ECS 300: Last Day

There are two weeks left of classes and things are starting to come to an end.  That being said, this was my last day for my field placement.  It was a sad day because after going to the school once a week for eight weeks, I was beginning to get close to a few of the students and now we are not going to be there anymore.  It was a good last day of placement though.

I taught two lessons this week due to not teaching my lesson from last week.  The first lesson I taught was a writing lesson.  I had the students write a letter to them that they will open four years later.  I stressed to the students that this was for them.  I was not marking it and nobody would read it unless they wanted someone to.  Many of them wrote around half a page, some of them wrote over a page and some wrote a few sentences.  I taught the first lesson in two parts because there was Liturgy in the gymnasium for approximately fifteen minutes during the lesson.  The first part of the lesson went well but I found in the second part of the lesson the kids were a little rowdy.  I found it difficult to get them to be quiet after we came back.  Overall, I felt the lesson went well.  I know there are going to be some students who will lose their letter in a few days but I think there are a few students who will keep their letter and be able to read it a few years later.

The second lesson I taught was a science lesson on heat and temperature.  I had the students use a Venn diagram to see what either Inuit/Metis/Cree Plains people used for clothing and shelter compared to what they use.  I felt a little rushed because I only had twenty minutes to teach the lesson but I thought I would have thirty minutes.  That is just something as a teacher that I will have to adapt to.  Overall, it was a little loud in the class but everyone got their work done and completed the activity.  I felt the lesson went well but I did not have time to do my closure.

At the end of the day we saved a little time to revisit one of our science lessons that my classmate and I did earlier during placement.  We had made lava lamps using oil, water, food coloring and Alka Seltzer tablets (fizzy tablets).  We had kept the lava lamps in the classroom and we brought Alka Seltzer tablets to class today and for the last ten minutes of class we used the lava lamps again.  It was a really fun way to end the day and I am glad we could revisit the lava lamps again because the students really enjoyed it and I had fun too.  Overall, it was a wonderful field experience and the past two months have reinforced the idea that I want to be a teacher for as long as I can.

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ECS 300: Ready… Set… Tweet!

This was my second last week for field placement and it is sad that it is almost coming to an end.  For the beginning of the afternoon, the class participated in a Twitter chat.  I thought this was very cool because I have never been in a class or observed a class doing a Twitter chat.  The students sat at their tables and each table had a tablet so that their group could tweet different things.  There was one group who did different things to help the Twitter chat run smoothly.  For instance, someone tweeted the questions, another person made sure everyone was involved and another person kept time to make sure all of the questions got asked.  There were probably around four other classes who participated as well.  I thought it was a really neat experience to see the students interact with different classes.  Some of them really enjoyed it and would want to do it again but there were other students who seemed indifferent to it.

One thing that I am really learning form this field placement is that as a teacher you have to adapt to different things in the classroom.  For instance, I had a writing lesson prepared for the students but I did not end up teaching the lesson because there was a Liturgy in the gymnasium due to Lent which lasted around half an hour so there was not enough time for both my classmate and I to do each of our lessons.  I was okay with teaching my lesson the next week, so I let my classmate go this week.

Overall it was a good week at the school and I am excited to teach two lessons next week.  I find that the weeks are going by very fast and I cannot believe that next week will be my last at the elementary school.

EMTH Reflection: Assessment

I went to the school that my placement is at last week because my classmate and I were helping judge a science fair.  It was my first time really marking a student’s work and it was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be.  I had to remember to be unbiased while marking and to not be too difficult or too easy of a marker.  I am glad I got that experience now because assessing is something I will do a lot as a teacher.

I mentioned my experience with the science fair because we talked about assessment in EMTH.  I do not think assessment should be solely tests because some students may not be good test takers and there are other ways to assess students to see if they understand concepts.  For instance, there could be a final project that the students could do to demonstrate what they have learned.  I think assessment should be a mixture of test, quizzes, assignments, projects, asking student’s questions and seeing what their answer is, exit slips and other things.  Then there can be different ways students can present the knowledge that they have learned through a variety of ways.

Now that I have talked about different ways that I would assess, I will talk about what can be assessed.  One thing that I think is very important is the mathematical thinking processes underlying math concepts because there are many math concepts and I am interested to see how students understand these concepts and how they come up with their answers, that is something that was brought up in class.

We talked about in class what the different kinds of feedback can be.  For instance, there should be constructive comments.  I think that is useful because then students can see what they have done wrong but it is not put in a negative way.  I have found from personal experience that constructive comments work better than just telling me only negative things.  Also, you should guide the student on what to do, not what they cannot do.  I agree with this because you should not tell a student that they cannot do something but instead, you should help the student by perhaps giving them ideas on what or how to solve a problem.

Overall, I think assessment is important, especially assessment in a problem solving classroom because there are many different aspects to it.  I am glad we talked about it in class because I will take what I have learned from this class and apply it to the classes I teach.  I do not have a lot of experience with assessing and so it is good to have as much experience as I can (for instance the science fair) and it is good to learn about it in class.

