Monday, May 25, 2009

Teaching Internship - Week 5

I'm a day or two late in posting my update, so sorry about that. Week five went well, nothing too major happened.

On Friday the kids began their provincial assessments in language arts. They have a week to do this, and the teacher is giving them about half an hour to an hour each day to work on it. As teachers, we aren't allowed to help them with these assessments at all. We can't help them pronounce words or tell them what they mean. The kids just have to do their best and try.

Last Wednesday I helped again with the grades four and five (and possibly six) track and field. They all had a chance to do a long distance run (I believe it was 800 metres), long jump and shot put. I think this week they might be starting with sprints, but I'm not sure. I helped keep the distance for the long jump, and let me tell you, there were a few awesome long jumpers!

On Thursday, we had the parents visit the class. The kids read them their "published" stories (which are stories they write during Writer's Workshop and then make a good copy and decorate a title page), and they also performed their Reader's Theatre plays. The kids all did a fantastic job. They had practiced for a couple of weeks, and then early in the week they performed it for the kindergarten class, the grades one, three, and the two grade four classes. The principal also came down one day to watch them perform. The kids all seemed to enjoy their plays and have a good time. With Reader's Theatre, they don't have to memorize lines; they keep the scripts in front of them the whole time. This is just another way to help them practice reading and have fun while doing it.

This week, and the following two weeks, I am in charge of the class - I teach everything. My host teacher will still be around if I need her, but she will more than likely be out of the class. The only thing is that she is in charge of the assessments, and she is also pulling students out at times to do running records with them ("testing" the kids to see which level they are at in reading).

Apart from what I've mentioned, nothing in particular has stood out from this past week. I am enjoying my internship a lot, and I feel lucky to have the class and host teacher that I have. I'm not sure what grade I'll be doing my internship for in Australia yet. I should find out soon, maybe even Friday, because we have a meeting with our instructor(s) to go over how things are going for us, etc.

Well, I will sign off for now and keep you up to date on week six! Have a blessed and Christ-filled day!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Teaching Internship - Week Four

Another great week in the classroom. On Tuesday my prof came to observe me. He was there from from 8:20 until 10:00. He said I did a great job (and so did my host teacher)! I wasn't nervous like I had expected to be, though there were a few times I would think to myself, "I wonder what Vince will say about this..." or some such thought. There were a couple of things he wondered about, but those were out of curiosity and not because they shouldn't have been done or said.

My prof really loved the activity I had the kids do that morning. We've been reading Barbara Reid books and learning a little about her, so this activity was to have the kids use modeling clay/plasticine to make a picture to go along with the little stories they had finished writing the day before. Vince thought that was an excellent activity - it was engaging and the kids were very enthusiastic about it. He also said that whoever thought of it (me or my host teacher) struck gold with it - or something to that effect. I told him it was a combined effort. I had mentioned it to my host teacher that I thought it might be nice if the kids could do something like that and she said she has done that in the past and that it would be a good idea for the class to do it as well.

All in all, I did very well. Vince pointed out a couple of things for me to keep in mind, or things I might think about for next time, but they weren't much of a big deal.

My host teacher was out on Thursday, so there was a supply teacher filling in. He just graduated a couple of weeks ago from the course I am in now. He had been doing his internship in the grade three class at the same school, and since he was on the list of the school's preferred supply teachers, Mrs. G decided to see if she could get him booked.

I ended up doing most (if not all) of the teaching that day - though there wasn't much to do because there was a guest speaker in for most of the morning and we didn't have to teach at that time. Mr. M (the supply teacher) told me at the end of the day that he was sorry he hadn't done more in the class, that I had had to do it. I told him that I was sorry I had "taken over" and didn't get him to do much, but he said that in that grade you need consistency and I knew the routine so it was probably better that I had taken control of the class. At least he got paid for an easy day of work!

