Sunday, April 26

Reflection from field experience on April 22

My last day in the classroom!

Wednesday was my last time in kindergarten at Springfield. I am definitely going to miss them! I have enjoyed working with my cooperating teacher and with the students. I think I have learned a lot from my cooperating teacher, about things I want to do in the classroom and things I will try to avoid. I have had so much fun working with her students, and I think they really were sad to see us go this week. They always hug Lauren and I before we leave, asking us why we aren't having lunch with them and where we are going. It's really cute. This week they made us cards during one of the centers.

During class today, the students were being assessed through a test in centers. My cooperating teacher took about 8 students out of the classroom into a nearby room and gave them a test. She asked questions like "Circle the word that starts with the 'duh' sound" and students would look at their page and the 3 or so choices they had, and circle the dog. I observed the lowest ability level group doing the assessment, and everyone seemed to be doing very well! During another center, I said with one girl and played Play-Doh. I think I am learning a lot from her, but I wish I would have been able to get to know her better and observe her more. Her name is Alexa, and she is one of the special needs students in the class. She joined the class in the beginning of March. Alexa might be autistic but hasn't been diagnosed with anything yet. She is a really sweet girl, and I am afraid she is falling behind since because her parents can't get her to school on time. She sometimes comes into class an hour late, and as children (and especially autistic children) want to rely on routines, she tries to stand for the pledge and she doesn't understand why she can't eat breakfast in the cafeteria. When I was playing Play-Doh with Alexa, she made a circle and cut it in half, and said to me "What breaks your heart?" I had no idea what she meant, but I was really saddened by that. I said "I don't know what you mean. What breaks your heart?" and she said "When people are mean." I agreed with her and said yes that hurts my feelings too. She responded with "Do you know what can put it back together? Sharing." I told her I agreed with her and Yes, sharing and playing with my friends can make me feel a lot better, and I told her I loved playing with her. I was so taken aback by this conversation. She has high social-emotional skills, this makes me wonder if she could be autistic or not. I wonder why she asked me what broke my heart, my mind immediately jumped to what terrible things could have happened to her. She is such a sweet girl and I hope she gets the attention she needs. I am definitely going to miss working with Alexa, all the students and my cooperating teacher. This semester I learned a lot about kindergarten and special needs students, and I had lots of fun teaching!

Saturday, April 18

Reflection from field experience on April 15

Subtraction with sheep!

This week in field was our second to last time in the classroom. I am really sad about next week being our last time! This week Lauren taught a lesson about subtraction, and I filled out her ADEPT form. I was glad it was my turn to fill out her form, because I think we learn a lot from watching each other teach. Sometimes when one of us is teaching, the other is circulating the kids doing centers, but I really like watching each other teach, and getting to help too. Lauren's lesson was on subtraction and our cooperating teacher hadn't ever introduced subtraction to her students so Lauren's lesson was the first exposure they got to the subject. She read a book about sheep and counting, and then gave each student a sheep make out of a paper plate and cotton balls. The first time she did the lesson, the students did not seem to grasp the idea very well. They wandered around and seemed to have a hard time not being ego-centric and understanding subtraction if they were not in the group. After the first lesson, Lauren decided that for the next group, we would be the ones who got to hold the sheep. Part of what distracted the first group was that they had a physical sheep and wanted to crawl around and "Baah." The second and third groups went really well! I loved being included in Lauren's teaching. Maybe we can always team teach! (If only, haha). I started with all the sheep and as Lauren took a few at a time, the kids counted how many sheep I had (the remaining sheep). As they understood larger groups, we added more. I started holding 6 sheep, but after doing a few problems, the kids really understood it, so we added more and made my starting total 10. I had a lot of fun helping Lauren teach, and think that she did a really good job planning an introductory lesson for subtraction. The students definitely came away with a good understanding about what subtraction is, and how to do it. I think that what made the lesson so successful was the fact that it was interactive and had manipulatives that interested the students. Watching the lesson three times and helping out some made it much easier to complete the ADEPT form.

Thursday, April 9

Tammy & her sons

Reflect on the video we watched in class and discuss what you would do if you were their teacher.