EMTH Reflection: Technology in the Classroom

In EMTH we talked about using technology in the classroom.  There are many different ways to introduce technology into the classroom and so for this reflection I will mention two uses of technology that I really enjoy using and that I think could be used effectively in the classroom or as a resource.  The two things that I will discuss are Twitter and Desmos.

Twitter is something that I think is a great resource for the classroom.  There are different hashtags that can be used to discover different activities, projects, other resources, website articles and other things.  A couple hashtags I use are #edmath #mathchat, those hashtags are great for finding different resources for math classes that can be used in the classroom.  Twitter is also an easy way to see how different educators are incorporating technology into the classroom, specifically math, by following different educators on Twitter.  I follow many educators and different schools and I find that helps me find different resources that I can use in the classroom.  That is actually how I found the second app I will talk about.

Desmos is an app that my co-operating showed me on a #saskedchat (that hashtag is a chat that different educators participate in on Twitter).  It is basically a graphing calculator that can be downloaded for free as an app on a phone or you can access it online on their website.  I think this is a great resource because not every class has access to graphing calculators and so different graphs, equations and inequalities can be seen by students visually.  Students can also use Desmos at home if they are doing a homework assignment.

Technology is something that is being integrated into the classroom more and more every year.  It is something that I will do my best to incorporate in my classroom because I think it could benefit the students.  Desmos is a great tool that the students can access to help graph different functions.  Twitter can help find different resources to use in the classroom.  Overall, I have a found a few technology apps to use in the classroom and I know that I will discover and be introduced to many.

ECS 300: Works Cited 2.0

This week in my field placement my classmate and I did the same works cited lesson that we did last week with the other grade 7/8 class, this week we did the lesson with the grade 7/8 that my classmate and I were assigned to.  It is interesting that the lesson can be basically the same but because it is a different class with lesson will still go differently.

We made a couple changes to the lesson based on how the lesson went last week.  We changed the power point so that the examples we used were already filled out so we did not have to fill out the examples on the white board.  We slightly changed with activity so that it would be easier for students.  We had a resource for each table last time but we realized it took a while for the students to complete one resource and this time we had a resource for each student and it took less time for the students to complete the task.

My Professional Development Plan for this week was monitoring where I walked in the classroom during the lesson.  My co-operating teacher had a sketch of the classroom (where all the tables are where the students sit) and he mapped out where I went during the lesson.  It was interesting to see that I went to one area of the classroom more than other parts of the classroom.  I tended to walk around more in the front of the classroom to the left, whereas I did not walk by the right of the classroom as often.  Moving around the classroom is something that I think is very important and is something that I will continue to work on throughout the rest of the semester and my next field placement.

Overall, I am happy how the lesson went.  I am glad to have some experience teaching English because although it is not my major, it is good to teach a couple English lessons in case it is something I teach in the future.  There are things that I am going to work on next week, for instance making sure the students are on task.  There are also things that I think worked well during the lesson.  Next week, I am teaching a creative writing lesson which I am excited to teach.

ECS 300: Works Cited

This week in my field placement my classmate and I did a lesson on Works Cited Page for a paper using MLA (Modern Language Association).  We taught the other grade seven/eight class this lesson and next week we will teach the same lesson to the grade seven/eight class we are placed with.  This gave us a chance to change anything about the lesson that we thought could have gone better.  We prepared a power point and a worksheet for the students.  The power point had examples that corresponded to the worksheet so that students could fill out the worksheet as we went through the slides.

Part of my teaching philosophy is using guided notes because I really think they can help students because then they do not need to worry about copying down all the notes and the students can focus on what is being said during the lesson.  I know from experience that I used to not be paying attention to what the teacher is saying because I would be too focused on writing down the notes.  So I wanted to incorporate that into my lessons.

Overall, I was happy at how the lesson went.  There were things that went well and other things I will work on in future lessons.  We used the classroom management strategy of ‘5-4-3-2-1’ that we used last week and it worked well with the class this week as well.  I felt like we presented the information in an organized way that was a good way for the students to understand the information.  One thing that we will change for the next time we teach the lesson is that we can have the students fill out their guided notes for an example and then we will go over the answer so that they can do the work on their own and then we can go over it as a class to see if they are doing the example correctly.

The activity we did could have gone better using more specific instructions.  Not all the students knew they were handing in their assignment or how many citations they needed to have.  We had one source per table and the students ended up having each person at their table doing the source one at a time so it took a while for the students to each have one citation done.  What I thought they could have done was doing the citation all together and then write it down on their own pieces of paper.  If we made that more clearly at the beginning, then the activity might have ran smoother.  For the next time we do the lesson, we will have four sources at each table and each student will do three.  That way they can do it themselves and they will not need to wait for a citation to do.  I am looking forward to doing this lesson with my classmate again next week.

EMTH Reflection: Lesson Planning

We have talked a lot about lesson planning in my education math class that I am taking this semester, specifically, how to integrate problem solving into different lessons.  We were asked to create a lesson plan involving a problem solving activity that was done in pairs.  My partner and I decided to do a lesson from Workplace and Apprenticeship 10 on calculating the price of an item with taxes.