Next week is a short week - three days. Monday is a holiday here (Victoria Day), and Tuesday the teacher's association has some sort of PD day for them dealing with union stuff and voting. Since I'm not a teacher yet, and only doing my internship, Mrs. G. said I probably didn't need to go to it. I didn't want to ask my profs in case they told me to go...Mrs. G. said it was going to be a boring day anyway. But, I really agree with Mrs. G. - I'm not a part of the teacher's association yet (I don't have my license yet), so I probably shouldn't even be there. I'm not going.

I will take this weekend and start doing some planning for when I start teaching all day, every day, for three weeks. I'm not entirely sure yet what I'll do, but I do have an idea for one language arts class so far, and Mrs. G. gave me an idea for another class - something she does every year with her class (a sort of end of year newsletter where the kids write about their favourite thing they did or learned over the course of the year). That would be another couple of classes. I'll have one or two more classes for social studies dealing with the butterfly topic (no social studies this coming week though), and might do a class or two on the life cycle of the frog and then they can compare the that with the life cycle of the butterfly. Mrs. G. said she'd sit down with me though, after school, and help me to plan my lessons. That should help.

I'm looking forward to a short week next week. Language Arts provincial assessments take place starting next Friday, and they have a week to do it. So, I'll get to observe that and see how that is done. I think the kids (or the majority of them) will do great on the assessments.

Anyway, I'm going to head off and do some more reading. This is something I've not been able to do in a long time (due to school), and I'm getting caught up on the books I've had and not been able to read. I've read about four or five books in the last couple of months. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

Well, I hope you have a blessed and Christ-filled weekend!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Week Three - Teaching Internship

This past week went fast in some respects, slow in others. However, I think it went well overall. Mid-way through the week I had my Base Line Day. This is where I was in charge of the class from the time the kids came in at 8:20, until they left at 1:50.

Tuesday evening I had to do up three lesson plans - language arts, math, and social studies (which, at this grade, is called You and Your World). It took me until 12:30 to finish them because the way we were taught to do them was to make them detailed - very detailed. I had everything written down for what I was going to do, but when it came time to do up the lesson plans and add all the little details, it took quite awhile. Then, to top it all off, I couldn't get to sleep that night and ended up with maybe four hours by the time the alarm went off.

For language arts, the teacher had me just do a reading comprehension exercise to help them practice for provincial assessments which are coming up soon. They have done a few of these before, so it was nothing new to the kids. For math, I just had to review front line subtraction like she had started with them this past Monday. I started a new unit for social studies. We are learning about the life cycle of butterflies, and caterpillars/butterflies in general.

I started off by teaching them about the life cycle. They did pretty good with it and liked the pictures I had printed from the net of the different stages - egg, caterpillar/larva, pupa/chrysalis/cocoon, and butterfly. From there we did a KWL chart and covered the K and W (which stands for Know and Wonder - what do you know about butterflies, and what do you wonder or want to know). Next week we will review the life cycle and they will have some information to read in expert groups. From the expert groups they will find out a couple of facts (from what they read) and then take it back to their home/base group and teach the others. As well, we have ordered caterpillars for them to observe as they go through the stages until they become butterflies, then we will set the butterflies free. They will also have an observation journal they will have to keep throughout this process (which takes about three weeks).

My host teacher said I did a great job with my baseline day, and she loved the KWL chart. She hadn't used that before with this class (might not have with previous classes either, but I'm not totally sure on that).

This week, on Tuesday to be more precise, one of my profs will come and observe me as I teach a class. I'll be doing the language arts class since that is the only time he can come observe me. We have been learning about the Canadian author, Barbara Reid, so we will read the last of the books we have in which she wrote and illustrated with plasticine. The students will also be working on their own plasticine illustration for a story they have been working on as well. I believe we will have them create a picture for the title page. Then, I will take pictures of their creations and we will glue the pictures to their little booklets. This also ties in with the author study because Barbara Reid's husband takes pictures of her illustrations and those pictures are used in her books. As well, the students will finish working on their stories if they haven't done so by then. If they finish everything early, they can work on their cursive writing or other writing pieces that are unfinished.

