Sunday, March 25, 2012

Field Experience Day 11

St. Marys School - Kindergarten

TOPIC: Visit to a Classroom

  1. How is the classroom arranged and decorated. This classroom was filled with colors, pictures, the ABC's, numbers, prayer posters, toys on the shelves, and lots of books as well. Over in the corner where they read the wall was a wall filled with things the 'leader' of the day completes such as; the date including the month and day of the week, what day yesterday was and what day tomorrow is, the weather and how it feels outside, and the letter of the week. This classroom was decorated very well in my eyes. It really grabbed my attention in a way that was not too distracting, but very welcoming. 
  2.  How does the classroom differ from the gymnasium as an educational setting? First of all there are desks and chairs where the students may complete work at. There are book shelves that hold books for the students to read or the class to read together. The walls are packed with information for the students to look at.
  3. How would you describe the classroom atmosphere? This classroom was a bit wild. I know the students are young, but I am used to seeing them run around in the gym, and I guess I did not realize they still do that in a classroom as well. The teacher went to school for PE ironically, and she stated that is part of the reason she tries to really get the kids moving while in the class. They held great organization which helped the atmosphere stay clean.
  4. What was the topic and structure of the portion of the lesson you observed? While observing, I saw the students come from PE class and they got to play for about 10 minutes. There was toys literally everywhere. Once the teacher told them to clean up, they did so pretty fast. It was story time and the topic of the lesson I observed was the letter K. They read a book all about K and a bunch of words that started with K. While sitting on the carpet, the students were asked questions throughout the book and the teacher really encouraged each different student to answer at times. After the book, the students went over the date, weather, and days of the week.
  5. How would you describe the language and literacy levels of the students? From my observation the students were actively engaged throughout the lesson. While in the classroom, I did not see the students work on reading or writing which really inhibited me to see the literacy levels of the students. However listening to the students talk and learn, their language levels varied. Some of the students could interpret sign language into words which I thought at this level was great. Other students had a hard time with this task and had others help them figure out what the sign was.
  6. How did the teacher engage the students in the lesson segment that you observed? From the very beginning the students were engaged. Every activity the teacher stopped throughout to ask a question to a certain student. They also sang a couple songs that involved movement. They were all enjoying themselves and the procedures seemed to work smoothly.
  7. How would you describe the social behaviors of students in this age group? This age group really has a lot of small telling on each other. If someone stole a toy, they were quick to come up to me or the teacher to let us know. They are easily distracted, however when they are involved they are all in. Some students were off on their own doing their own thing while others stuck right next to a friend. It was interesting to me to see the different developmental signs socially for the students. Popularity starts at such a young age, its a no wonder why high school is so harsh.
  8. What did you learn from this observation that will help you teach this age group more effectively? This age group seems to be able to handle smaller bits of information at a time. Rather than throwing everything at them at once, I learned that it is better to give them one task at a time. Repetition is very important during this learning age. I believe that the more lively the teacher is, the more the students will want to be involved. They really do respect structure, and they need it right now.
  9. What other insights did you gain from this observation? I had once thought I could be happy teaching in a classroom. And the more I think about, or see how it goes, I realize that I am not that type of teacher. Yes I could handle it, and I think I could be pretty good at being a classroom teacher. But I truly believe that my heart is set on getting students active and teaching about a lifestyle.

Field Experience Day 10

St. Marys School - Pre-K

TOPIC: Communication with Colleagues and others

At this school, student safety is highly stressed. Before anyone may come into the building they must be buzzed in, then walk through the main office and sign in. All staff is notified when visitors are known to be coming into the school. From the very first day of field experience, after ringing the door bell and saying who I was and why I was there, the main office was already expecting me. I think this is very smart of the school in order to ensure no strangers enter. My host teacher explained that when something like us students coming in for field experience, communication with colleagues is very important so all staff is aware of who is walking through the halls. Also, when I needed to visit the class room and observe the students, my host teacher made it very simple for us because he was easily able to communicate with the teachers to find the best fitting class to sit in on. I asked my teacher if they held an open house; they do in October. I was curious if he did anything to show the parents about PE, or if any parents even came in to see him. Basically he said he was the 'glorified babysitter' on those nights. He also stated that usually the only parents coming in to chat are fathers looking for something else to do. I really think that when I become a teacher I have to do something extraordinary in order to draw the parents attention over to my gym. I think communication with parents and possibly other teachers, showing and teaching them all about what PE really is can be one of the best things about open house. Adults who never learned about PE the way I am going to teach it, including the standards, should really see what their kids are getting involved in now a days. Noticing that a lot of PE teachers do not think of open houses this way proves that we must take action to make parents aware of what being physically educated is. All in all, my host teacher seems to have a good handle in communicating within his school. In my opinion he should take charge in communicating more with the parents as well.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Field Experience Day 9

