DAY ONE – October 17, 2018
- “I love questions, I believe it is wonderful that the students feel comfortable asking questions freely. But I worry that many of the students have developed an overdependence on reassurance from teachers.”
- “I hope that if I continue to give positive feedback it will give the students the confidence they need to become more independent. “
- “I felt as though the activity went really well. The students were actively engaged throughout the entire 45 minutes through brainstorming and storytelling. A few positive notes from my COOP were “they are emotionally charged (way to challenge their views), I like the personal story (it really makes it easy to follow/understand). * they were heavily engaged in the story. Switching up the lesson from teacher directed to sharing (student engagement)”. He had so many positive things to say about the activity and I am so thankful for that. I already feel more confident while creating my next lesson plan.”
- “My COOP chose the word “deltas” instead of negatives while providing me with feedback. I appreciate the word delta and will most likely use this concept in my future teaching role. The word is less intimidating and leaves you with more confidence to work on your faults. “
- “I notice myself being shy when it comes to shushing students and regulating the classroom tempo. I need to work on my self-confidence in this aspect of classroom management because I know that classrooms can and will get out of hand if I do not find something that works for me. “
DAY TWO – October 24, 2018
- “My COOP teacher usually begins the day with art class. I believe that it is important for students to warm up their minds by engaging in creative play bright and early. The students are currently working on their shading and contrast techniques, by creating 3D pumpkins on a black piece of construction paper. As I was walking around and glancing at the students’ art, I was pleasantly surprised at how talented each and every student was. One of the students caught my eye as he mirrored the actions of my younger self. He too portrayed the qualities of a perfectionist who struggled with the concept that art is never perfect. He had a pile of eraser shreds scattered all over his desk and was visibly frustrated. Even though I gave him a million words of encouragement and truly meant it when I said his work was going beautifully, the piece of paper eventually was crumpled into a tiny ball. Confidence is a skill that can take a lifetime to conquer. I hope that during my time in this classroom I can help this student build upon his confidence.”
- “Today is Go Outside Day and I was adamant on celebrating it and so were the students. My last question during this round of the Would You Rather game was “would you rather finish this game in a little bit outside or finish it and stay inside?”, of course the answer was unanimous, and we were going outside. I told the students that if they worked efficiently on their Personal Values Survey, we would go outside for an early recess. I have yet to see the students work as fast and as quiet as they did in this moment. As promised, we made our way outside to finish the Would You Rather game. “
- The rest of the day flew by so fast. I am really enjoying getting to know each of the students and I feel like I am already developing meaningful relationships with some. I have heard stories about students participating in a singing contest in their home country, the craziest pet stories, family stories, volleyball and football stories. During library time the grade 7s were showing off all the Judy Blume books they have read. I spotted an old favourite of mine, The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants and asked if any of them have read it yet. It turns out none of them have ever heard of it, my jaw dramatically dropped and told them that they were missing out and explained the plot of the story. All of the girls were so excited and made a list of who is going to read it first and who they were going to pass it onto next. It gave me goosebumps that these girls were this ecstatic about putting their nose in a new book.”
- My mind is buzzing, and my heart is so full. Today was such a good, good day.
DAY THREE – October 31, 2018
- “The Health activity plan I developed for today was focussed on value prioritization. Each student was given coloured cards with prompts:
– 4 purple cards (prompt: write down a physical object, product, or item they feel they need in order to function on a daily basis)
– 4 blue cards (prompt: write down a geological location that is especially important to you)
– 4 pink cards (persons who have influenced the person they are today)
– 4 yellow cards (life goals)
– 4 green cards (memories they want to hold onto forever)
Once all of the students had time to critically think and analyze their choices, it was time to prioritize their values. First, I asked the students to take away 5 cards with the understanding that once the card is taken away this value would be theoretically vanished from their life. They never would have met this person, never went to that place and no longer carried that memory. The students did not like this one bit and struggled to choose these first five values. I would let the students pause, reflect and look over the values they still had. The activity proceeded by taking yet another 4, then 3, then 2, then 1 value away. Ideally by the end of the activity most of the students should have been left with their top 5 values.I was pleasantly surprised with how engaged the students were in this activity. Every time I asked them to take away a few more values the room roared with “NOO”, “this is torture!!”, “I cannot possibly choose between what I have left”. It was absolutely fantastic to witness these students embody the assignment almost as if it was truly happening. Some students flat out refused to take their values away because they understood how essential and important these values were to them. They could not fathom a life without these people, memories, products and places.”
- “My pocket is filling up quickly this semester. I am Pre-Interning in a room of 26 bright, talented and curious learners who are continuously teaching me so much about myself. “
DAY FOUR – November 14, 2018
“I had the opportunity to learn from and work along with a substitute teacher today. She has extremely strong classroom management skills and I learned a lot from her. She put a quarterly check list up on the board. If the students were respectful and worked hard, she would give them a check mark for each quarter of the day. (before recess, before lunch, after lunch, after recess). If the students achieved all four check marks they would have the opportunity to play a game at the end of the day.”
“Today we finished the day by spending time with our reading buddies. One of the many students who are in my “pocket” really surprised me today. Usually I find myself struggling to get them to read and write during class time. But during this time they were so thrilled to have the opportunity to share and teach their reading skills to their buddy. This individuals strengths were shining bright in this differentiated learning environment.”
