An Interesting Day

Yesterday morning I din’t know what to expect when I walked into school, because when I woke up I saw a text message from my SA saying that she would be away. I admit I was nervous I had no idea what my day would be like. It was defiantly and interesting day for me and for my students.  I noticed a huge change in the manners and behaviour of my students, students who were normally very on task and focused were a little spacey and emotional. I could tell that my SA is really the glue that holds the class together and having a sub removed that and my students felt lost and uncertain.  While we were as well prepared for the day as we could be it was not as smooth or organized as a normal day.  A couple of my students had a rough day probably because the expectations in the classroom were different with the TOC then when my SA is there, and the change in rules was unspoken as well as outside factors from their home lives.


I taught a social studies lesson yesterday afternoon and I have mixed feelings about it. I had prepared a lesson looking at the fur trade through the lens of one of the Historical Thinking skills that we have been learning in our Social Studies methods class at UBC. I focused on historical significance, and used the suggested videos and teaching strategies from TC2. I had loaded the elementary video the night before on my Ipad and was prepared to show it and when I turned it on in class it was not the video I had previewed and prepared to show. As soon as I realized it I turned the video off because the video that come on mentioned topics that my students had learned nothing about yet namely issues of internment of different groups in Canada during both world wars. I shut the video off and explained the concept further my self to the students before sending them off to do a jigsaw activity.  For our jigsaw activity each table group acted as an expert group and used both pre printed information and looked up the information to answer their question and determined how significant to the fur trade then to Canadian history their answer was. The students then moved into larger groups and shared their groups answers with students who had the answers to other questions. I think that this was the first time my students had seen a jigsaw activity and I should have spent more time explaining the process to them and let them know at the beginning of the activity that others would be relying on the answers to their questions to fill in their own charts. I think that many of the students were unclear as to what was expected of them for this portion. Next time I will spend more time explaining the purpose and process of doing jigsaw activities.  I was pleasantly surprised at my students reaction to the Space Race activity I set up through , my students loved the instant feedback of watching their rocket-ship “fly” across the screen, and using the space race activity engaged them by drawing on some of their competitive spirits. Because a space race only accommodates 15 teams at a time I had my students working in pairs to complete the activity, to pair them up quickly they worked with the person sitting next to them.  this also allowed them to have a discussion and share their thoughts with their partners before submitting an answer which gave them a higher chance of success.


I am looking forward to seeing the classroom return to normal next week with my SA back as well as meeting our new student. I am very interested in seeing how having a new student changes the group dynamic that has developed in the classroom. My SA said we are getting a new girl, this hopefully will be positive because right now we have more boys then girls with a 5:4 ratio for boys to girls. It often feels like the ratio is closer then 2:1 because many of our boys have very strong personalities that over power the calmer quieter natures of many of our girls.

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2 Responses to An Interesting Day

  1. Milana Cecco says:

    It sounds like you had a busy day on Thursday! During my two-week practicum my class had a substitute and it really is so interesting to observe how students react when their teacher is away. The Space Race activity sounds interesting. What did you use it for? Were the questions centred around what they just learned about the fur trade? In regards to your jigsaw activity, I taught a Socials lesson on Central Canada and I used a placemat activity which seemed to go over really well with my 4/5s. The students had a certain amount of time to put down everything they already knew about this region and then we discussed as a class. I found that even though the students did not have set documents of information on this subject, they were very engaged in the activity- they even made great use of the classroom map even though I did not mention anything about it! This may be something you could try with your 4/5s during a Socials lesson.
    I hope next Thursday is less crazy for you!

  2. Yvonne says:

    Having a TTOC can definitely throw things off a bit – regardless of the efforts of everyone. If I knew I was going to be absent the next day, I’d always let the students know that I had a colleague or friend coming in to teach. Sometimes, just knowing there was a connection between me and the TTOC helped alleviate some anxiety and potential tendencies to misbehave. Helping your students develop greater resilience is also supportive.
    It sounds as though you had mixed success in your lesson and I appreciate your ability to critically reflect on your learning. I’m so glad your students responded well to the socrative game you set up – engaging them when their classroom teacher is absent (at this stage) is a definite challenge and you rose to it!
    Building Resiliency in Students

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