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.