The video Tammy’s Story made me really sad because it portrayed very clearly how some people are born into the world in a certain social class and predisposed for a life of poverty. I think I take for granted how fortunate my family is, and how lucky I was to be born into a middle class, family. I believe that Tammy’s boys can get out of the cycle of poverty and prosper, but being in a family with a lack of financial resources makes it even harder for them to break the cycle and dig themselves out of poverty. Tammy does a great job providing emotional and social support for her family, but she struggles with financial support. She is determined to support her own family, even though she knows she can get money from welfare. She has a good work ethic and though she did not attend college, she provides a positive role model for her sons. She really cares about her boys and shows interest in their hobbies and interests, such as sports. Despite Tammy’s lack of college education, she seems that she is supporting her children’s success in school to the best of her ability.

If I were a teacher to any of her sons, I would try to help the boys get connected to learn more about college scholarships and other resources that could help their family. It seems Tammy is very apathetic about accepting help, but I’d hope that there is some kind of help out there where a volunteer could drive her to run errands and buy groceries once a week. I think Tammy is against asking for help because her sons seem so embarrassed by her. I would try to help Tammy understand that it is not shameful to accept help from others, even though her son’s act that way. There are many opportunities out there that can help her prepare her boys for a bright future. As a teacher, I would try to support Tammy and let her know that she is doing a great job raising her children. I would tell her she is doing the right thing by working and setting a good role model. It is great she comes to her kid’s sporting events and she is dedicated to providing for her family. Overall, I would want to help Tammy and her sons get connected with different services and resources to help their family.

Friday, April 3

Reflection of lesson 3

Jelly bean math!!

This Wednesday I taught my last lesson. I taught students about combining two sets of numbers (aka addition). I was very pleased with how my math lesson went! I taught my lesson three times in centers of between 7 and 10 children in each center. The students were very excited because they knew I had jelly beans and Easter eggs involved in my lesson. My objective was that students will be able to join two sets of single digits and come up with the sum verbally and represent the sum and number sentence on paper.

I had 35 colored Easter eggs and between 1 and 8 jelly beans in each eggs. My objective was that students will be able to join two sets of single digits and come up with the sum verbally and represent the sum and number sentence on paper. I had worked out how each colored egg had a similar color jelly beans, so that if one student took a purple egg and a yellow egg, they would open it to find two different color sets of jelly beans. I knew this would come in handy when they were counting to keep the two sets divided, and when drawing, to use two colored crayons. I had also made up some eggs with more jelly beans and some with less, because my cooperating teacher told me the lowest group could add sets of 5 and 5 to get 10, but the other two groups could add 8 and 8 to get to 16. After I taught the first center, I took out the eggs with 6, 7 and 8 jelly beans in it (I had remembered which colors to take out), and after teaching the lowest group, I put the high jelly beans back in for the last group.

My lesson was more of a review rather than an introduction lesson since the class has been working on addition for a while now. The first group that I taught my lesson to had more time during their center, so some students were able to complete four number sentences and drawings. All the students were very enthusiastic and they loved working with the jelly beans, and kept asking if they could eat some. The second group I taught had the students with the lowest ability and the special needs students. I think I did a good job pacing myself for this group, but I could have used modeling more. Also when I demonstrated how to fill out the worksheet, I accidentally had the paper facing towards me and not them! This group was very preoccupied with eating the jelly beans, and being able to pick what color eggs they got. In retrospect, I should have given each student one jelly bean at the beginning of the lesson, and told them if they did a really good job they would get more at the end. I think this might have helped students be able to focus.

The last center I taught had the students with the highest ability level. Most of the students were able to complete the worksheet, but because they had less time than the other two groups, some kids didn’t finish the whole worksheet. I wanted students to sit in a big circle so everyone could see me, and the eggs and crayons could go in the middle, but the students kept scooting in and making the circle smaller. I had a hard time getting everyone to spread out, since they all wanted to be close to me.

I had so much fun teaching my math lesson! I really felt that the students learned and had fun during my lesson. When students finished their worksheets I would ask them to pick one number sentence to read to me and then I would give them jelly beans to eat. I felt so happy when I was leaving my cooperating teacher asked the class “Who had fun doing jelly bean math with Miss Shannon?” and all the students raised their hands. Many students came to say thank you as I was leaving and hug me. I felt so excited leaving the classroom that my lesson had gone so well and that the students had listened to me and enjoyed everything.

