Final Reflections

I apologize in advance for the lack of images in this section. Remembering to take photos of the students learning and work was not a strong suit of mine. I also did not have clear consent about posting images of my students on my blog.

I am someone who takes a lot of time to critically reflect on my teaching practices, my lesson plans, my classroom management, and my daily routines. I think one of the most important parts of being a teacher is being able to be reflective and accepting of criticism. 


Monday, October 1st 

Thursday was such a fantastic day. Our student who has been coming half days, tried his first full day of class, and he did amazing! Phys. ed. had previously been a trigger for this student to become violent and to run away, but not this time. This student participated in our game that we played, he played catch with my coop and he only left once, but it was not out of anger. This was a huge win for this student, and it made me feel incredibly awesome. S also enjoyed her time, participating in our game for a few minutes and then playing with a ball with her EA, it was great. These students have both come a long way from what I have heard. Warms my heart.

The rest of the day was great as well, I taught our next lesson in health, continuing talking about labels and judgement. I had the students do a little worksheet to explain what they knew about the topic, before beginning we reviewed all the words and talked about them before I gave them their worksheet. However, all the grade 3’s and one grade 4 were very confused and were not able to answer most of the questions. I plan to reteach these students the ideas during intervention this week before our next health class.


Friday, October 5th 

Wednesday was an interesting and tough day. Our poor K-2 teacher had an emergency, yet chose to stay and finish his day at school, instead of leaving. In the afternoon I went and volunteered in his classroom, helping his students with a Thanksgiving craft, this way he was able to work on some other things, while I managed the classroom and assisted the students. And in last class we had our grade 3-5’s join the K-2’s in phys ed, allowing the K-2 teacher time to do his meeting with the literacy coaches. This phys. ed class was absolutely insane. There were 28 bodies in the gym and a lot of children with their ears turned off. My coop and I had to do a lot of classroom and student management. We figured out that it worked best to play a more structured game than a tag game. Once we started playing musical hoops the students began listening much better. Wednesday was a good first taste of a K-2 room. I look forward to more opportunities of being in that classroom and learning from those students and their teacher.

*It is so important to be flexible and to help your colleagues when you can.


Monday, November 12th

 This past week was a busy one. Teaching full time is intense, but also really fun. I like having the control of class time and transitions as well as feeling like I am making decisions about the students education to help them succeed. I am just so thankful for this experience. I was having a conversation with another staff member and we discussed how the education degree would be even more remarkable if we could try every grade in our range for a couple weeks at a time. This would allow us to get our feet wet in all age groups and with many different classrooms and students.

The week went by extremely quick. I had a couple of my guided reading groups take on new books, still working on the same skills of building fluency. I had my coop sit in on a guided reading lesson and she gave me some great pointers, as I felt like I maybe wasn’t doing the guided reading thing justice. I learned a lot from her comments and am looking forward to putting them into action this week.


Friday, November 16th

Thursday there was another huge blow up. A student lost it at the very end of phys ed because he was unable to participate without gym clothes. He was very upset with me and with the “changes of rules” since I came to teach here. I felt so bad and I tried to remain calm and supportive the whole time. But I ended up getting upset and he left for his science class and nothing really got resolved. This student is constantly testing me and trying to see how far he can push me. He also has ADHD mixed with rage, so he often cannot control his outbursts. I had a talk with the principal after and she gave me some advice as I go into my own classroom one day, to phone the parent when things like this happen, keep good communication, ask for advice, and make a relationship with them. She also gave me some advice with the student himself, to give him at least ten minutes on his own to cool down after an out burst before even attempting to talk to him. So, I will try this in the future.

*I am so thankful for the support and guidance of the staff as I learned how to deal with out bursts like these.


Monday, December 19th 

After lunch we practiced Christmas concert again, it was almost flawless! They did so well, I am getting really excited for the final performance. However, I am kind of nervous because I still don’t feel like I know all the students’ dances and I am their prompter. YIKES. I took the time to write down all the actions today in the scripts, and I will need to practice. I spent my prep in the K-2 room. They were taking time to decorate their classroom with Christmas decorations. It was hectic and I saw a few things that I probably would have done differently, but the teacher was having a great time and I just kept the peace and handed out tape. Once they were mostly finished, I had the students sit in their desk and I read them a story. I was amazed at how quiet they were listening to the story. It was like they were mesmerized. I tried to use my best expression to keep them entertained, I had them giggling a few times, which felt like a win to me. We read one more story, which allowed the teacher some time to do his own thing. And then a few minutes before the bell we started to get ready to go home. The teacher was very appreciative of my help, which made me feel very good. I love being in their room.


