Over the past 2 weeks I have been fully submersed into the world of teaching as I made my way through my two week practicum.
I have been finding it extremely challenging to fully sum and explain my two week practicum experience, every day I took away something new – in hindsight blogging after every day would have been helpful, but alas I found my brain had consistently turned to mush by the end of the day, and stringing words together would have been a struggle.
As a quick overview – I taught the following lessons 🙂
– 4 Gym Lessons: It was so wonderful being able to bring one of my sport passions to the classroom, or gym in this case – VOLLEYBALL! I learned very quickly that teaching 23, 8 year old students how to play volleyball is extremely different than coaching club volleyball – POLAR OPPOSITES! But super fun none the less. I observed that while managing students in gym class, your voice needs to be that much slower, clearer and more concise and you need to be purposeful and direct with instruction. You really need to get used to waiting, even though “wait time” feels to last a LIFE TIME!
– 2 Health and Career Lessons: My very first ‘in class’ lesson took place on HALLOWEEN! A lesson introducing the concept of ‘citizenship’ and introducing a new ‘secret’ class project (random acts of kindness – so if you are reading this.. SHH!!). Much to my surprise, and quite contrary to the energetic festivities of the day my students were FANTASTIC! They listened eagerly, came up with some amazing ideas about citizenship and worked hard to complete their ‘citizenship project’. The 2nd lesson acted as a continuation on the citizenship lesson, linking in the idea of positive language (do vs don’t) and then following through with our very first class ‘random act of kindness’ … You’ve been RAKed!
Remember … SHHH!! My class quite enjoys that these Random Acts of Kindness are their thing 🙂
– 1 Math Lesson! The morning of my math lesson my creative juices were flowing! And I designed a MATH GAME! That would allow my students to use their team work skills to physically represent place values. Imagine if you will – all the desks pushed to the side … the class divided into two teams, masking tape on the ground in the shape of a ‘T’ to divide the ones and tens places – I yell out a number and the students rush to place the appropriate number of bodies in each section proceeded by having the students number off out loud. ex: 23, 2 bodies in the 10’s place & 3 in the ones place. The students LOVED IT! I found it to be a great game to work not only to review place values but to work on team work skills as well – I even introduced a ‘challenge question’ yelling out a number that required a ‘100’s’ place value spot – a true test of critical thinking as the ‘T’ does NOT have a place for the 100’s value. What was even MORE interesting was that the team who struggled initially with the game was able to look beyond the provided 10’s and 1’s “T” and create their “100’s” number MUCH faster than the other team who was successful with every other number.
– 1 Daily Literacy Lesson: Making a Mental Picture to increase understanding. I introduced the topic of ‘making a mental picture’ in ones imagination and then read bits of a story to the class, having them close their eyes as to not see the pictures and then we discussed as a class what images came to mind. I then read them a poem and had them silently draw out the images that came they were creating in their minds. I was able to create a connection with the students as I brought in books from my childhood – they loved the sharing moment!
– 1 Art Lesson: MONSTER BOXES! Thursday afternoon, no class Friday… what better way to end the day then with an art activity! My lovely school advisor announced to the class that she would be ‘ invisible’ for the rest of the day and that I, Ms Dalzell was fully in charge! I wrote step by step directions on the white board, walked them through each step – and then gave them creative license. This ALSO meant that Ms Dalzells crazy side got to come out and play for a bit. I had made a playlist for the students comprised of some good old high school musical and one direction songs (and some jazzy songs of my own) that were to be played as long as the students showed me they could work hard and keep their voices down – AND THEY DID! We had a couple dancing moments, and some sing along time – while also managing to get work done! What a day!!
1. Connections! Access prior knowledge and allow students to find connections with the lessons
2. Catch their eye! With each lesson have a ‘hook’ something visible or physical that will allow students to access their prior knowledge or that will build background knowledge
3. Be patient! When you pose a question allow each student time to think and reflect, it will seem like an eternity, but the wait will be worth it
4. Find the Balance! Find that balance between ‘teacher talk’ and ‘student talk/work’, teaching is not about what the teacher has to say, it is about providing opportunity to hear what the students have to say or show through their work.
5. Be systematic and purposeful in your classroom management & praise those who follow instruction
6. Validation – If i a student struggles to answer a question that is okay, but be sure to give them a chance to boost their own self esteem, allow them to answer a question they willingly put their hand up to answer. Show them you care that they are learning.
7. Modifications – work to incorporate every learning style within a lesson; auditory, visual and kinesthetic – again linking back to the idea of the ‘hook’ – giving each student equal opportunity to find their connection.