Sampling of JMS Reflections


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As part of my student teaching experience, I was required to keep a daily reflection journal. I have included a couple samples of my work here.

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Sampling of JMS Reflections

  1. 1. Natalie Sapkarov – Jefferson Middle School Student Teaching Reflection Journal Friday, August 21, 2009 Today was the first full day of school, and it felt like we had already been there for half the school year. It was definitely a whirlwind of a day. Kim and I did booktalks for three classes of honor students, which was exciting and terrifying. I’ve never done a mass booktalk for a class before, so it was a first for me. We each had about ten books, and we just went back and forth, which lasted about half and hour. Kim is great with thinking on the spot and describing the books in such a way that actually gets the students interested. We talked after the first booktalk, and she said I did a great job, but I know that I could have done better. Booktalks have never been my favorite thing to do, but I know that they’re a great way to get books into students’ hands. I’m good at reader’s advisory, but I do struggle with whole class situations. Hopefully, since I’ll be doing many more booktalks these next couple weeks, I will grow to feel more comfortable with and confident about them. But as of right now, I have a headache and am glad it’s the weekend. Kim and I also talked about sixth grade library orientation which will be starting bright and early Monday morning. We decided to do the orientation together – she’s going to start it off with general rules and procedures, and I will follow up with a scavenger hunt. I created the scavenger hunt today, and I think it will go well. It consists of eight tasks for students to do in order to familiarize themselves with the library. I tried to hit each section of the library so that students could really get a feel for the space. We’ll see how it goes! I think that I will have to preface the activity with some rules just to avoid a chaotic situation, but otherwise, I think it will be fun. I’m also planning on taking over the full orientation sometime later in the week whenever I feel ready. Kim has definitely let me jump right in there and do just about anything I want. It’s a little overwhelming, but I appreciate it. Monday, August 24, 2009
  2. 2. Natalie Sapkarov – Jefferson Middle School Student Teaching Reflection Journal What a fast-paced day! We had just about every period booked today; three classes of sixth grade students and three of eighth. For the sixth grade students, Kim did a quick library orientation with rules and procedures, while I gave them a visual tour of the library (they stayed in their seats while I moved around) and led a library scavenger hunt, which I created. It’s nice having three classes in a row because I found myself changing the way I introduced and led the scavenger hunt based on the successes and failures of the class before. I loved this activity because it allowed students to move around and explore the library for the first time, and even though they were “on the hunt,” I think it helped them get a better feel for the library. If I could, I’d have a “move around” component to all of my lessons because there’s so much to be gained from using the library as a space. It gives students not only a sense of place (this is where I go to get this kind of book), but it also allows them the freedom to explore. The eighth grade classes only came in for half a period in order to check out books, so I roamed around and helped students find books – by far, my favorite part of the job. However, I did notice that I’m not quite as in touch with middle school books as I thought I was. They are a bit younger than all of the YA literature I’ve been reading recently, so I’m going to have to research that a bit more. I think there is a real jump from children’s literature to YA, and although I’m not crazy about adding another label to books for middle school students, I think there does need to be a better awareness about the books that are appropriate for this age group. But the maturity levels of students in middle school vary so greatly that I don’t know how to even begin doing this. How do I ask a student what book is appropriate for him/her? Tuesday, August 25, 2009 Another full day of classes. The morning started out a little rocky – Kim went to a class to do booktalks (rather unexpectedly), and I stayed in the library for sixth grade orientation.
  3. 3. Natalie Sapkarov – Jefferson Middle School Student Teaching Reflection Journal However, they arrived so late into the period that I barely had time to go over rules and procedures before it was time for them to find books and check out. We were supposed to have a class in second period, but I waited around and no one showed up. Then, we had two classes come in third, and well, it was chaos. We finally got the schedule figured out with the teachers after third, so the afternoon went a little more smoothly. I was on my own for much of the day – Kim was running around the school doing booktalks, while I stayed in the library doing the same. Except for first period, we had all seventh grade classes in today. I found myself running around doing reader’s advisory and hitting mind blocks way too many times. It’s not easy switching gears from “something like Lord of the Rings” to “something realistic, like about school, with a boy main character” to “something good.” But I was pleasantly surprised to find that nearly all of the books I booktalked were checked out that same period, which is a good and bad thing – good because that means students are interested in the books I choose, but bad because then I have to find new books to booktalk to the next class! I made a rule for myself that I would only booktalk books that I’ve read and enjoyed, but I think I may have to break it soon because I’m running out of books. I think it is important to be familiar with a book in order to talk about it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I have to have read it. If I read the summary and a few reviews, that should be enough for a decent booktalk. But at that point, I may run into trouble when a student asks if I’ve read it – which is why I’d like to hold on to my rule as long as possible!