Tuesday, March 31, 2009

science questions

What did you learn about the teachers (yourself in particular as well as your cooperating teacher)?
Guiding question – how is your identity (your race, language, culture, worldviews, values, experiences, your strength and limitations, etc. etc.) shapes your teaching practice, and the way you interact with children and family? What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that as a teacher my view point is very dominant in my teaching. I believe in being organized and prepared and my coop teacher also held this belief. This was very evident when entering the classroom. It was very organized, there were clear routines, subject duotangs, book boxes and so many other practices that I would and will use in my classroom. I noticed that during my teaching I shared many of my travelling experiences and the things that I had seen and done. For example we were looking through a book about shapes and there was a diamond shape on a snake and we started talking about snakes. I talked about the snakes that I held and saw when I was in Australia. They really wanted to hear more about it so we went off topic for a bit. I think it is better to make the connections because these are the things that students remember.

I also learned that I can do it. I am so much more confident in my abilities to be a teacher. I used to be very confident in my abilities and was an excellent preschool and daycare teacher. Entering the third year all my confidence was thrown out the window. People are constantly saying that you can never reach every child, there are so many hats to wear, the first year of teaching is the worst, you have no life... all these thoughts are being put into our heads and you wonder why we are questioning our career paths. The focus needs to be changed to the good things about teaching. There are so many benefits. Seeing the growth and progress in children, constantly learning new things, exploring and creating, being up to date/current and collaborating with others. Being in a cohort, we have so many supports, friendships, and people to bounce ideas off of, it is great.

What did you learn about the learner?
Guiding questions – how did you consciously try to create a welcoming, safe, and inclusive learning environment for all children to be and to learn? What have you learned about your learners?

I learned that my students were all different. They have similarities but they have more differences. By recognizing this I was able to adapt my lessons and vary my teaching strategies to be inclusive of the students in my class.

What did you learn about the subject matter (particularly the science subjects)?
Guiding questions: what broad range of resources have you (and your cooperating teacher) drawn upon to plan for and to assist you in teaching the subjects? What teaching approaches have you tried and how did they impact students’ learning?

I didn't teach science in my preinternship, my teaching partner did. Resources can and do come from a variety of resources. They came from books, online, other teachers, and from past experiences. I was able to get resources from the university. Block manipulatives and tangrams played a huge part in my teaching and without the use of these from the university I would have had to alter my lessons competely. I also used a lot of the assessment and activities from the Math Makes Sense program. This program is excellent, there are so many good ideas and ways to assess.
I tried many teaching strategies. I used direct, experiential, questioning, leaning centers, individual, group, and indirect stategies. Thses worked well in my class. It kept me from being bored and it kept my students engaged. By varying my strategies I was able to connect with most intelligences and this created a better understanding for students in my class.

What else have you learned from this pre-internship experience?
I learned that I can do it, and I can do it well. I do not have to know everything as long as I am honest with my students I will be good to go.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Science Resource Package

I didn't feel prepared for this presentation. I felt this way mainly because I did not teach my unit. Rachel and Danelle both had the opportunity to teach their lessons and use the resources that they used. I had to find resources and I was not a hundred percent sure if they would actually work with my unit of not. I wasn't able to discuss what the students enjoyed and what worked or didn't. I really felt like I was at an unfair advantage. I know that I did the best that I could and I did a lot of research into different resources to include. But at the same time I felt like I didn't have as much to share.

My group worked really well together and we easiy agreed on what we wanted to do and how to get it done. We encouraged each other, helped each other, and bounced ideas off of one another. We had a great relationship.

I think our presentation as a whole was very successful, we treated our peers as professionals. This was important to us. So much of what we do in education we are pretending to be elementary students and this gets extremely tiring and annoying. I like learning strategies and ways to teach but it is nice being an equal some of the time.

Science Engagement Reflection

Well it has been awhile since I did my engagement activity...but here goes nothing. My engagement activity was skewering a balloon. I had some difficulties getting things organized in the morning, I assumed that there would be other people presenting the same day as me and I would go second. This wasn't the case and I had to scramble to get set up. I had a number of substance and objects to use with balloons. I wanted an activity that was inquiry based. So I gave the class the material and asked them to try and skewer the balloons after blowing them up. I had many hesitant partipants as they were scared the balloon would pop. Many of them did pop but many were successful. They each had their own theories about what substances worked and wouldn't work and experimented several times. I really enjoyed doing this activity. The best part was watching my peers faces as they tried to skewer the balloon... they were unsure if it would pop or not and would screw there faces up. I learned that inquiry based learning helps to maintain engagement. My peers were having a rough day maintaining attention and moved into discussing plans for the weekend and things that were going on. This was frustrating but at the same time I know that they are not in elementary school and this experience was aimed at that age level. Overall I think this experience went really well.