I'm a little nervous for my prof coming in to observe me, but I am confident that I'll do well. When we were doing our presentations, the profs were really picky about things, but I'm told they aren't that bad when we are actually doing our internship. Still, it makes me nervous. I think I just need to get through the first one so I know what to expect, and then I'll be fine. My host teacher says I'll do well though. It does help, though, that I'm in a great class with an awesome host teacher and terrific kids.

And, on that note, I am heading off to do a little more work on the lesson plan and start getting things ready for Tuesday. Have a blessed and Christ-filled day!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Week Two as a Teacher Intern

Week two has finished and it went well. To be honest, it was a short week - only three days. This was because of the PD day on Thursday and an all day teacher conference yesterday.

I taught my first full lesson by myself on Wednesday afternoon. It wasn't anything spectacular though, just introducing a Canadian author (Barbara Reid), reading one of her books, The Subway Mouse, and a couple discussion questions and talking about 'beginning', 'middle', and 'end'. Then we did an activity/craft in which the kids had to draw a picture from the beginning, the middle, and the end that would help explain the story if they were to show it to someone who has never heard what the book was about. The kids seemed to love it, and most of them did well. There were three kids (all at one table) who weren't doing it. One girl wasn't feeling well and didn't want to, one boy didn't know what to draw (even if you gave him suggestions he turned them down). He knew what he wanted to do for the middle and end, and even with telling him to start with those, he wanted something for the beginning before he started drawing. The other boy attempted to draw and got frustrated because he couldn't draw a mouse perfectly. He refused to try and kept erasing everything. The teacher told me after it was his way of testing to see if he could get away with not doing it. She stepped in and got firm with him and even though he did the same thing with her, he finally did something when she said that the three of them couldn't leave until they drew at least one picture. Overall, it went well.

The conference on Friday was great (though the third speaker I went to I left early because I wasn't getting anything from it - and I had to use the bathroom, so I thought that was a good excuse to leave, hehehe). There were two speakers that I was thrilled to hear, and wasn't disappointed with them.

The first speaker was Erin Gurwell. She is the teacher portrayed in the movie "Freedom Writers". She was very inspiring and showed clips from her classes (mostly the clips were from broadcasts on TV that were done - possibly from Dateline, but I'm not totally sure). Then she told us about some of her students, what she did and why. Totally inspiring. I want to rent the movie and watch it again.

The other speaker I enjoyed was Harry Wong. He talked about what to do to become an effective teacher. The only thing I didn't like was that I felt he was trying to sell his book (one of them), even though he claimed that wasn't what he was doing. They used to use his book in the Education program at school, but this year they didn't. We did use some ideas and materials of his though, and they do work. He also used a lot of humor in his talk, and that was enjoyable too. He's also the only one to ask the teaching interns and those in their very first year of teaching to raise their hands. He then singled us out and was encouraging and gave us some great advice to help us be effective teachers. I was glad I got to go to this conference!

Next week I have my "base line day", which is the day I teach the class from the beginning until the end - by myself. The teacher will still be in the classroom, but I'm the one who will be in charge. I do know for the math lesson, I will just be doing a review of what they learn Monday and Tuesday. Language arts will be pretty much the same as they have been doing - working on writing. Though this day they might be getting ready for their publishing party, but I won't know for sure what they will be doing until this week when I can sit down with the teacher and plan things out. In the afternoon (which is only about 75 minutes), we will start a lesson for their social studies class, and it is going to be about butterflies. This is a class that is only once a week, so I will need to plan a whole unit on it. We'll start with the life cycle of the butterfly.

I've started the lesson planning already, but I will need to talk to the teacher to find out if she thinks they can do some of the ideas I've come up with (or if the ideas are more geared to an older grade). Anyway, I'm looking forward to doing the unit, and hoping I will do a good job.

So, I will close for now. I've decided that this weekend I'm going to work on some of my crafts - knitting and card making. I haven't done those in awhile and I'm looking forward to it. I'll be posting pictures of any cards I get finished today over on my knitting/craft blog. The knitting will take longer to finish so there probably won't be any pictures of that for awhile...unless I do some "in progress" pictures.

Have a blessed and Christ-filled day!