April 4, 2016

The weather seems to be having mood swings for the past few weeks. We have experienced all four seasons here. It’s the beginning of April and a whopping 40 degrees this morning. So I bundled up and headed out. I usually take the train to Glenside and then take the bus from there. But today I decided to walk it instead of waiting for the bus because by the time I get there, the bus arrives. And so I did. However, wearing the jacket didn’t seem like a good idea anymore.

Anyway, I eventually reached the school. Today’s morning meeting was hilarious. Mrs. Smith always has a new or old and recurring game for them to do. Today’s game was “I love you bunny but I just can’t smile”. So the purpose of the game is to say this sentence in a way that you can get the person next to you to smile. And if that person smiles, he/she is out of the game. So the students are trying all sorts of ways to get the other to smile (e.g. Funny faces, different voices, singing, etc). Then this one girl, let’s just call her Suzy, starts to sing it like she’s in the opera and the whole class including the teachers just burst out laughing. The person she did it to was definitely out of the game, and since she was out, Suzy goes to the next person in line and does the same thing again. She took out three people 😄.

During math, Mrs. Reifsneider was introducing a new math unit to the class from the Go Math! books. They were starting to learn about lines, rays, and angles. She was going over the vocabulary with them like what a point is, what a line, line segment, and ray is. Observing her, I noticed that she didn’t just go over the vocab, she took them apart and reconstructed them using simpler language. She even used a human model where the students stretch out their arms which I think was interesting because it’s a nice way to help kids remember which ones which. For example, if their hands are outstretched, it means it’s a line because it goes on forever. And if you outstretch your arms on both sides but make a fist with both hand, that means that it’s a line segment because the line stops. And if one hand is open and stretching and the other hand is made into a fist, that is a ray because it starts at one end point and goes on forever.

As I was looking through the teacher’s handbook that Mrs. Smith gave me to look through, I noticed that RtI interventions with Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 were incorporated into the book to assist students struggling with the concept. I don’t think the teachers really follow this but as I observed later at the end of math class, the teachers sat down with the students who did not necessarily understand the concept and only let them go when they were able to figure it out.

Today was the day I taught the Language Arts lesson on government. The class went on a trip to the state capital last Friday so I started the discussion with that. I was able to do a better job today than last week. I interacted more with the students. I asked them more questions based on the reading such as Do you want to work rather than go to school?, Do you think children should work? Why or Why not?, What are the advantages and disadvantages of working during this time?, etc. The reading was a narrative nonfiction and produced questions like Why do we need the government?, Why do we need rules?, How does the government help us maintain order and help preserve our freedom?

Some things I need to work on is giving more feedback when a student answers a question or shares something. Also, Mrs. Smith had a few pointers for me. She told me to give them separate directions, which I agreed with as well, because as soon as I gave them two directions at once, they tended to follow the second direction rather than the 1st. And another thing I am having a problem with is bringing the class together after a discussion. My voice is quiet as Mrs. Smith told me. So I am to come up with a technique to let them know that discussion is over and that it is time to listen to me. I think this will probably come to me as I teach more. Mrs. Agnew, from Arcadia, will be coming to observe me teach the lesson on Public Offices next Monday. So here’s to hoping I can do a good job.

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