Field Blog 13: Tenth Hour

For my tenth hour at Millridge, I sat in on another fourth grade reading class. In this reading class, the teacher had the students watch a video on Veteran’s Day and what it means. The students were preparing for an assembly that they would be attending during the school day the following week. At the assembly, the teacher announced that some of the student’s parents/grandparents would be speaking on what it is like being a Veteran. The students were very interested in the video and learning about Veteran’s Day because it is something that applied to them in their life- their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.

After watching the video the teacher drew a time line on the board so the students could see how many days were left in their grading quarter. By laying out a time line the students became extremely excited to see how close they were to their break. This caused the students to get loud and start yelling. After quieting the class the teacher explained that they still had a lot of work to get done in the short time frame and that they needed to stay focused. I think that by showing the students the short time line they became very unfocused on the class and what they were expected to do. The teacher had wanted them to focus on writing more letters to the veterans but, instead, the students were loud and talking to each other- clearly not focusing on writing their letters. This classroom seemed out of control and the teacher seemed to lack the ability to keep them focused.

Overall, my experience at Millridge Elementary School was wonderful and I really enjoyed learning from the teachers!

Field Blog 12: Ninth Hour

For my ninth hour at Millridge I sat in on a fourth grade math class. This teacher seemed to have short patience with her students. She began the class by reviewing what they had done earlier in the week. After this she had the students do an activity that applied what they had already learned. I thought that this was a good way for the students to be able to remember what they were learning and learn how to apply it in the real world. She had each student take 40 mini blocks out of a plastic bag. This seemed to be quite difficult for the students to understand because they were working in groups of three and most students believed they were supposed to only take 40 blocks per GROUP instead of per STUDENT. This seemed to irritate the teacher a bit and she started yelling. After this, the students used the blocks to understand certain word problems that they had been given in previous homework. Using the blocks as hands-on material really helped the students to understand what they were doing and most of them got really excited with their knowledge and were able to do five problems in the given time span while other groups were only able to accomplish two problems.

After the block activity the teacher had the students take a timed test where they completed 100 math problems in only a few minutes. After the time was up the students had to turn in their tests and the teacher would grade them. Each student had to pass each test three times before moving on. They offered many different test levels: adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, mixed. I did not like the idea of doing a timed test because me, myself, I would not work well under a time crunch like that.

Field Blog 11: Eighth Hour

For my eighth hour at Millridge I sat in on another fourth grade reading class. In this class the teacher remembered having my sister in her class nine years ago! In her classroom she taught the students about Veteran’s Day since she explained that they would all be writing letters to the veterans, thanking them for their service. I thought that this was a very important thing to learn and this was one of the reasons that I loved Millridge so much when I attended there, myself. The teacher began her class by asking the students to share what they believed that the veterans gave up I order to fight for our country. This part of the class was interesting because all of the students had great ideas but some of them got off topic and started talking about personal stories that their parents/grandparents had told them about veterans. At this point, the teacher told the students “I will not call on you unless you have an IDEA, not a story”. Since this didn’t work and some of the students still started telling stories, the next time she called on a student she said “Are you sharing a story or idea?” and when the child responded by saying story, the teacher said, “Ok, put your hand down, I’m not calling on you”. I found it interesting at how straight-forwards she was but it was also necessary since the students were not listening.

I enjoyed sitting in on this class and before I left her classroom she pulled me aside and told me that she suggests I major in reading in addition to science and math because, at Millridge, you cannot teach a classroom unless you have some background in reading. I found this interesting and I will further investigate about this requirement with my advisor.

Field Blog 10: Seventh Hour

For my seventh hour at Millridge Elementary School I sat in on a fifth grade math class. This math class was taught by the same teacher that I sat in with for my sixth hour. This teacher was by far my favorite. She was very straight forward with the students and talked to them like they were adults which seemed to result in her receiving more respect from the students. One thing that I noticed about this math class was that the teacher was interested in promoting students to think in their own ways instead of just learning one way. She wanted students to learn more than one way to solve the math problems. While half of the class was learning how to multiply 9 X 9, one student was so advanced as to say that you could turn that math problem into 9 squared. After this, another student exclaimed that it is the same thing as saying 3 to the fourth power. I was amazed at how advanced these students were and how much they were thinking outside of the box. The other students seemed confused by the answers that these kids gave but the teacher explained that there are many different ways to get to the correct answer.

