good) or another (lower than expected). But once I was able to see their scores, some of my questions were answered. Knowing their scores, I feel I am better able to meet their needs as learners. I think that last sentence sounds a bit cliche' and overused, but it is true. I think of those types of tests as tools to inform my teaching. 

In reading, we're reading as a class Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. I'm liking it. I also think the kids are really enjoying it and are engaging in meaningful conversations about the book during discussion time. The students are filling out a packet as we read through the book. 

In social studies, we finished up our section on Canada. I'm not going to lie, I learned a lot about Canada during these weeks. We ended the week with a map multiple choice test over the provinces and territories. I have not graded them, but I think they will all do well. We're going to start latitude and longitude/GPS and GIS on Monday.

In language arts, the students have interviewed a student from a different room and will be writing biographies about them. I'm interested to see where they take these. We did go over some clever beginnings to use instead of the boring "Hi. I interviewed ________. Their favorite things are (insert blah, blah, blah here)." I need to make up my personal editing sheets and my peer editing sheets for them to use when editing. 

Keeping it real - we do a lot of group work, paired work, etc. I asked them why they think we work in groups and this was some of their responses - "It helps us to work on teams with others because when we grow up we'll have to do that." "So we cooperate with everyone." "That way we can share ideas with others so we understand better." "Maybe we came up with close to the same answers, but someone has a different view on it and it might change the way we thought about it." etc. etc. I wondered if they had had this questioning before or not, but it doesn't really matter because they understand the value of learning from others. The only problems I have is when they want to work with others that kind of hinder their educational process. :) So I just modify groups, or give stipulations on what type of groups you can have. (not all boy groups or all girl groups, give an appointment sheet of specific times and who they can meet with, etc, etc). 

Things to work on...
  • Every student responses - I tend to ask something. 4-5 students raise their hands. Those kids are the only ones engaged and thinking. I need to work on this. It's more of a habit type thing, but it can definitely be improved so that everyone student is engaged in the learning. (think, pair, share type stuff, 20 seconds to tell  your partner what you think about something, etc)
  • Making things meaningful. I needed a 5 minute time filler after we finished our map test on a Friday afternoon until we switched classes with my partners classroom for my students' science lesson. It was a quick thing/activity on Canadianisms. The kids thought it was interesting, but they probably didn't learn much and it probably wasn't too standards-based. 
  • Planning - plan ahead, plan extra, be prepared daily.
  • Getting up my goals on the bulletin board so the students know what they are working towards
  • My personal/professional goals for this school year and my meeting with the principal about them. 
  • Putting together my and the students' data binders. 
Can't believe it's been 2 weeks in. It's flown by. My motto for this year I think is going to be.
Where are we going? How are we going to get there? What is the best way that students are going to learn the material? What am I going to do to improve next time?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

First Week Finished

It's Sunday night. I'm prepared for Monday. This last week has been so exciting for me. I have learned all my students' names and a lot of things about them. I am really enjoying myself. The support that I have behind me is absolutely tremendous. To be given a curriculum guide that has already been laid out for me has been a great help. I know what I need to be teaching around a certain time. It really helps with planning and preparing for classes.
A couple of things I need to improve -
  1. Organization - I need to get things in folders and filed away
  2. Procrastination - This will probably always be on my list of things to improve just because it's just me I guess. 
  3. Think about the future more. Like - where we are going, when we are doing it, how are we going to get there.
I wouldn't be where I am without the help of those around me. Everyone walks on the shoulders of those who come before us or work beside us. I have been taken under the wing of amazing people. I just hope I am able to give as much back as they have given me.
Well, here we go onto week 2, where the real learning and teaching is going to take place. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

One Week

I have one week until my school starts. I have been through orientation at my school and have met my teaching partner. I'm excited to work with him. I'm thrilled to work with the rest of team also.
Here's a picture of my room without anything done to it.

Here we go! Let the decorating and planning begin!!!