“Another group of our students let their reading buddy read to them instead. Even though the kindergartener could not read the words, he made inferences from the pictures and made up the story as the pages flipped along. The kindergarteners confidence was beaming as he shared his own skills and knowledge to the older kids. It was a beautiful moment.”
DAY FIVE – November 21, 2018
“Our day started off by students repeatedly saying, “I can’t do this”. I was so thankful to hear my COOP stop the students in their tracks by explaining we will not use this language. We will never say “I can’t do this” because in our classroom we can do anything. I am a strong believer in promoting the idea that we can do everything and anything we put our minds towards. I want my students to recognize that we all have strengths and we all have weaknesses and that this is okay. I believe that it is more important to try and fail terribly than it is to never try at all. I fear that as our society continues to obsess over the idea of becoming a successful citizen, individuals will acquire an unhealthy association with failing at anything. Our school systems NEED to stress the notion that becoming a successful citizen is a continuous lifelong process. We need to teach our learners the essential skills of trying, exploring, failing, and trying again. We need to switch our focus on resilient learners and shy away from expecting our learners to always succeed.”
DAY SIX – November 28, 2018
“My COOP teacher gave me the last hour of class time to facilitate games with the students for our last hooray! We started off by moving all of the desks to the side, so we had a large space to play in. I began by asking the students to walk around at random, I told them to pay attention to the patterns they were making as they were walking and asked them to focus on not making these patterns. I then asked them to make extremely long eye contact with anyone they passed. All of the students thought that this was hilarious, and everyone participated fully, it was super awesome to see. I then asked them to pause, as I showed them that whoever they made eye contact with they would then have to clap hands, spin, clap hands again and move on to the next person they made eye contact with. I then asked them to make handshakes with whoever they made eye contact with next. This activity turned out completely different than how it did with our drama class. I am clearly not the most outgoing human, so I did not set the tone as high as Jayden (our drama sessional) did. It is clear that I need more practice in “acting” and being “outgoing” without fear of being embarrassed. I tried my best to show the students an example of a silly noise and crazy handshake, but that concept was not shown clear enough as the students made “typical” handshakes with their peers. I still see this as a success as each student was participating and they were making handshakes with one another, it just was not at the extreme state as we learned in class.
We then moved onto the group matching/addition game. My group of students are very competitive, and it definitely showed in this activity. It was so fun watching them try their hardest to cooperate with one another without the use of verbal communication. I would definitely do this activity again because each of the kids were so proud of their quick counting abilities. I would love to try and modify the game with subtraction, division, and multiplication. I believe this class would benefit from making this activity more challenging in that aspect.
We then finished the day with the trust walk exercise. I was slightly worried that the immaturity in this classroom would come out and students would not participate in an appropriate manner. (not lifting your arms in time for the classmate walking by for example) So I made sure to give the students a quick chat before beginning this activity about how we must be responsible students and we must participate in a way that we trust the rest of the class to participate in when it is our turn to go. I also think that it is beneficial that I walked through the trust line first to ensure everyone understood the concept before putting the students at risk. That being said, all of the students participated appropriately, and everyone had so much fun. I was so proud to see the brave individuals who sprinted through the line as fast as they could, as well as the other participants who ensured everyone had the opportunity to participate in a safe manner.
I was extremely hesitant and nervous for our drama class but now that it is completed, I am so unbelievably thankful for the experience. I have grown in my own self-confidence both interpersonally and as a future teacher. I look forward to implementing all of the activities we participated in this class not just for game play, but for opportunities to implement cross-curricular content and to help reach the needs of my differentiating learning students.”
“Suningdale school was participating in student led conferences after school and I thought it would be a great learning opportunity to listen in on a few of them. I had the opportunity to sit in on three of my COOP’s student led conferences, which were all fantastic. Our classroom has a group of extremely talented kids who have many strengths. Each student had the chance to share with their parents a few of their tests, essays, assignments, and drawings that they were most proud of. They also had a chance to reflect on the goals they made for themselves at the beginning of the school year and how they feel their progression towards that goal is going. The students also had the opportunity to share how their parents and teacher can be involved and help them reach their new goals. I found this aspect of the student led conference extremely helpful and I will most likely use it in my future role of being a teacher. I believe it is so important to create those interconnected relationships with teachers, students and parents. It is crucial for everyone to work together to ensure our students have thoughtful learning experiences.
I also had the opportunity to sit in with another teacher from the school’s student led conference as she and her students planned something completely different. Each of her students created an interactive presentation using the app Nearpod. The student stood up near the smart board and facilitated the entire process on his own, where his family sat at a table with the classroom Ipads placed in front of them, where they could follow along as well as type in answers, fill in the blank and make drawings. The student had the opportunity to play the role of the teacher for his family and it was so cool to see his confidence shine in this moment. He had the opportunity to show his family the Prime Factor Tree they just mastered in math class and his family had the chance to share encouraging descriptive words that they believed best defined the student. I thought that this was an incredibly great way to implement technology in the classroom and will definitely use this resource in my future classroom.”
I am beyond thankful for all that I have learned and experienced this semester. I am SO looking forward to March and having the opportunity to continue to grow and learn alongside the Grade 6/7 classroom at Sunningdale Elemntary School.