Week 1 Reflection:
The first day of my placement was a roller coaster, from feeling like a nervous wreck to being so excited made for a crazy day. I am in a 5/6 split at Kitchener Community School, there are 21 students in the class. The classroom setup was not my favorite as I personally think it secluded some students by themselves, and as well as the students were scattered around the room, not providing optimal learning. I did enjoy that they had 2 larger tables at the back for group work and where the students can go after completing an assignment. The lesson that we got to see the teacher, Tara Smith, teach was math. At Kitchener, each class gets a second teacher in the room for every math lesson, therefore allowing students to get the most help as possible. During the math lesson the students were separated into 4 groups based on skill level, I really liked this as these students don’t feel behind and the teacher adjusted each assignment for each group. The stations were learning patterns with teacher one, computer math games, card math games and doing worksheets with the other teacher. My partner and I taught an hour and ten-minute health lesson on the first day, so we didn’t get to see much classroom instruction as we were instructing, but from the first day I learned, I need to wait until students are listening to talk instead of trying to talk over them and to have early finisher tasks for students who are done their assignments early. One thing the teacher did that I think is important was a daily morning check in, she asked them their level from 1-5 on their sleep, fullness, how they feel about themselves, how they feel about others and their stress level. This gives the teacher a good idea of where the students are at that day and builds a good trusting relationship. I am going to try to challenge myself and teach social studies next week which is not my strong point and having better classroom management.
Tuesday morning was my second day and I dove in head first and taught a social lesson in the 5/6 class. For myself being a science major and minor, I was hesitant and had no clue where to start, finally after many hours of research I decided to tackle the outcome “describe Canada’s political evolution”. I started with reading a book about each province and territory then to labeling a map of Canada’s provinces and territories. I gave them the names on the board and I wanted to see how much they could get through on their own. I thought for sure they would know where Saskatchewan was and possibly Alberta and Manitoba. But to my surprise quite a few of the students were unaware that we lived in Saskatchewan or the location of it. After the kids left for lunch, my co-op talked with us and gave us feedback. For my lesson, she asked if I was surprised at the level they knew, which yes I was, she followed by saying next week I need to go back and talk about what is a province and city because they don’t know the difference.
For next week, I am thinking to make the concepts for visual is to get containers that fit inside each other and go by saying okay the biggest on is Earth and how continents make up the land of Earth then countries then provinces, territories or states and lastly cities. Putting each smaller container into the bigger one. I’m hoping this will help them understand what each are and the scale of each term. After I found a video on the provinces of Canada, after we will do the same worksheet we tried this week but do it together as a class and label it to become even more familiar with Canada. Hopefully the week after we can start looking at when they joined Canada and more the history behind Canada.
The third time in the classroom and the first time I felt reassurance that I can do this and it takes a lot of practice. The lesson that I taught was on provinces and it was the first time I felt that they had understood the content and wow did I ever feel a sense of pride. The thoughts in my head were “YES, this was me! They are learning and remembering this content because of my teaching and what I had planned for them”. What a rewarding experience, but some things I still need to work on are ensuring that all students are engaged and that is my goal for next week.
Next week, I am doing a station lesson on capital cities of Canada, so I am going to have 4 stations with a group at each station. The stations will be a computer game with levels to allow the students to challenge themselves, a go fish station with multiple sets, a flash card game where they can challenge their knowledge, and lastly a fun matching game. I’m hoping with the constant rotation it will keep all students engaged while all working towards a common goal.
The first two weeks are challenging as we are trying to get to know the students and the students are getting used to a new figure in their classroom. By the third week the students become comfortable and more open to have different teachers teach them. As teachers we know more about the students and what each student needs to succeed in their learning.
This week my lesson was on the capital cities of Canada, first we discussed the buckets from last week as a recap and went over why each bucket got smaller when moving in from Earth to cities. Once this recap was finished, on board there was 2 lists, one of the provinces/territories and the other with capital cities. As a class, we matched the 2 lists together, and then did it again, getting the students to come up to the board and match them on their own. This part of the lesson help me reach my goal for this week of calling out students instead of just the select few who raise their hands. This got the students to pay attention and focus in on the lesson instead of zoning out. This lesson also brings me to my new goal which is time management, this first part of the lesson took a lot longer than I thought so when it came time for the next part which was stations, it was rushed. The second part was stations, they were in 4 groups with 5 people in each, one station was flash cards, second was a computer site that had games about Canada’s geography, third was matching game and forth was go fish asking for the correct match. I did 5 mins a station when originally I had planned for 8 mins at each station, this also took up time in my partner’s lesson which then took up time in their math lesson.
