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.