Friday, December 5, 2014
Today was my last visit at Moreland Hills Elementary! When I walked in, the students were creating a large map of their classroom with sheets of construction paper in their groups as a fun last activity of the day. The kids then were told to clean up all the paper and return to their seats. After this, Mrs. Newman told me I was the "desk inspector" for the classroom and if they student did not clean out the inside of their desks and wipe down the outside, they would not be permitted to use their iPads before Music class. Each kid quickly cleaned up their stuff and began to play their online games. Mrs. Newman had to go to a meeting at the end of the day so she asked me to watch over everyone while she was gone. It felt unusual to be the only adult in the classroom and the only one in charge. The kids listened to me very well when I told them it was time to stop playing and get in a single file line for their next class. Mrs. Newman told the students this was my last day here so I received many hugs and goodbyes which made me feel excited that they actually enjoyed my presence in their classroom over the past few months. Lastly, Mrs. Newman told me that she appreciated my help and encouraged me to come back for more experience whenever I needed it. I was very grateful to spend my first observation experience at Moreland Hills Elementary and I would be thrilled to go back! I truly enjoyed and learned from the whole experience.
On my second to last field experience, I met Mrs. Newman and her class in the gym for a pep really. They had Cosi visiting their school that day so after the pep rally, the students were allowed to go throughout the gym and look at 9 stations of different things they learned about at the pep rally. Some stations were about eating the right food and how it affects the body. Others were about body parts and how exercise raises your heart rate. One station displayed the largest man in the world and allowed the students to compare their wingspan, foot size and hand size to his. I was instructed to walk around and make sure the children were somewhat calm and respectful at each station. I helped them with picking out the healthiest food they would need for a proper meal and watched as they then made a plate of their own. The kids found the stations very informative and really enjoyed walking around. After this event, we all went back upstairs and the kids had to pack up their belongings before they went to Art class.
Monday, December 1, 2014
On the day before Thanksgiving break, Mrs. Newman allowed me to come in for longer than usual so I could actually help her with a lesson. After the children got back from lunch, they had to take their timed test and see if anyone was qualified to move up to a harder test. Most the children that practiced and knew what they were doing excelled and some children still struggled with answering every question. Following the test, the children were asked to take out their math packets and I was asked to sit at the front with the students that needed help to assist them. I taught them how to add and subtract large numbers without actually counting it out. I felt very excited that Mrs. Newman allowed me to actually teach the kids and I learned how I would go about helping my future students. Next, the students gathered around the carpet to play a game about pioneers. I helped the kids read what was on their cards and taught them how to play the game. I thought this was a fun way to get every child involved and force them to pay attention to what everyone else was saying. After I assisted each student to get comfortable reading aloud what was on their card, everyone seemed to be having fun. I learned that not everyone can read at the same rate and some words are more challenging than others so being patient is key. Lastly, Mrs. Newman read a book to calm everyone down before we helped them to clean out their desks and straighten up the classroom before the school day was over.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Upon walking in to Mrs. Newman's second grade classroom, every student was quiet and attentive at their seats. They were working on a math packet and answering questions together as a class. Hanging from the ceiling, there were many decorations from Halloween and now for Thanksgiving. When I sat down, I was asked to grade the student's math time tables. Some children were working on their addition, some subtraction and some multiplication. Mrs. Newman explained that if they received higher than an 85% on their test, they could move up a level to the harder questions. After checking each paper, I then had to enter their grades into the grade system. After the math lesson, the students were asked to take out their packets about the US. They had to cut out each map they filled out and then glue them to colorful pieces of paper. Some students needed assistance cutting and putting the paper in the right spot so it was my job to walk around and help them. Today it seemed as though everyone, including Mrs. Newman, was tired and not in the best mood so the students weren't very focused towards the end of the day. After the students finished pasting, they were asked to clean up every piece of paper and glue stick and return to their seats. Mrs. Newman began counting down to alert the students their desks needed to be spotless and they needed to be seated. I feel like this tactic always works because the children never want to know what happens after 0. That is something I will definitely do when I am in charge of my own classroom. Lastly, the students then packed up their belonging and I walked with them down to their special of the day, which was art.