learning centers

My last two days of teaching I did learning centers. These went amazingly well with the exception of one boy, which was expected. I explained each of the centers and had them retell me what was going to happen at each center. Then I explained that when they go back to their table I want them to stand behind their chair and wait for me to say go. When the buzzer goes, after ten minutes, students need to put any sheets on the table and then hold their pencil in the air and wait for my instructions. Then students would rotate to the next table and I would say "go" and they would begin their next station. We rotated through three activity centers each day. Two of the six stations were performance based assessment stations. We assessed the math objectives for my geometry unit. This was such a great way to assess every student and keep all students engaged. The one boy that I had a few problems with has asbergers and was not in the class during instructions and came back half way through. So he was not aware of what was going on, he was okay the first day because he didn't have time to join in the centers. The next day I had to go to each of the centers with him after getting my group started. I had a lot of issues arise with him. The first of which was that he came to my group first and was mad, he took his pencil and broke it in half. Then he was all concerned with having a pencil that wasn't broken. The next station went well but the one after the pencil broke again. He started crying and I had to remove him and he had to sit on the carpet. When he calmed down I took him back to the table and he was good for the rest of the time. It was challenging but it was realistic. It was a good experience.
BubbleShare: Share photos - Play some Online Games.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

all done

I can't believe pre-internship is all done. It seems like it flew by, yet some of the days seemed like they would never end. Over the past week I finished off my unit and completed my evaluation of the students... I can't believe how difficult it is to distinguish between what is good and what is excellent.

I tried out activity centers and they were unbelievably successful and the students were very engaged. I set students up to succeed by setting out clear guidelines and directions and encouraged the behaviours that I was expecting. I have to say that I will definately be using learning centers in my future classroom.

My last day of school... I did not want to leave. All the kids were hugging me and saying that they will miss me. Karmen and I taught the whole day from morning to end. We did our evaluation and learning centers before lunch. After lunch we made fruit pizza and went to the gym. I loved the gym the best. I decided to play Dead Pirates, where they lay on the ground and try not to laugh or crack a smile. It was hilarious, I had one boy try and make the other person laugh by giving himself a wedgie... so funny.

I had such a positive experience and will take much of my experience with me into my internship and my teaching career.

I am however not looking forward to going back to classes and doing assignments that are not relevant to teaching in the field. When am I ever going to have 2 50 min. sessions with one child to read a book or have 5 people read one story to a class. I just don't understand why we are doing some of the assignments... it seems like busy work to me. There are many of us that would love to boycott them, but at the same time we would like to pass. I guess we are stuck doing them and will have to put in enough effort to get by.

Monday, March 16, 2009

science questions

1. What comes to mind when you hear the words "sustainable" or "sustainability"?
To me this means trying to make the earth's resources last for the future. The way people consume and waste; we are in serious trouble. I know that I am not completely environmentally friendly and there are things that I can do to improve but at least I am aware. There are so many people who don't have a clue and just use and use without any thought or regard.

2. What is your understanding of education for sustainability (ES)?
Teaching students that they need to recycle and try and make the world a better place. Spending time going over current issues and why they are important to our class and why we should care. Answering the questions does it really effect us? How does it effect us? What can we do? How can we do it? Can we really make a change? Taking on an action plan and following it through. Explore how we made a difference, even it it is just a small difference.

3. What's your understanding of the relationship between environmental protection and economic development? They are polar opposites. Environmental protection is trying to preserve what is left of the natural environment where as economic development is only interested in how much money they can make from a business or an industry. This question stirred up some comments from my grandpa and he reminded me that not all economic development is bad. I'm adding in his comments because I don't think that I can say it better... I always forget that this is his specialty, helping with enviromental economic development.

I am sorry but EP and ED are not necessarily ‘polar opposites’.
Of course it depends largely upon the definition of each that is used or assumed. Environmental protection (making money from it) has in itself become a huge industry and will grow rapidly as our knowledge and concern about the effects of industrial activity grows.

It is suggested that a new industry that creates employment, wealth, and is conducted in an environmentally sustainable manner could be developed to in fact protect the environment.

