I started my first day as student teacher at Ancillae Assumpta Academy today. This is a Catholic school that serves grades kindergarten to 8th grade. It is about a five minute walk from Arcadia University. I will be under Mrs. Jennifer Smith for the duration of my stay, which will be from today to May 16th, 2016. I will also be working with Mrs. Lindsay Reifsnyder who co-teaches with Mrs. Smith. Someone from Arcadia will come and observe me teach a lesson sometime during my stay.
So the class is a 4th grade class with 28 students. Class starts around 8 o’clock but of course students come in before that. There are students with special needs in the classroom but there are no IEP’s. As Mrs. smith informed me, the students are tested but they are not necessarily diagnosed. This was interesting to know because I always made the assumption that all schools had some sort of an IEP for special needs students. However, this school does have “action plans” where the assessments are structured for specific individual students. Also as I was talking with Mrs. Smith about how she plans her lessons, she said that she doesn’t really make up a formal lesson plan. She just comes up with weekly plans thst includes the Objective, Process, Assessment, etc. Also, another thing I found interesting was that they do not take the PSSA’s. What do they take instead? The Terra Novas which test the common core standards.
So today was actually not a typical Monday for either the students nor the teachers. The class was getting introduced to a new STEM project (Riley Rover Base Project) where the students will use coding and programming to build and maneuver a robot. Today bieng my first day, I was observing a lot and jotting down a lot of notes of what the students were doing and what the teachers were doing. The classroom was packed with students and teachers. There were five of us in the classroom. Two teachers introducing the STEM project, two teachers observing,jotting down notes about the project, and managing the classroom, and one student teacher (me) observing it all. Mrs. Smith kept on commenting how funny this looked because she has never had so many professionals in her classroom before. Because there was so many things going on at one time and because this was a new concept, we did not finish until it was time for lunch. But the students learned to program Riley Rover using the Bluetooth and an iPad. They played around with the axis and practiced going forwards and backwards.
The rest of the day was pretty laid back. I got to connect with the girls of the class as they pulled me into one of their games. It was pretty fun. I was a little nervous because I had never played the game before but they were really patient and taught me how to play. Towards the middle of the day, they had religion class where they read from the religion book. They read about the Holy Spirit guiding us and then they were thinking about the beginning of the unit and specific example from that unit. After that they moved on to Social Studies where they were learning about William Penn and the native Americans. Before they headed out for gym, Mrs. Smith was reading the book, Drizzle, out loud to them. The author is going to be coming to the school in May so they have to finish the book by then.