I had such an amazing experience overall. I made great life long relationships with some of the staff, including my cooperating teacher.

I was given many opportunities including: head coaching sr. boys volleyball, helping with the Remembrance Day ceremony, helping with Christmas concert duties, planning a sr. volleyball wind up for both teams, participating in two Chinook literacy PD days, visiting several other schools in the division, and making valuable connections with several teachers and Chinook School Division staff. I will forever be grateful for all of these opportunities!

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Math+Math= FUN

I have always been a huge lover of math! I love solving problems, working through equations, and applying math skills to everyday tasks. While I love doing math, I am not always the best at explaining HOW to do “math”. I understand that there are several strategies for solving various math tasks, but I usually find one and stick to it. Which means I sometimes forget the importance of sharing multiple strategies.

I was also really nervous for my three week teaching block to begin because I had no idea how I was going to teach three grades of math with only one hour a day. This was new for my cooperating teacher too. She developed a chart system in which she would provide math game time, lesson time, SPLASH math time, and work time. She would alternate the schedule daily to try to have lesson time for two grades per class. We ended up deciding that she would work with the grade five’s while I taught the grade three’s and four’s using the chart system. This choice was partly to relieve some of my stress, but also because the grade five’s were behind and struggling on the unit she taught prior to my three week teaching block.

I had the opportunity to teach the grade three’s double and triple digit adding and subtracting. While I taught one of my two grade four’s about place value and adding and subtracting using borrowing and carrying. While I taught the other grade four multiplication.

“The students have been doing well in math, for the most part. One super interesting thing that happened in math this week was our grade four student who has really, really been struggling, is now doing much better due to one tiny adjustment. This student is a unit behind our other grade four student and has been struggling with adding and subtracting. My coop and I brought this concern to the principal and within seconds she had an idea, which changed this student’s whole math world. We put her math equations on 1cm grid paper, lining up every digit, and wow! This student went from getting over half her questions wrong, to getting almost all of them right! So amazing.”

This is a reflection that I had after feeling super defeated about one of the grade four’s continuous struggles. My cooperating teacher was out of ideas and so we went to our principal. By reaching out we helped build confidence in our student and bring success to her work and understanding. I loved seeing this transformation in my student. Her whole attitude toward math changed when we found a way to help her succeed!

As with ELA, I learned that Math is about routine and adjusting with the students needs. Luckily the Math Makes Sense textbooks have great lessons already made for you. So, I found it best to read over the lesson the night before and write down important steps to emphasize, or possible other strategies to teach, or things to eliminate that I knew would confuse my students.

While I found that sometimes I was reteaching ideas or back pedalling in the middle of a lesson as my students weren’t understanding, for the most part I think I did a great job of supporting their needs and learning.

One thing that I noted was a huge change for my grade three’s understanding was creating my own examples while teaching that related to my students interests or funds of knowledge. For example, two of my grade three’s knew a lot about cattle and horse care, including medical needle measurements. So, I would use these ideas to create realistic questions, this brought their engagement and “try levels” to a maximum.

I look forward to my future math classes and bringing math to life with my students through engaging examples, games, and manipulatives.

 

 

A Touch of Art

I didn’t really start teaching art until later in my internship. However, I taught one lesson during my cooperating teacher’s unit on water colours. It was a challenging lesson with many aspects to it. I was a bit skeptical of how well the students would do, but they were all amazing! Each student tried different brush strokes and added their own personal touch to their birch forests.

Here is the Birch Tree Lesson Plan

Here is my reflection on how the lesson went.

October 5th:

“Later on Monday I taught an art class, continuing with the water colour/ fall unit that my coop had been working on. The students began painting a fall birch tree forest piece. We discussed texture and how different brush strokes could create different textures. The students were encouraged to try x brush strokes, dotting, and dabbing with hard bristles to create leaves in their paintings.”

I began creating a mini drama unit for my three week teaching block, to help get the students warmed up and developing skills for their upcoming Christmas concert. I only got into one actual lesson before my cooperating teacher decided it was time to start learning Christmas concert songs and reading through their play, “The Nutcracker”.

Here is the beginnings of my mini unit plan, it is in no way complete, however there are the makings of good ideas. There is one lesson plan with some fun drama games for students to get into character roles.