Saturday, March 28

Reflection on Long Range Plans

Reflect on your experience with writing the long range plan.

I am learning a lot from writing my long range plan. It is very important for teachers to create a plan in the beginning of the year and make sure that they can cover every unit and every standard that they need to. It is important to plan out each unit and make sure that the time line is relatively accurate, so you can get every topic done that you need to. My cooperating teacher gave me a copy of her long range plan back in January and it has been very helpful. She has her plan on an academic calendar, and outlines the theme of the week (for example, spring, animals, presidents, etc). Her plan is basic and is colored coded for math, science, health, phonics/language arts and social studies. Looking at her long range plan has helped me understand how plans could be used even in a kindergarten class. She usually has one or two things in each calendar day, and phonics/language arts is listed most often. She has a science topic that lasts a whole week, and then the next week they do social studies. I know that she uses her long range plan fairly flexibly, since it is hard to predict in August how much time children will need for different topics.

I think that having examples of long range plans from class has been very helpful. I looked at the examples to help me understand each section of the plan. I also thought that looking at each other’s plans in class was very useful. Sometimes you don’t realize the other ways you could have done things until you see them on paper. The examples we looked at in class are from higher grades, and it was hard for me to see how to implement a long range plan in kindergarten, until I saw my cooperating teacher’s plan and some of my fellow classmate’s plans. In my long range plan, I focused on 4 standards for my 9 week plan. I chose not to teach the standards in the order that they are listed in the SC Standards workbook. I think it is important to choose what order units are done, based on your class’ interests and engagement. I thought about doing the units in the order they are listed in, but I realized that it made sense to do the units in another order. I think that creating our own long range plans, reviewing each other’s plans and being able to look at my cooperating teacher’s plan has been very beneficial and a good learning experience for the future.

Friday, March 20

Teaching science on March 18

This week I was teaching my second lesson. Lauren and I were teaching a science lesson together about the differences between the four seasons. We had divided up the lesson so that Lauren would read the book, First Comes Spring, and I would direct the activity at the center. We had assumed that the students knew the four seasons and that we would only have to activate their prior knowledge, but it turns out that most of the children had no idea what the seasons were. Lauren started our first center off by asking students what the seasons were and what they knew about the seasons. When they stared at us and answered our questions completely wrong, we were both shocked. Our cooperating teacher had told us that the students would be able to understand the lesson, and that she would have taught an introduction lesson or two relating to the seasons, so both Lauren and I were caught completely off guard when the students did not seem to understand. After she read the book, we both asked a bunch of questions to see if the students had retained anything from the reading. Some of the students did not understand how seasons were different from months. After reviewing, I told the students that were going to draw four pictures, one of each of the seasons. We got up from the carpet and sat at the table, where each student had a piece of long white paper. The papers were divided into four sections, and each section was labeled with one of the seasons. I explained what to do, and suggested some things they could draw. Since it was about to be spring, and spring is technically the first of the seasons, the first season was spring, then summer, fall and winter. Students were to draw themselves in the season, or something that happened in the season (for example, draw themselves playing outside in the pool during summer, making a snowman in the winter, leaves falling from the trees in fall, etc). Students needed a lot of help thinking of ideas, and many of the students mixed up the order of the seasons, like drawing a pool in the box for winter. Overall, this first center went okay, not very well or very bad. I was not happy with how the lesson went, and I wished that we had known exactly how much prior knowledge the students had. The second center group went very poorly in my opinion. The class had gotten more students recently and each group had grown in number of students. There are four students with special needs in the classroom and they are all in the same center group. As I was reading the book to them, it did not seem as if they were listening or even paying attention to the pictures. The last center group seemed very interested in the book. I think that all the groups could have benefited from an introduction lesson and more hands-on experience with the seasons. At the time I was very frustrated that our lesson did not go well, but I now know many things that I need to do to make sure that my next lesson goes more smoothly. Each lesson we teach is a learning experience, and I learned a lot from our science lesson.