This teacher taught her math class using a PowerPoint presentation that allowed for timed quizzes on the subject. After teaching  concept the teacher would allow the students a couple of minutes to answer a quiz question and then they would go over the problem together as a class. The teacher made sure to hear how each student got to their answer. I liked this because it helped her to see which students were understanding the material and which students were not.

Field Blog 9: Sixth Hour

For my sixth hour at Millridge I sat in on a fourth grade writing class. In this writing class the teacher was wonderful and the students loved her! After the teacher covered material she would ask the class to put their heads down and give her a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down on whether or not they thought they could do well on their “Summative” tests for that subject matter. This way the students were able to feel comfortable in answering honestly on how they felt about what they were learning. I thought that it was a good idea in order to protect the other students who might be self-conscious in answering honestly if others are watching. As the teacher continued her lesson plan on “Being Verbs” the students got loud and started shouting out questions and answers. To gain control of her class the teacher said to them “Ok, come back down 5, 4, 3…” and if she reached 1 she would take away recess from the students. This was good because it allowed the students to focus again on their own. At one point a students said “this is difficult” and the teacher responded by saying “the more we practice the easier it’ll get for you”. In responding this way, the student stopped panicking and relaxed, understanding that they were not expected to learn everything that day.

At one point in this class the five autistic children returned from their lunches and along with them, Miss T returned. Right away one of the autistic children lost his homework page and started crying and yelling. In response, Miss T started yelling back at the child saying “STOP CRYING! IT’S NOT GOING TO SOLVE ANYTHING!”. I was quite alarmed to see Miss T’s behavior towards this autistic student. When the actual teacher saw this she intervened by telling Miss T: “Ok stop, I’ll take over here”. The teacher then talked calmly to the autistic boy and calmed him down by telling him they would make a “deal” he could take ten minutes to read his book and go on the computer if he would then give her ten minutes and work on another worksheet. The child agreed and everything was peaceful again. This was very beneficial to witness because it is one of the possible solutions for dealing with a rough situation and making everything ok again.

Field Blog 8: Fifth Hour

For my fifth hour at Millridge I was assigned to a fifth grade math class. This fifth grade math class consisted of approximately 25 students. When I first walked into the classroom, many of the students recognized me from sitting in on their other classes and they came over and said hi to me. The teacher began the class by reviewing what they did the day before for about fifteen minutes. After this she explained that they would be playing a fraction game. The teacher then demonstrated this game by playing one round with the teacher’s aide. This teacher’s aide, unlike Miss T from my previous visits, did not try and cut the teacher off to input her ideas. Instead, she followed the teacher’s lead in the game and played it according to the way the teacher asked her to. The students absolutely LOVED that the two teachers were competing! They even were rooting on the teacher they wanted to win. After this, the teacher turned it over to the students and had them pair off in groups of three or four. The students enjoyed this as well because they were able to pair off with their friends.

After the game was over the teacher started on the next section of the chapter for about 30 minutes. At the end of the class period the teacher took time to review what the students had learned that day. Each student who answered one of her math problems correctly received a sucker. I liked this because it encouraged the students to participate and they actually were able to apply what they were learning. At the end of the class I spoke with the teacher about the suckers and she informed me that they are not supposed to give them out but that she received special permission from each student’s parents allowing her to use it as an occasional reward. I thought that this was a really good idea because it motivates the students to do well which actually helps them to learn and store away their knowledge.

Field Blog 7: Fourth Hour

For my fourth hour at Millridge Elementary School I sat in on a fifth grade reading class. I found this classroom to be very focused as well as being more mature than the fourth graders. The students each had their own books that were chosen from the teacher’s shelf. By doing this the, students can feel like they are able to choose what they want to read but they are also still reading required books for the course. After they finish their books, the teacher has the students write a book report on what they have read to test their understanding of the material. When the students were ready to start their book reports the teacher allowed several students on the computer. One of the things that I liked about this was that the teacher suggested that the students use the computers for their book reports but she also told them that it was their own time to do whatever they liked whether that be play a game on the computer, type their reports, or use Microsoft word as a dictionary. By doing this it allowed the students to make the decision themselves on whether or not they were going to be successful and get work done. I noticed that this was a reoccurring theme in this class- to promote decision making and personal choices being made by the students. Also, by using Microsoft word as a dictionary it encourages technology in the classroom while still allowing them to grow their vocabulary by choosing bigger, more complex words.