Mini Drama Unit Outline

Drama Lesson One

ELA in the Classroom

I learned so much about English Language Arts during my internship. I think one of the most important things I learned is that this class becomes a routine and does not NEED a detailed lesson plan for every minute of the class, because it becomes so routine.

Here is an example of our Monday morning routine. Each grade had their own set of spelling words that my cooperating teacher already had made into magnet cards for the board.

Monday ELA Routine

For example, our week started with new spelling words in which students would write each word in their agenda and then write a sentence in their book using the word. We then would do a word solving activity which my teacher had all made prior- there were letters all scrambled and the students worked together to find all the words and then we would write using the words and create word family charts. The students got into this routine quickly and were clear with the expectations each day. We incorporated weekly journal writing time, a clear guided reading schedule (which was on a chart in the classroom) and new writing/ reading modelling lessons were taught and practiced weekly.

I love writing poems and was excited when Chinook School Division staff were given a PD day about teaching poems, as it was a focus for the division this year. This gave me the opportunity to lean with my students as my teacher taught how to write and analyze various poems. I had the opportunity to teach about limericks and how to write limericks. The kids had a lot of fun with it and really gave me a good laugh.

Limerick Lesson Plan

I carried out many guided reading lessons that extended to almost 5 “full-time” teaching weeks. I taught various guided reading lessons and had the opportunity to work, and learn, alongside Chinook’s literacy coach, Michelle Dewar. It was such a great opportunity. I loved doing the guided reading lessons because it gave me a chance to work in small groups and get tot know and understand my students on a more personal and academic levels. There are so many benefits to guided reading programs and I was very fortunate to see growth in almost all of my students reading fluency and comprehension.

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I planned a mini unit for writing a compare/ contrast paragraph. We worked with venn diagrams and used information about communities we had been learning in social studies.

Here are the lessons for the compare/ contrast mini unit.

Lesson One

Lesson Two

Hamburger Paragraphs Worksheet

Lesson Three

Compare Contrast Paragraph Rubric

Here is the awesome paragraph that my students wrote together during our hamburger paragraph activity!

Screen Shot 2019-03-24 at 7.42.06 PM.png I look forward to establishing my own classroom routines in ELA class, as well as discovering a guided reading routine and plans that work for my students and myself.

I will be forever grateful for the learning my cooperating teacher, students, and principal provided me during my internship.

Communities in Social Studies

I absolutely love Social Studies. Many of my students complained that it is their least favourite class and that it is SO BORING! This made me excited because it gave me a goal and a challenge. I knew I would need to FUNIFY my lessons to help make my students find, at the least, a like for social studies to ensure they were learning something. By the end of this unit most of the students were enjoying the subject.

Here is the Communities Unit Plan

Here is the Communities Detailed Lesson Plans.

My students created the most awesome final projects for this unit. They were in groups and created advertisements about the different communities we had learned about. Without the students even really realizing it, they were practicing researching, writing, speaking, and cooperating skills. I was so impressed with how much they learned and enjoyed the unit it was a huge win!

Phys. Ed Invasion Unit

I taught physical education (phys. ed) for almost all of my internship. My Co-op started with a unit about space and self-awareness, the students created really neat obstacle courses using the playground. It was a great introduction to physical education by helping remind the students the basics of physical education.

I began my phys. ed experience with a unit on Invasion. I based my unit off of the Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) model. I learned about this model of teaching phys. ed through my KHS 233 course. Check out my Research Paper KHS, as to why I believe this method of teaching physical education is more beneficial than the traditional, or direct, instruction method.

Click the link to take a look at the Invasion Unit.

And click this link to see the Detailed Invasion Lesson Plans. 

Here is a reflection I had on September 24th:

“I taught a lesson on finding open space today, playing musical hoops. I thought the lesson went well and the students were all participating. However, I do not think it fit in the order of lessons we have been doing so I made a note to put this lesson sooner in the unit. Even one of the students was asking why we weren’t working on our offense game plans, so this reassured me I had this lesson in the wrong spot. I also realized this lesson is too short for this group, so I will need to add more for the future.

On a more positive note, my lesson was enjoyed by all, including student X. She rarely participates in class with the other kids, but today she wanted to play and even played without mine or her brother’s help. This was super, super rewarding for me, I love when she feels included and chooses to participate. This activity also gave me the opportunity to see some more locomotion skills from the students, and they have improved a lot since my initial observations, so this was awesome to see as well. I am looking forward to getting back on track and in better sequence with this unit.”

