How did observing affect your aspirations to teach?After observing in Mrs. Skeesuck’s classroom Idefinitely want to continue my pursuit ofteaching. I would be lying if I told you I wasn’tnervous when I first entered the classroom atProspect Elementary. However, the teacherwas very welcoming and the students excitedto get to know me. It is easy to talk about thejoys of teaching, but the students really made ita fun experience. I loved seeing the studentsget excited about learning new things, andexude joy at expressing their knowledge.
What style of classroom management did the teacher follow? Was the system of rewards/punishment effective? Mrs. Skeesuck had a real sense of of Kounin’s “withitness” She used a mix Classroom Management techniques, but most of the time her approach focused on Behavior Modification and Group Process The first week of school she placed the students into groups of 4-5, and the objective was for each group to come up with a list of ten rules/behaviors that would be suitable for the classroom. Then the groups would create a poster displaying their rules and present the list to the class. This exercise was a great example of creating an environment of cooperation, and allowed the students work together to reach a common goal. The exercise was effective in that it utilized group discussion and pair-and-share, as well as, allowing the students to think about their role as an individual in maintaining a well- functioning group environment.
Classroom Management (continued) The “teacher’s pet” was a new student every day, and based upon extraordinary work or lesson interaction. She emphasized added perks, and responsibilities of the “teacher’s pet”, such as being able to line-up first for recess, and passing out worksheets, respectively. The above example is a great way to reinforce appropriate classroom behavior, by rewarding the students that worked hard and stayed on task. I noticed that behavior modification could be used in subtle ways. Throughout the day she would use encouragement and comments, such as “great job everyone, you’re working so diligently and quiet”. Those types of comments promote hard work and are an example of subtle rewards a teacher can dole out for appropriate engaged learning time. Another aspect of behavior modification that Mrs. Skeesuck utilized was to remove a reward, when a student didn’t stay on task or complete a specific objective. For example, students that didn’t finish homework had to stay in and finish, while the other kids enjoyed recess. This is an example of systematically removing a reward, showing that with each action negative or positive there are congruent consequences. As soon as the assignment was completed they were able to join the others. Overall Mrs. Skeesuck was effective as a classroom manager, and although her approach was centered on group process and behavior modification, she utilized all of the approaches in some way. Knowing that each student functions and learns at a different level, I believe that an effective teacher must have a balanced approach to classroom management, and I will strive to do so when I get the opportunity to teach.
Example of an integrated formof curriculum used? One of the science lessons was on creating a closed circuit using batteries, wires, and small light bulbs Science: Students designed and tested an electric circuit as a closed pathway including an energy source, energy conductor, and an energy receiver. Reading: Students read about the inventor of electricity and light bulbs. Math: Students used math to find out how long ago light bulbs were invented. Vocabulary: Children were then able to define parts of an electrical circuit. Group Process: Students worked in groups to figure out how to close the circuit and light the bulb. Critical Thinking: After the lesson students should be able to predict ways to light a bulb.
How will you manage the diverse range of abilities you will face as a teacher? Although the school and classroom that I observed was not very ethnically diverse, I recognized that one component of the classroom, which is common to most classrooms, is the presence of a diversity of abilities, both cognitively and socially. Throughout my observations, I pondered how Mrs. Skeesuck was able to teach to all levels. She was effective at tailoring instruction so that the talented students who comprehended the subject matter would be engaged, while maintaining proficiency of the students who needed more guidance. This is an aspect of teaching that is very important, so that every student would have the opportunity and the drive to learn and become knowledgeable. Each student has their own unique set of strengths, weaknesses, and cognitive abilities, and through recognition of this fact, it is important to provide an array of instruction, presenting subjects in a variety of ways that reach across learning styles and abilities.
Use of technology? Mrs. Skeesuck was always cognoscente of the innovate uses of technology in the classroom and tried to integrate technology into many lessons. One such lesson was the use of an interactive Math website, pearsonsuccess.net, which allows the teacher to add students into a classroom roster and tailor various math exercises, assignments, and tests to the individual ability of the student. One day there was a planned school address by President Obama, in which via the Internet, gave a live address to the students. This was a great use of technology and a live video feed, allowing students, even at a young age to be introduced to political leaders and democracy in action. Although Mrs. Skeesuck didn’t have access to a document camera or interactive white board, I have seen these tools in action and they are a great way to maintain smoothness and momentum in a lesson plan. The use of technology in the classroom is very prevalent in today’s classrooms, and will probably be even more prevalent when I begin a career as a teacher. I believe that when technology, such as computers, television, websites, document cameras, etc. definitely are beneficial tools for the teacher and promoting academic learning when used at appropriate times.
How involved were your observations? Memorable Moment? Mrs. Skeesuck allowed me to be as involved as I wanted to be. Rather than just simply sitting back, observing her, and taking notes, she gave me the opportunity to work with individual students, groups of students, grading, and presenting my own lesson The most memorable moment for me came when she allowed me to prepare a lesson for Constitution Week (click on the link: Lesson Plan ). This was a stressful, but fun opportunity to teach the students about an important aspect of American History, while linking the laws that govern our society to the rules that govern the classroom. The lesson went fairly smooth, and the most important part was reflecting back on what I did well, and what I could have done better.
My “Constitution” Lesson Plan 1. Class Discussion The importance of the rules list, what did you guys do the first week and why? -Did you have to compromise to come up with a good list -So everyone gets along -Orderly classroom -Everyone can participate -Compromise to achieve goals Tie it into how the Constitution. That’s is exactly what the leaders in our country did over 200 years ago, in 1787. These leaders were called the Framer’s. Some famous ones were George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and James Madison. The Constitution has 27 amendments or rules for our country. 2. Read excerpts from the book: “A More Perfect Union” 3. Then do a “stop and sketch” -Divide a piece of paper into 4 quadrants. -Draw a quick representation of what that section of the book means -Turn to your elbow partner and quietly talk about their sketches, and the book. 4. Hand out the Preamble Word Worksheet (30 copies) 5. Review Vocab Words: -Preamble: the introductory statement of the U.S. Constitution, setting forth the general principles of American government and beginning with the words, “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union. …” -America: Our country. -Justice: The principle determining correct conduct, and fair consequences. -Tranquility: Peacefulness. Everything is calm and orderly. I bet Mrs. Skeesuck loves a tranquil classroom. -Liberty: Freedom/Independence -Blessings: A special gift. Something that is good. -Constitution: The way something is made up. The document that our founding fathers created to form the U.S. government. -People: You and I. Americans. -Welfare: The good fortune, health and prosperity of the American people -Posterity: The group of future generations to come. -Union: Togetherness. A group of states or nations united into one political body, as that of the American colonies at the time of the Revolution. -Tell kids to pay close attention to the Preamble song, especially the second time through to fill out their worksheets 6. Wrap-up: Play School House Rock video: “Preamble”