For next week, we are going to go do the matching review on the board then get straight into stations, so they have more time at each station. Also for next week I want to be more clear on my instructions for each station and possibly have a write up for each station to help it go smoother.
This week I taught capital cities in Canada lesson. We did groups that went to four stations throughout the lesson time. First as a review, we did a matching game on the board matching the Provinces/Territories to the correct Capital City by drawing a line. Then we broke into our 4 groups and each group went to either go fish, matching, computers or flash cards with me. Having the students have a station with a teacher can help facilitate learning and see the students level of understanding. The stations were 7 mins long each, taking up most the time. After the students were settled back into their seats, a workout sheet was handed out, first side was labeling the provinces/territories on the map and the second side was matching the capital cities to the corresponding province/territory. I used this worksheet as an assessment tool, as my coop teacher wanted me to fit it into the 1-4 categories that they use for marking.
What I thought didn’t go well was the beginning matching game, it took a while to finish, where I would have liked to have multiple markers going at once, or play it as a race against time. As, well every student that I did flash cards with ended up with the correct answer, but when the worksheet was given, many of the students said they didn’t “know” the answers, but 5 mins ago they were answering quickly and correctly. Struggles I have with this class is the confidence they have doing things on their own, they feel more confident in groups or working together. This is something I want to incorporate more, is group learning, if that’s the way students will feel more engaged, then why not include that more if it will benefit the students. As, well as having more adaptive material. One group in particular, is at lower level learning and many of them get frustrated when they don’t pick up the content right away and tend to give up.
For next week, I am going to move into the treaties in Saskatchewan. This lesson will be challenging but beneficial as the majority of my students have a reserve they go to or have family from. Next week I want to incorporate more together learning like think, pair, share or I do, we do, you do.
Since this is past my halfway point, as a teacher it is helping me think of situations that can happen in a classroom that we often forgot to think about. It is also allowing me to see the different learning levels throughout our city and in a community schools, and the struggles they have to face just with bring in the location of the city.
This week, I started teaching treaties, I introduced this topic by questioning the students about promises, such as how can promises be kept? What if you break a promise? How can you fix the relationship with the other party when you break a promise? After questioning, we made our own promises on leaves and made a promise tree. The students also had to write the statement “If I break my promise I will…”, these were then read aloud to the class. We had enough time so we watched a clip of Arthur to show the importance of saying a meaningful apology and how kept promises can keep relationships strong.
I honestly wasn’t happy with my lesson, I thought it was dual and needed something more, but my co-op said she thought it was a good lesson. What I have noticed throughout the past 6 weeks is that my class doesn’t take whole class teaching well, they do better in small groups, where more attention can be done. Next week I would like to try something like that, because on Tuesday’s we have 4 adults in the room, so why not utilize them. Although it is nice to have all that help, not every class will be that way, so I don’t want to get into the habit of depending on other teachers to have my students learn.
Also this week, we learned that a student had moved away and we had gained a new student. I was sad to hear that the student had moved away. I wouldn’t this in short 6 half days, we would build a strong connection with these students, but every time we go the relationship grows stronger and it’s going to be sad to leave them in 2 weeks.
For next week, I am going to get into the treaties that were signed in Saskatchewan and how they were broken, when we did Treaty Ed this year, a good comparison chart was given to us so I would like to use that. As for doing groups, I think 4 groups is a good number to have because then there are 4-5 students per teacher. Every week, I am learning new ways to handle classroom management and to think of creative ways to get the students wanting to learn about topics.
For my lesson this week I touched on the importance of the treaty signings and the language barrier between the two parties. First we started by doing an activity where 2 groups were against each other, trying to build the tallest structure just with straws, masking tape and scissors. I explained verbally that they were to use the materials given to build to tallest structure. There was a line down the middle with the team you were going against on the opposite side from you. I then handed out written rules to each group. One groups rules were they were not allowed to talk and cross the middle line. The second groups rules were they can cross the line and take one item at a time from the other team and they were allowed to talk with one another. I was looking for certain reactions such as frustration, anger, guilty, lack of confidence. These were the exact reactions I received and I was happy! I wanted them to get real emotions to be able to relate to how the First Nations people felt. After the students took their seats and we had a class discussion, with questions starting off as “how did you feel if you were on the team who couldn’t steal?”, “did you think that the other team was breaking the rules?”, “If you were on the team who could steal, did you think you were breaking the rules?”, “how do you think the First Nations people felt when they thought the Europeans were breaking the rules?”, “Why is it important to have clear rules/understandings?”
The student’s responses were what I thought they would be, but as the questioning kept occurring, the students began connecting more and more to treaties and the connection was clear in a way they could understand and relate to.