The following is a summary of the lesson plan:

The Set involved going over how to convert a decimal to a fraction to a percent and that they are the same thing.  Then there are two examples on a worksheet that we would pass out to the students and go over on the board.

The first question was the following (It was taken from the Workplace textbook): A furniture store in Saskatoon is selling a bedroom suite.  The list price for the suite is $1599.00.  What will the total cost be, including GST and PST? Note that in Saskatchewan GST and PST are each 5%.

The second example was the following: You are looking to buy the new iPhone 6 and have decided on either the 16GB which costs $749.00 or the 64GB which costs $859.00.  What is the difference between the two phones before taxes and after taxes? Use Saskatchewan taxes.

The problem that we designed for this lesson was asking the students which iPhone they would buy from the second example, based on price, size and other factors.  We would have the students in pairs so they could talk about it.  Then we would discuss it in class.

Another activity that we were planning was an activity for the end of this Unit.  It would incorporate everything the students have learned from this unit.  They would have to pan a meal with only a certain amount of money.  If the students want to do something a little more difficult they could plan a trip anywhere in the world.  This activity would be good to see if the students understand everything they have done in this unit.

We presented the lesson in class and there are a few things that I thought went well and what we could change for next time:

What went well:

I think having the examples handed out to the students is a good idea so that they do not have to write the example down because some students are slow writers, so it is easier to have a handout.  We had questions that they could do as homework from the textbook at the bottom of the page so that students can see if they understand what is being taught.

What we could change:

When we are doing the examples we could have told them to spend a couple minutes doing the example on their own and then as a class discussed how some of the students solved the problem and then down it on the board with a student explaining how they did it.  What we did before was my partner and I just did the examples on the board and asking the students how to do it.  This way, each student can attempt the problem on their own.

ECS 300: Blob in a Bottle

This is the fourth week in the field placement for this education class.  We want to teach classes other than math because we are both math majors and we will get many chances to teach math so it is good to get a variety of experience by teaching different subjects.  My classmate and I decided to do a science experiment with the class, called Blob in a Bottle.  It is an experiment that creates, what looks like, a lava lamp.  I was excited to do the experiment because as a kid, my sister and I had a lava lamp that we really enjoyed so this experiment brought back a little of my childhood.

The one thing I was focusing on for this lesson was classroom management strategies, specifically getting the students attention when they are talking.  What my classmate and I did at the very start of the lesson was we explained when we want their attention and for them to be quite and listening, one of us would say ‘5-4-3-2-1’ while simultaneously counting down from five on a hand.  This worked great, the students really responded to it.  This helped me with what I was focusing on for the lesson.

Overall, the experiment went very well with the students.  They really enjoyed doing the experiment and looking at the bottle.  I was a little worried that they would be at the age where they would think the lava lamp experiment was lame, but they thought it was really cool.  We had them do a worksheet while they were doing the experiment and every student completed the worksheet and gave good answers to the questions asked.

We got to help the students with their science fair projects after recess.  I was helping one girl edit her science report and I realized not everything she wrote was in her own words.  I remember it being difficult to write everything in your own words, so I explained to her that you need to write everything in your own words.  I told her you can use quotes but you have to cite them and she did not know what that meant.  I realized that the next lesson my classmate and I should tech is a Language Arts lesson on bibliographies and citation.  This is something that the students should learn how to do now because it is something that will be expected of them in high school.  Overall, it was a good afternoon at our field placement and I am excited for next week.

ECS 300: Teaching my First Lesson

This week was my first chance to teach a lesson during my field placement last week.  I was able to teach an arts education lesson to the grade seven/eight classroom I am going to every week.  The arts education lesson plan I had created had included different activities that are done in drama.  Some of the activities included improv games and an activity that involved tableaus.  I was fairly nervous and excited at the same time to teach my lesson.  Overall the lesson went fairly well, of course there are things that I am going to need to work on and there were other things that I think went well.

A couple things that I noticed went well was my eye contact with the students.  That was what I was focusing on in my Personal Development Plan, was making eye contact with the students.  So I am glad it went well.  I made eye contact with everyone in the room and did not look at my notes too often.  Another thing I thought I did well was walking around in the room while I was talking and when the students were working on the activities.  I did not stand in one place during the lesson.

There are a couple classroom management strategies that I can work on.  One thing I know I can improve on is getting the students to all be quiet after they have been working on the activities.  Also, I can work on not starting talking until all of the students are quiet and listening.  I think I realize now more than ever, that it is okay to stay quiet at the front of the room and wait for the students to be quiet before I continue with the lesson.

I think this was a great first experience and I am excited to continue teaching lessons throughout this field placement.  There are things that I am doing well and there are also things that I can do better at and work on during the course of this field placement.  Overall I am looking forward to teaching my next lesson, which I am teaching with my classmate.  We are doing a science experiment with the students.