Saturday, March 14

Reflection from field experience on March 11

I learned a lot in my kindergarten classroom this week since I was able to observe different subjects. Usually we observe the same schedule every Wednesday, which consists of journal writing, weather, calendar, phonics and center time. This week the schedule was different because all the kindergarten classes were meeting in the auditorium to practice songs that they will be performing together. The schedule was also different because some of the grades were taking the PASS tests, and the whole school’s scheduling was off. I was able to see the students go to art class and I observed my teacher doing a math lesson. I was really interested in seeing math, because soon I will have to teach a math lesson and I am very curious about how my teacher teaches math to her students (whether she teaches in centers, small-groups or whole-class). She did a very short math lesson about addition and she did it with the whole class sitting on the carpet. For part of the lesson my teacher demonstrated on the board, and then she passed out a packet for each student and they all worked together doing addition and subtraction. In art class, the students created pinch pots out of playdoh. They made the pots while watching a video on nature. I thought the art lesson was interesting, but I did not think that creating the pinch pots kept the students interested for very long. During art, one of the students sitting near me starting getting really upset because he could not made his pinch pot as big as he wanted. He started crying and put his head down. It was really difficult to cheer him up, but I tried to help, although I am not sure I got through to him since he still seemed upset when we left art. I wish that the students had been doing something more engaging in art, since I saw many students lose interest fast. When the classes met up in the auditorium to practice singing, we went with them and observed. It was so cute! They sang songs that we have heard them sing and dance along to in the classroom. I am not sure when or where they are performing these songs, but it was so cute and I hope I can see their performance. Overall this week’s experience was very different from most weeks, but I really enjoyed being able to see art, math and the song performance.

Sunday, March 1

Differences between students at ECDC and in my field class

Write about any developmental differences you’ve observed between the case study child you focused on and the children in your field classroom.

Since I observed a child in the 5 year olds class at ECDC, and my field experience is in a kindergarten classroom, I found a lot of similarities between the children. My case study child, Corey, is very independent and demanding with his needs. He knows how to ask for attention and get others to pay attention to him. The students in my kindergarten classroom seem more mature than Corey, and can cooperate with one another. Corey played with other students at ECDC, but he was somewhat bossy and did not compromise well. The students I have observed in my field classroom are able to calm down and focus solely on academics during some parts of the day. Corey is always on the go and had a lot of energy. Corey did not want to follow the rules or obey the adults at ECDC. Most, but not all, of the student in my field class follow the rules and listen to the adults in the classroom. Corey was somewhat defiant against authority. One similarity is that Corey and the students in kindergarten enjoy telling others the rules of the classroom. Although Corey did not like obeying adults, he liked to tell other students the rules and remind them of what they should be doing, even if he did not want to follow the rules himself. The kids in my field classroom enjoy tattling on one another and keeping other students in check, just like Corey did. Another difference is that ECDC is centered around many different types of play, while the kindergarten class is a mix of play and lessons.

Thursday, February 19

Reggio Emilia approach

Of the four models discussed in class, what fits you best and why? Share any experiences teaching or observing in any classrooms with these models.

I think that I would love to teach in a classroom that was taught by the Reggio Emilia approach to education. I have not taught or observed in any of the four models discussed, so I have no prior experience to help reflect on my choice. From what we learned in class, I think that I would thrive as a teacher in a classroom run by the Reggio Emilia approach. I love the fact that the curriculum is formed around projects that the children come up with their own. Projects can last up to a few months if it is something that continues to hold the children’s interest. I think students learn so much more when they are genuinely dedicated and interested in what they are learning about, and this is definitely shown through Reggio Emilia’s curriculum projects. The students get to choose what they learn, and their level of interest decides how long the project lasts. I feel that I get very into projects and love working on one thing/project for a long time, so my personality is very ideal for using the Reggio Emilia approach. I consider myself a pretty creative person, so I think I would really enjoy the influence that art plays in the classroom. I think it is awesome that there is an art studio and an atelierista at each school. I feel that creativity and art do not play enough of a role in the primary grades, and that the Reggio Emilia model incorporates a lot of art and visual art. I think I would really enjoy working in a classroom run by the Reggio Emilia approach, and that my artistic ability and dedication to individual projects would help me be successful in this environment.

