Friday, December 2, 2011

My Observations of Other Lessons..

Throughout the last few weeks watching my fellow students presenting their lesson plans has given me a new insight to teaching.  Everyone did a good job and everyone seems to have what it takes to be a teacher, but noticing the different styles and techniques that everyone used was very interesting.

The biggest flaw with my lesson plan (presentation) was the rules.. I completely neglected to read the consequences I had typed out, which meant I couldn't exactly punish a student for misbehaving since I hadn't warned them of the consequences.  This made me pick up even more on other student's behavior plans.  I LOVED the faces on the board :) :| :( that represented the behavior of each student... I think Gabrielle and Natalie both did this and I that is something that I would definitely use in my classroom.

I also picked up on everyone's presence in front of the classroom.  I know that I am usually not thrilled about public speaking, but as soon as I get in "teacher mode" it just clicks for me and I can talk and be completely comfortable with it.

Toni had a great teacher voice.  She spoke clearly, explained things slowly, and emphasized certain aspects of her lesson, and just had a great presence in front of the room.

Overall I think that everyone did great.  A lot of people used the SmartBoard in an interactive way, having students go up to the board, which I loved.  I am going to make myself practice using the Smartboard because I think it is such a great way to get students involved.  The whole idea of doing these lesson plans was a great experience and very helpful, and I think that everyone, myself strongly included, benefited greatly from this.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Stellaluna Lesson Plan

On November 8, it was my turn to teach a lesson to the rest of the class...

I had so much fun!

I always get a little nervous before a presentation, but the size and comfort of our class and the encouraging attitude of Dr. Luongo quickly dismissed these feelings.

I had handed my lesson plan in a while ago, but had noticed that there were a few things I overlooked or mussed, so in order to prepare and have my lesson plan PERFECT for the day of my lesson, I reviewed it, added and took away some things, and modified my activity a little bit.

The objective of my lesson plan was to introduce my third grade classroom to CAUSE AND EFFECT through the story of Stellaluna.  I assessed the student's abilities by a lot of teacher observation (kwl chart and activity), as well as a homework sheet that would be graded according to a rubric.

My lesson plan was, for the most part, executed exactly as I wrote it.  I did forget to mention some of the consequences if the students did not follow directions or adhere to the rules, but everything went pretty smoothly I think.  The student "behaviors" are meant to, and tend to throw the student teacher off, but in my experience, talking to the kids, especially kids who are 2nd grade and up, as if they are adults is much more effective than yelling.  During the activity, a lot of the students were whining and fighting with each other, but by going over and talking things out with them maturely, I was able to keep them on task and refocus their attention back to the activity.

The most important thing I tried to teach my students was obviously the concept of Cause and Effect, but I also wanted my students to learn how to work together, especially for this activity.  The activity relied heavily on interacting with one another and working as a team, so I really wanted my students to learn the importance of being a productive, respectful, and helpful team member.

Overall, I think the lesson went fantastic.  I was a little nervous beforehand, but once things got rolling, I was loving it and actually having a lot of fun.  I remember being little and playing teacher and loving the feeling as I was in front of the "classroom" and even though this was much closer to the real thing, I still got that same excitement from it.

My "students" or fellow classmates were a great addition to the lesson.  Usually, the rest of the class just plays along even though they are bored to tears and are encouraged to be a good audience and participate.  This experience on the other hand was much more realistic as I was forced into dealing with unexpected little obstacles.  I learned from this that it is important to always be on your toes, to deal with things as fairly and quickly as possible and to never underestimate your class (in all aspects!)

I think to make my lesson better I could have read over the sentences before the students cut them up.  This was suggested by a fellow classmate and I realized that it could have been a big problem.  Or instead of doing this I could have explained in the directions of the activity that the sentences must be appropriate, and that as 3rd graders, everyone knows what is appropriate and suitable for a classroom.  I also could have talked about the book a little bit more.  I know what I wanted to do, and going over it by myself, I brought up more examples about cause and effect directly from the book.  The book is a great book to use for cause and effect because there are so many significant events, and I should have discussed the story more to get a feel for their comprehension of the story.

I had planned to use the Smart Board in my lesson as a way for the story to be read aloud to the students with text at the bottom, this way it appealed to both visual and audio learners.  I did end up using it because the Smart Board was working (yay!) and I think it went very well.  Students seemed engaged in the book, and I also held up the actual book to keep students aware of the pictures as the story was read, so I think they really enjoyed it. I could have also used a PowerPoint or the smart board to show the students what the example of the activity looked like, but I don't know if an actual replica (what I did) was better.  I would try it out both ways and see which one worked better and got my point across to the students and brought about less confusion.

I would definitely like to use the interactive aspect of the Smart Board in a future lesson plan.  It's a great way to keep kids engaged, and appeals to many different types of learners.  Once I become a little more savvy on it, I would definitely love to try it out.

Overall, I think I did a great job.  I got great feedback back from everyone, and had a great time doing it.  As good of a job as I think I did, there is always room for improvement.  I am excited to student teach next semester to get a real feel for being in front of a classroom, and I can't wait to show off what I've learned!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Library Visit

Last Friday we visited the SPC library to learn more about researching our field - education.

The librarian was very helpful and very knowledgeable, and was able to give us a great tutorial on how to use the library website to our advantage.

Some of the most useful things I learned were:

1. How to access Ebooks.  It is so easy to Google random articles for a research project, but being able to use books that are available online and are written by actual teachers and published by academic institutions is so much more credible and valuable.  I will deifnitely be using this source for furture research, especially since it is available from home computers simply by logging in.

2. There are books available to Elementary Education teachers.  It might be a small section, but knowing that there are books that can be used for lesson plans, reference and activities for younger children in a college library is an extremely important thing to know.  It is also nice to know that the library is expanding what they have for education students.

3. PRAXIS study material is available.  This was very exciting for me, especially since I am takin the PRAXIS in November.  Buying books can be so expensive, and it's very useful to know that the library provides these study tools.  Can't wait to start looking at them.

Our visit to the library proved to be very productive......... I can't wait to start taking advantage of all the resources available to me.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Effective Questioning

Effective Questioning is an important part of evaluting students' knowledge  and stimulating students to think comprehensively as well as apply their knowledge and experience to what they are reading.  When reading, students should not only be understand how they are reading, but WHAT they are reading.  Why is it important?  Varying the types of questions posed to students is very important if teachers want students to be thorough and disciplined readers and writers.

Effective Questions:
1.  How was Stellaluna separated from her mother?
2.  Describe what happens when Stellaluna first meets Pip, Flitter and Flap.
3.  How is Stellaluna different from the birds?
4.  Have you ever felt different?  How did you deal with it?
5.  Write about the main message you think Stellaluna portrays.

StellaLuna Wordle

I LOVE MAKING WORDLES!!! These are wayyyy to much fun to make.  Even though this was one was aa bit more tedious than the first one we did, I definitely think that it was worth it.

Well, here goes nothing.  I've been working on my Glog all day and I think I finally got it!  It's been tough for me to figure this out, I've never been great with formatting and creating things on the computer and all that, but I definitely found this to be great practice, as well as a great way to learn how to incorporate technology into a lesson.

I got pretty frustrated at times, trying to figure out all the settings and options I could use, but as Dr. Luongo mentioned, this is exactly how students will feel when trying new things, so it was definitely a learning experience.

Monday, September 5, 2011

First Post!

Still playing around with this and trying to figure it out.  Hope everyone enjoyed their long weekend :)