The last two day’s have felt like a whirl wind, between being in my classroom for the second time and teaching my first lesson yesterday and attending my first professional development event today ( that gets it’s own post) . I feel like this is the first moment I’ve had to stop and think about everything and there is a lot to think about!
I taught my first official lesson in a classroom yesterday, while I had taught some lessons during my volunteer experience and many lessons through day camp and other programs this was my first lesson of my practicum. Needless to say I was more than a little bit nervous! I had carefully constructed my lesson plan using my observations from the week before and the criteria given to us in our read aloud assignment for LLED 353 or 350, those classes blur together sometimes, I made sure it fit the topic my SA had given me, and we had sent the lesson plan back and forth a few times to makes sure it was just right but as the moment approached I began to get nervous. I hadn’t been nervous about getting up in front of a group of kids since I first lead day camp at the age of 15! As I was getting ready to do my read aloud and writing my activating strategy on the board, the single word “peace” my FA came into the room, she was just popping in to check on myself and the other TC’s at my school. But seeing her and knowing that she would see part of my very first lesson made me even more nervous. Fortunately by the time the students came in from recess and started talking about the word “peace” on the board I had calmed down. The students were curious, they wanted to know why the word peace was the only thing on the board and they had some great ideas and connections to the word peace. The students when asked to tell me what they knew about peace connected it to themselves, the community and even the broader world and to global conflicts!
After going through the pre-reading activities of getting the students to predict what the book will be about and asking them questions to get them to think about what might be discussed in the book, I read the story. This part was very familiar, as I have read stories to students many times over the last few years; I greatly enjoy reading to and with students. Seeing the student’s faces while I read the story they look like they were enjoying the story, some were smiling others while others had looks of deep concentration. I when I finished the story there was a moment of total silence it the room it lasted less than 30 seconds but for just a moment all of the students were deep in their own thoughts about the story. This was not something I had expected at all! After the story I explained the follow up activity to the class, I had to do this part twice as the first time I went through what I wanted the students to do too quickly and did not give them a visual. When I did my check for understanding I saw more thumbs down and to the side than thumbs up. Luckily my SA saved me and suggested that I show them what to do using the document camera and projecting my sample sheet, this worked much better and the students were able to follow what I wanted them to do and complete the follow up work. They seemed to enjoy making connections between the story and their personal experiences.
Luckily my FA came in as I was wrapping up my second set of directions and beginning to circulate around the room to see how the students were doing. She and I used the students work time on their individual responses to quickly talk about how the lesson had gone and make some last minute alterations to the rest of the lesson plan to make it run smoother. I was able to lead the students through part of the discussion activity before it was time for lunch. Sadly my lesson took longer than I had planned, because of the my SA and I decided to finish the activity on Monday as she feels that finishing the self reflective part and the discussion as well as the follow up art activity will be beneficial to the students in the class. I am looking forward to wrapping up the peace activity with the students on Monday. This has also lead to me being able to do a mini unit on peace and a little bit of peace keeping with the students after Halloween , I have an idea I want to follow up on for that but won’t post that just now until I know how and if it is going to work. My goal for next week is to teach a few math lessons; I have the material at home and am getting it all ready to go and more importantly reviewing how to use the base 10 blocks.
In the afternoon yesterday the students were working on a combined activity of HACE, Socials and Language Arts, and it was awesome to see them connecting the words and thoughts they wanted to use to express friendship with those used earlier to discuss peace! The students were making connections and seeing how different things can fit together to make a broader picture, I enjoyed listening to them continue to carry what they learned about peace into their discussions of friendship and the different things that friends can mean to an individual.
Looking at what happened at school yesterday I can see several things I would like to do differently the next time I teach a lesson. I would like to try using the document camera to help my students see both my directions as well as to hear them. When I do another read aloud activity in class I want to try moving all of the students to sit closer to me and away from their desks so that everyone has a good view of the pictures and there is less for them to fidget with then at their desks. As well I need to work on my timing as I had planned more activities for the time period allotted, I am hoping that as I get to know the students better I will be able to gage how long an activity will take better. I am pleased with my first lesson though as the students enjoyed it one gentleman going as far to say “that was the best story I’ve ever heard”, coming from a grade 5 boy I’ll take that as high praise. I felt good about the lesson I feel like the students understood the point I was hoping that they would understand and their connections in the afternoon showed me that they did understand the point I was trying to make.
Helping Student’s with their reflective work
Leading my Introductory Activity