St. Marys School - 6th grade

TOPIC: Students with Special Needs

In this class there are two children with disabilities.One girl who was born with nerve damage, where her right side of the body is affected (mainly her right arm/hand). My host teacher told me he does not modify any activities for her unless he clearly see's a struggle. She is a type of student who does not want anything modified for her case, she wants to figure out how to move forward like the rest of the kids. Which ultimately, isn't that what all students want? She had fun playing with the other girls jump roping and playing tag. Because we were outside it was hard for me to see her skill levels specifically with her disability.
However it was interesting learning about her nerve damage, my host teacher was really knowledgeable on it. For every student that has any health issue all teachers including PE receive all facts on the health problem. I thought this was really great because even coming down to having allergy or asthma, the PE teacher is notified; in my eyes this is 100% necessary for safety and also security on the teachers behalf. The second student with a disability was a young boy diagnosed with Aspergers disorder. This type of autism causes a problem with social interactions and communication. What I noticed was that he seemed to be very aware of what was going on. He participated in kickball but was not very verbal like the rest of the 6th graders. He did not 'get into' the game like the others, he kind of just went out to play when it was his turn to kick. My host teacher stated that he loves running. I watched to see and when he kicked the ball he ran very fast to the base. When his team was on defense I noticed he was covering 3rd base. A player was running from 2nd to 3rd and they bumped into each other. This was a situation I could notice where socially he is effected. He did not know how to respond to the kids telling him he was in the way. He stayed quiet and almost looked confused. At the end of class he holds the door for everyone ensuring we have all gone in. The host teacher called it 'his thing'. He said if anyone else tries to hold the door he will act a bit uneasy. I thought it was very polite and sweet he wanted to hold the door for us all. Because we went outside and the day all in all was not very productive, it was hard for me to see if my host teacher makes good modifications for these two students. Their cases are not very sever, however I can tell that during some activities there must be modifications made. Being in 356 co-insigne 355, I am learning so much about all different types of students. Learning about many disabilities, I am now aware of how important it is so specialize each activity according to each individual student.

Field Experience Day 8

FIELD EXPERIENCE DAY Eight March 20th 2012
St. Marys School - 5th grade

TOPIC: Reflection of Lesson

The weather has been beautiful lately. In March no one really expected for it to be 80 degrees out. Because of this exact reason, my host teacher decided to take the students outside. They are in the middle of the gymnastics unit, but instead of continuing that, they got to choose between kick ball, playing catch, or basically just hanging outside. Now I have to admit even with so much work upon me this weather has really made it hard to focus. However, my brain still remains set on my goals. It takes a lot in me to deny others of fun activities that involve being outside, but I know what is most important and I strive to maintain focused. I know everyone wants to enjoy the sun and be outside, but was this really beneficial for the students learning? It was more of a recess day rather than an efficient physical education class. Now to be fair, the students were having fun and loved the idea of going outside. But when it came down to it, no learning took place and to me that was unacceptable for the middle of March. My host teacher is a great guy, and for the most part really cares about the students learning. However I think the weather got the best of him this time around!!

Field Experience Day 7

St. Marys School - 2nd grade

TOPIC: Management Strategies

Today was run club for the students. As talked about previously, the students goal is to run consistently for 20 minutes. They get to listen to music and also go at their own pace. The way my host teacher manages the class during run club is very efficient. The students come in and immediately start the warm up that is posted on the wall. While the students warm up the teacher takes attendance. The boundaries are already set up once the students come in and the equipment is ready to go.
I believe that the way he runs this day makes the students look at running in a positive light. It seems to me that each student really is genuinely excited when they walk into the gym and see it is set up for run club. This really made me question how he got all these young students motivated to run for twenty minutes. I do not know if I would even be motivated to run for twenty minute when I was their age. I think the fact that my host teacher has explained to the students about their bodies giving them signals of when to take a small break, they feel more comfortable trying to go for the full twenty knowing that they will rest when they feel the need. He goes over the basic rules and guidelines and when a student raises their hand he turns to them and answers their question. Because he has the students in a routine and they understand that the certain equipment  out means run club, they know what to expect. There was no complaining, and all but 4 can run for 90% of the time. I really like this whole run club idea, it gets the students motivated to achieve goals. My host teacher keeps track of who can consistently run the entire 20 minutes and those students are privately rewarded. Not only does this increase their motivation, but they hopefully will encourage others as well.