It is so important to me to take the time after a long day and critically reflect on your lessons and your day and to try to choose one thing to improve on or change for next time you teach the lesson.

 

Inner Self Grade Three Health

My main subject throughout my internship was Health. Unfortunately, our schedule only allowed for one hour of health class per week, including a snack break. Meaning I only had about 45-50 minutes of teaching time a week for health. I decided to start with a unit on “Inner Self” because I believed it would give me the opportunity to learn about my students and who they are beyond their surfaces. While some of them shared this about them selves through conversation, most did not. Making this a great opportunity to learn about each of them individually.

This unit allowed me to use their interests to create more engaging lesson plans based on their interests. Knowing who they were individually, knowing what they believed their strengths and areas of improvement were I was able to relate and teach to all eleven students individually in a way that helped their learning make sense to them and relatable for them. Which I strongly believe should always be the foundation of learning; personal connections, relations, and experiences should be brought into or created in everything we learn. I believe this helps give our learning more value.

Check out the Inner Self Unit here!

*Note there were some changes made during lessons and to lessons as experienced.

DETAILED LESSONS here are all the lesson plans, worksheets, and assessments in detail. My students never did the lesson seven brochures for sake of time and instead they were given the quiz.

This is a bulletin board that I made using the students projects from lesson ____. The students had to trace their side profile and then write their interests, dreams, and traits within the face. They hid their name under a piece of paper so other students could guess who they are based on who they are on the inside. The students thought it was a fun activity and many students and staff were seen engaging in the bulletin board.

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Our final assessment was a quiz about the content we have learned, with the majority of the students scoring above 75%. While I do not completely agree in testing I tried to make the questions scenario based or related to their own self. For example, one question asked for the student to list their own qualities. This allowed me to see that they knew what a quality was and made it relatable for the student. The summative evaluation on the unit/ outcomes was a combination of all formative and summative assessments throughout.

Welcome to Hazlet School!

I was fortunate to be placed at Hazlet School for my Internship. I grew up and attended school in a small community only thirty minutes from Hazlet. My farm is located only ten miles from town, making living arrangements easy and affordable (an added bonus while being a University student)! Hazlet School has about 70 students from grades kindergarten to grade 12. They are a part of the amazing Chinook School Division; a division that believes in putting students and relationships first, which aligns perfect with my own philosophy. Hazlet School is part of the Chinook International Program, opening many opportunities for students around the world and within our community to interact and learn from one another. To say I was excited about my placement with the grade 3, 4, 5 split class would be an understatement!

Growing up I had a tough time finding my place and myself. When I was fifteen I befriended a Hazletonian and my life has never been the same since! Hazlet is a very small village of about 200 people including the surrounding farms. Despite their small numbers they have an outstanding commitment to their community. The entire community opened their arms to me and treated me and my family as their own. The people do not discriminate, they never turn away any sort of help, and they can put on one heck of an event that brings surrounding communities together. It is truly a remarkable town that I am proud to be a part of and to have the opportunity to experience as a professional in their school.

On my first day I was incredibly nervous and excited- I felt much like I was on my way to my first day of Kindergarten all over again. I was not disappointed when the staff all welcomed me with open arms and showed their personalities from day one. Their encouragement, helping hands, and ability to “tell it how it is” made me feel like I “fit in” from day one. After meeting my students for the first time and spending that first week getting to know each of them, I knew December would be one of my toughest “goodbyes”.

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This image is from hazlet.ca in organizations and businesses.

Here is a reflection after my first week:

“Friday, September 7th

The first week has been super crazy, but really fun. I was so nervous and excited the first day, I felt like I was in Kindergarten. The kids seemed happy to have me in their classroom as well. We started the day with some introductions playing a game and then I shared a PPT with the students that included pictures from my life and some basic information about myself. I got to spend two classes with the K, 1, 2’s this week as well, so I am learning about them quickly too. The students here are so great. And I am really looking forward to getting to know them better and to teach them.

I did not do any teaching this week as I was focussing on meeting the students and getting to know them and see how the classroom routine looked. I collected a lot of information about students’ interests, some of the types of projects they like to do and where their learning levels are at in various subjects. I am thankful for the opportunity to get to know them this week and for extra time to plan, as my co-operating teacher asked me to wait to plan until I got to know the students better.

I look forward to beginning my “inner self” health unit next week!”

And so, my journey and love for Hazlet School continued.