Sunday, February 15

Journal 5.4

Think about being a child in David’s class. What does it feel like for George? For Melaney?

I do not think I would like being in David’s class as a first grade student. David is using the Distar method in his classroom, which is designed and built around efficiency and structure. I think that if I was George I would feel good about myself, since I got the positive reinforcement when I gave a correct answer. However, I think that if I were any student in his class I would not feel very valued, since it does not seem he can give very much personal attention to any student. His class is very fast paced and structured. I don’t think that first grade classrooms should be as structured as Distar classrooms are designed to be. Students feel like just another child, and not someone special and important, which is how I feel teachers should be toward their students. Each student is an individual and important, and should not be rushed through learning, or experimented with to see what methods are the most efficient ways of learning. To me learning is about effectiveness, not efficiency. If I were Melaney I would feel very behind. I didn’t understand the exercise about the alphabet, but most of the class did, so everyone zoomed through the activity and I was left behind. No one helped Melaney catch up, or slow down the lesson to see who else needed help. I think that being a student or a teacher in a Distar classroom environment would be exhausting and frustrating. While I believe that there must be structure and order to all classrooms, the classroom environment in David’s class seemed too businesslike and unsuccessful.

Friday, February 13

Journal 10.1

When you read the description of the “future” kindergarten teacher, what qualities do you have that match the ones described? What might you do to continue to develop other characteristics or qualities of a kindergarten teacher as described by Pam?

I believe that I have many of the qualities described to be a good kindergarten teacher. I love working with children and genuinely enjoy interacting with young children and watching their academic and emotional growth. I believe that I have the flexibility to working with many different parent volunteers and different academic specialists who will be helping out in the classroom and at the school. I have experience working in cooperation with many adults in a variety of settings. I believe that in my own classroom I will be open about having other adults in the classroom, but I will also be sure to remember each person’s different leadership role. I will value every adult who spends their time in the classroom and helps out. I am definitely willing and excited about collaborating with others, especially while working with a team of teachers who are all teaching the same grade level as me. I think that having a strong team is so important because teachers can all share materials and ideas with each other. I believe that I am only starting to understand what is developmentally appropriate for early childhood students, and while I take more education courses and gain more experience in the classroom, this will help continue my development in this area, and help me solidify my personal philosophy.

Friday, January 30

Journal 3.3

In which of these eight intelligences do you feel the strongest? What might have led to your development in this intelligence? In which area are you most challenged? What might you do to improve in this area?

I feel that I am strongest in the area of intrapersonal intelligence. I know myself very well and feel that I am well aware of my abilities, strengths and weaknesses. This helps me because I know what I can achieve and what things may be challenges for me, but also attainable. I think that my intrapersonal intelligence helps me understand who I am, and when I need time alone from other people. Having a heightened sense of self-awareness helps me understand my own needs, and how to make myself happy. I always know what I need and what will help me grow as a person. I am a very emotional person, and feel that I show my heart on my sleeve. When I am happy, excited, upset or disappointed, I feel that I am always in touch with my emotions, and am able to express what is going on in my mind.

I believe that being in a large family has helped me develop a strong sense of intrapersonal intelligence. I have three sisters and while I was growing up we always had a full house of family and friends. My sisters and I would have friends over to hang out constantly. I was very involved in Girl Scouts and sports. I think that these activities helped me develop my intrapersonal intelligence, and allow me to understand who I am and what my abilities are. Having a full house all the time also forced me to understand when I was feeling sociable and when I might want alone time. I think my intrapersonal intelligence.

I am most challenged in the area of musical intelligence. I enjoy singing, but I don’t think I have a very good voice so I am somewhat nervous when I sing. I know that when I sing in front of first graders, having confidence is much more important than my actual singing ability. In order to improve in the area of musical intelligence, I am going to try to be more confident in my abilities. I don’t know how to read music and I am not very good at keeping the rhythm, so these are things I can try to work on as long term goals. I think that my sense of musical intelligence will improve simply by getting more experience in the classroom.