Friday, November 7, 2014
My time in this class has really made me think deeply about what I need to do in my future classroom. Through the helpful books we have read, I understand that not everyone is the same and although it may not be easy, I have to learn to provide for everyone's needs. I also learned how crucial it is to "build a bridge" for students at a young age so they are well prepared for their next school year. I really enjoyed the group projects we completed becaue I feel that they allowed me to get closer to other students with the same viewpoints as me. Working with other students also gave me better ideas and made me think of things I had never thought of before. I see now what is important to enforce in order for children to grow as individuals. By observing classrooms on my own and with the class, I have become even more excited to pursue this career path and learn more about how to create a good environment. I really like that we have the opportunity to visit other schools as freshmen because this allows us to see how things truly work and inspires us for our future classrooms. I feel that this class has truly prepared me for what is ahead with my own education and my future as well.
Thursday, November 6, 2014
Today we visited the Agnon School. I was very interested to see how the school worked since we were told that the school was based on art and the students were allowed to address their teachers by their first names. I was assigned to a kindergarten classroom along with three other students. When we walked in, the students were already starting and I noticed how colorful and cheery the classroom was. I noticed that each item in the room was labeled and there was a certain place for everything, which the students had access to. First Michelle, one of the teachers, started the kids out with a song that they sang and danced to until they sat down on one of their spots on the floor. After they were seated, she asked the students to write the weather, the day of school and the day of the week on the SmartBoard. She then had them repeat some songs to her first in English and then in Hebrew. I was very surprised to see how much these kindergartners knew. They then were allowed to wash their hands and find their morning snack but only after they explained, in Hebrew, where their snack came from and how it was made. She then had the students pray before opening their food. My question before this trip was how much discipline do these children receive if they are free to do mostly what they want and they are allowed to call their teacher by their first name? However, right when I got to the classroom I could see how well behaved these kids were! They were all very obedient and almost seemed too mature to be kindergartners. One thing I found extremely interesting was when a student wasn't doing what they were supposed to, one of the teachers would quietly go up to the student and ask "do you think that was a very good decision?" The student would then say no and immediately improve their behavior. I really liked that she did not yell at her students or punish them but rather question them to see if they realized their mistake. I learned that calmly approaching a situation can really work to help the child behave better, if you go about it the right way. I hope in my future classroom I can use this tactic to create a calm environment for my students. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at this school and thought their method of teaching was extremely effective. Although I was hesitant about how the school worked, I saw how bright and unique it made each student.
On Friday, Mrs. Newman thought it would be a good idea for me to come observe the classroom because it was Halloween. She stressed how crazy the children get and how busy it is at the school but she wanted me to see "how it really was." Before I even walked into my classroom, I could tell how wound up every kid was because later that day they would have a Halloween party and parade in the school. By the time I got there, kids were already starting to put their costumes on and they were running wild across the classroom. Mrs. Newman looked stressed and asked me to help dress the kids up in their costumes. Next, the children were told to sit down in their seats quietly before the parade started. They were then explained that they were to form a single file line and be very quiet or they were not allowed to walk. Mrs. Newman told me that each year on Halloween, every class got to walk down the hallways and outside around the school building to show off their cool costumes which I thought was a fun way to get some energy out. As we walked, the younger children looked in awe at the 2nd graders and complimented their costumes. Parents were even allowed to line the hallways and take pictures of their child as they walked by which made the school even more packed than it already was! Once we got outside, we saw all the other grades walking around and the students were allowed to briefly greet their other friends. Then, we went back inside and prepared for the party at the end of the day. The kids were told that there are three stations: the snack table, the craft table and the game area. Mrs. Newman asked me if I could be in charge of the game area, which I was thrilled to help. Some kids started snacking while some made little ghost figures out of tissues and lollipops while the others got paired up on the rug and prepared to mummify their partner. Each child was given a roll of toilet paper and the goal was to make the best mummy out of the group and then they could change stations. The children loved wrapping each other up and Mrs. Newman loved that they were busy. Even though the entire classroom was hectic and the kids were rambunctious, it did not drive me away from my desire of being an early childhood teacher. This experience showed me that some days, kids need a break to be a little crazy but it can be fun for the teacher too!