Sitting in on this class was beneficial in that I got to see the maturity difference between fourth and fifth graders along with seeing how the students were able to become more independent through the teacher who promoted this growth. I learned a lot from this teacher in how to treat the students as more of adults with greater responsibilities since they were the oldest kids in the school. One thing that I was curious about was how that I noticed that the fourth graders seemed so much younger than the fifth graders. The fourth grade reading class was a lot more disruptive with students not willing to raise their hands and not willing to cooperate with the teacher all the time, yet, the fifth graders seemed very eager to please the teacher and be on their best behavior. Maybe this was because the teacher treated them like they were adults.

Field Blog 6: Third Hour

For my third hour at Millridge Elementary School I was with the same teacher that I sat in with during my first hour but with a different subject. The same teacher was now teaching Social Studies to a different class. In this class there were approximately 25 students, 5 of which were autistic. Before the class started the teacher pulled me aside and informed me that the autistic students can be disruptive and yell out in the middle of class or cry. This made me curious as to how the teacher can handle the students acting up while the rest of the class is trying to learn. I was able to witness this first-hand, though, as one of the children started crying and shouting because he could not find his homework sheet. One of the newly hired “special” teachers, “Miss T”, who was assisting the social studies teacher went over to this autistic child and got him a new homework sheet. Several more times throughout the class, this same child would act up and start shouting. Eventually I noticed that “Miss T” was losing her temper and she began raising her voice to the student which caused all of the other children to lose focus as well.

I was shocked by this experience and witnessing “Miss T” losing her patience with someone who clearly needed more than what she was willing to offer. Another thing that I noticed about this new “special” teacher was that she quite often conflicted with the actual social studies teacher in that the actual teacher would announce something for the class to do and then “Miss T” would go to the front of the room and give instruction as well. This quite often conflicted with what the actual teacher wanted done and she would have to correct “Miss T”.

Overall, my third hour at Millridge was very informative and I learned a lot on how I should behave in a classroom as a first year/student teacher- there are certain lines that should not be crossed with the actual teacher of the class and these boundaries should have been discussed with “Miss T” to begin with to avoid confussion for the students.

Clinical

On Thursday, Olivia and I taught the class for the second hour. Getting up in front of the class made me very nervous at first but as the lesson continued it seemed to get easier and easier to speak in-front of the class. One thing that I noticed was that it was very easy to talk about the readings that we did for the presentation because we studied the chapters page by page and then discussed them together. After that, we put the most important information from each page on the slides.

When we passed out our curriculum sheets for our activity, I noticed that it was hard to keep the class focused on the task at hand. This left me curious as to how to keep students focused when working in groups. Also, when we showed our brief video at the end of our presentation I noticed how most of the students lost focus again. I wonder if this is because class was coming to an end or if it was because it was a video allowing the students’ minds to wander. When preparing to share this video I was encouraged because it was under five minutes long and I believed that it would engage the students, but I was incorrect.

Teaching the class was a wonderful experience which allowed me to see what it will be like to form a lesson plan for my future classroom. I was fascinated by the fact that our lesson plan ended up lasting exactly the time length that it needed to and that we were able to adjust to fit the time requirement as we were presenting while still covering the material. I enjoyed presenting to the class and I look forward to one day teaching a class of my own!

Field Blog 5: Second Hour

TE

During my second hour at Millridge Elementary School I sat in on a reading class with a teacher that I had when I was in fifth grade at Millridge. Similar to the previous classroom that I sat in on, the teacher encouraged students to think for themselves. When the students had questions about their reading or what they were writing the teacher would remind them to “Think about it…”. I noticed that the students were very attentive to the teacher and very eager to please her- they always would raise their hands politely without shouting out answers. After the students read on their own they were encouraged to share their writing on the stories with their peers. The students really seemed to like this because it allowed them to talk with their friends while still staying focused since they were expected to turn-in their peer reviewed papers at the end of their meeting time.

At the end of the class period the teacher allowed the students to sit on the rug at the back of the classroom for their daily reading of the book “Tuck Everlasting”. This reading corner was nice in that it had pillows, chairs, and blankets for the students to rest on while she read to them. Having a reading corner like the one that this teacher had was a great idea because it made the students very eager to pay attention and listen since they were allowed to lounge around. Also, while the teacher was reading she would stop every few pages and ask the students a question to make sure that they were still paying attention while at the same time understanding everything that was going on. One good thing that I noticed about the reading corner was that the teacher had sign-ups for who would get the comfy chairs or the pillows. She explained to me that each student would get a chance to be in the comfy chair and on the pillows at least once a week. This promotes sharing while at the same time it keeps conflict at bay. I really enjoyed sitting in on this classroom and the teacher seemed very enthusiastic about her work with the students.