Examples could be:

Reforestation, the planting of trees to enhance water sheds, protect soil resources denuded by forest fires or industrial activity, enhance the visual/aesthetics of the area or region and provide habitat for wildlife including birds, game, fur and predators including men and women, create recreation areas and provide sources of wild fruit. In the full extension of this scenario, the forest created captures carbon while growing and may in the future, be harvested in an environmentally responsible manner to construct shelters for people that would have a smaller ‘foot print’ than the existing housing and use energy efficient technology to sustain the lives of the human element of that forest and region.

Establishment of an industry to build, assemble and market clean energy systems whether they be wind turbine powered electrical generators, run of the river turbines and generators or central/district heating systems to utilize waste biomass as feedstock or other waste heat sources as an energy source. Geothermal heat sources and systems can be included with this point.

Commercial fish harvesting is an industry that utilizes existing fish populations to harvest, assemble and distribute food for humans and animals. This can be done in an environmentally responsible manner that maintains the fish populations and may enhance the wild resource by modification of the fish populations, removal of some size classes and limiting populations of some species to have the water body produce a larger percentage of the more desirable sizes and species. This can be achieved while the water body sustains and maintains an active and desirable fish population to satisfy the recreational fishery, of course the recreational fishery must also be conducted in a sustainable manner and preferably the anglers would paddle or row their watercraft and thereby have good physical exercise that would help to maintain their health and not contribute through the burning of fossil fuels to environmental degradation.

4. What's your understanding of the relationship between human and nature? We are part of nature. Without nature and the environment we will not exist. I think there is so much unnecessary destruction of nature to allow for someone to have a huge mansion that they don't use half of the rooms in. So many things that are wrong with how our society views material things and doesn't think about the consequences of their actions.

5. What's your understanding of the relationship between "education for sustainability (ES)" and your professional work as a teacher? It is my job to be a positive role model, to be aware of current events and what is going on in my community, and to do professional research on the topics that I want my class to explore.

6. Do you plan to help your students develop an understanding of sustainable development when you become a teacher? Why, or why not? I think that you have to help students gain an understanding. Without this understanding nothing will change, we will continue to overconsume, pile up garbage, pollute the water and kill the earth with stuff that is not essential.

7. Feel free to share any other thoughts you have about the ESD topic.
I wish there was a way to make people be more responsible with what they waste and what they use.

flying by

Wow I can't believe we are in our last week. I am absolutely dreading going back to classes and assignments. After being in the field it makes so much of what we do seem inconsequential. I have learned so much working with my coop and my partner. I have become very comfortable in this classroom and with the routines of the day. Goes to show with an open mind and willingness to try you are open to possibilities.

I have really grown to love the students in my room and each them has their own distinct personality. I of course have some favorites but I do not let it show. One of the little boys came up to me last week and told me that he wished Karmen and I were his step mothers and that he loved me. It was so cute.

My coop has been great, she asked us what grade we were going to be in next year and she has made arrangements for us to go and visit those grades and get a feel for what those grade levels are like. This is such an amazing opportunity. At least I will not be going into internship and be blindsided.

We had the opportunity to go outside when it was warm out and go sliding and build snowmen, followed by hot chocolate and rice krispie cake.

This week is going to fly by but I am looking forward to doing some of my lessons that I have planned this week and trying out activity centers.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

intro lesson

My intro lesson was alot of fun... stressful but fun. I brought in a ton of boxes and Karmen and I spend recess taping up boxes and getting things ready for my lesson and then spent an hour taking them all apart. But as they say a picture is worth a thousand words so here are a few pics.


So much to do and so little time in a day!

Well going into the school the first few days I was still nervous and didn't know what was expected of me. Now... I am alot more comfortable. I am learning more about the students in my class and my coop teacher. I am learning so many new things and trying them out. I learned how to do benchmarking and dolch words for reading and will try my own guided reading group next week. I am also teaching my unit and it has changed so much that I will have two units when I am finished.

I have to say that I am finding many things that my coop teacher does that I will take with me and I know that there are many other things that I would do differently as well. But things are going much better than I anticipated. I am trying to be very open and observe the things that are happening within the classroom.

The last couple weeks of classes are being highlighted in my classroom. The Wong video is one of those things that I am finding to be highlighted the most. I believed that my classroom was very structured, and it is, but they are established routines. The students could perform them without the teacher present. The first 45 minutes of the day are all established routines and they know what happens during that time period. They also know what the signals are for different activities. When the timer goes off, how to get ready for lunch, etc.

I have also learned that praising is a very powerful classroom management tool. They want to do better to get chosen to do an activity. This is behaviourist but it works.