Reflection #8

It is hard to believe that I began my field placement eight weeks ago at Lumsden Elementary School in the grade eight classroom. I was incredibly lucky to have an amazing cooperating teacher and class. My cooperating teacher was very helpful, insightful, and always provided valuable feedback to make me a better teacher and facilitator. The students were welcoming and respectful every week that we were in the classroom, whether it was during our lesson plan, or even just greeting us in the hallway. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience for my field placement.

Today Miss Stork and I had the opportunity to teach a physical education class to both the grade seven and grade eight class. Seeing as it was our last day at the school for the semester, we decided it would be fun to participate in the games. For the grade eight class, we played “Fitness War Ball” which the students seemed to have a lot of fun with. The object of the game was to knock over the other teams’ pins before they knock over yours. Miss Stork and I played on opposite teams, which made it quite eventful seeing as we are both fairly competitive. It was nice seeing all of the students participating and being involved. Many of the students expressed how much fun they had in the class.

For the grade seven physical education class we played a game presented by two of our colleagues, Mr. Mack and Mr. Schienbein, in our EPE class. The game was called “Pillar Ball” and the students seemed to have a lot of fun. This class has a lot of energy to burn, so it was a great game to keep them active and engaged.

Overall, the day was a perfect ending to our pre-internship. The grade eight class was kind enough to make us a potluck for lunch. The spread of food was amazing; there was everything from chicken wings, meatballs, taco salad, and a variety of desserts! It was incredible how much work the students went through to provide such a delicious lunch! The students also made cards for Miss Stork and I. It was fun reading through each of the students’ cards and seeing how much they valued the work we have done over the last eight weeks. I am going to miss coming to LES every week, but am looking forward to spending three weeks here next semester and gaining more experience.

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Week 7 Reflection

One more week to go! Today after the morning assembly I had the chance to finish my social studies lesson from week. My PowerPoint on Chinese Immigration to Canada was cut short last week due to technology problems and a lockdown. It was interesting to see that the students knew about the Chinese Head Tax, but had not heard of the Chinese Exclusion Act. To finish the lesson, I posed the following questions to the students: Do apologies and cash payments make up for the inequalities that the Chinese-Canadians faced? If there was more time I would have had the students write a response to this question.

I also handed back the Family Privilege letters the students made today. I was impressed with some of the insights the students made in their letter. One student wrote about how people with family privilege are often invisible to it because they have been exposed to it their whole life, but those without family privilege are aware that it exists.

Today, Miss Stork and I co-taught a double mathematics lesson. The two grade eight classes at LES combine for math and are put into groups based on their cognitive level. We taught our group about sales tax. We had a PowerPoint to explain PST and GST and went over that PST is exempt from certain items. After completing a few example of how to calculate sale tax, the students partook in the “Shopping Game” that we created. Each student was given a shopping list and had to go around the room to find the item, the price, and calculate in GST and PST if applicable. The students really seemed to be engaged during this game. Our cooperating teacher even commented that she thought it was the quietest the class has ever been! Another strength of our lesson plan was that we had the students who finished early, partner up to go over their answers. This kept the students occupied.

I cannot believe we only have one more day at LES for this semester. I have grown so much over the semester and cannot have asked for a better class or cooperating teacher. I am looking forward to teaching my final lesson next week and having a potluck with the class!

Week 6 Reflection

Spirit day, technology problems, and yet another lockdown drill…day six of pre-internship is complete! Today was “dress as a character from a book” day so Miss Stork and I went as Katniss and Peeta from the Hunger Games. Our costumes were a hit as most of the students referred to us by our character names all day. I was supposed to teach a social studies lesson based on immigration. More specifically, I focused on Chinese immigration to Canada during the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway. I was looking forward to teaching this lesson because I was going to test out socrative. I made a socrative quiz on the push and pull factors of immigration for the set of me lesson. Miss Stork and I did a social studies lesson on this a few weeks ago and I wanted to see how much of the content the students remembered. I learned that the school does not have wifi for the students so we had to move to the computer lab. Once the students entered the room code, the quiz went well. I was gladly surprised how much the students remembered.

After the opening socrative quiz, the lesson went haywire. I had a YouTube video on Chinese immigration to British Columbia. However, the surround sound speakers would not work, so I had the students watch the videos individually on their computers. The problem with this was that the speakers barely worked so the students could hardly hear the video. After the video, I had a PowerPoint presentation. I think I was two slides into the presentation when the school went into a lockdown. Miss Stork and I have now experienced two lockdowns; one evacuation lockdown where we had to leave the school, and one in-school lockdown. The lockdown lasted about twenty minutes, which took up the rest of my lesson. So, all in all my less plan did not go as I had planned.

I think today was a perfect example of how teaching is about rolling with the punches! My cooperating teacher mentioned in my feedback how well I thought on my toes and problem solved quickly. I had to change the direction of my lesson plan multiple times today. First, there was no wifi, no speakers, and no access to YouTube for the students. In a sense, there were a lot of positives that came out of my lesson plan. Even though it was crazy, I think it was a good insight into the world of teaching!

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Week 5 Reflection

It’s hard to believe we are already at week 5! Time flies when you’re in the classroom. This week I taught Health. Currently, the students are working on a unit about families (family abuse, roles in the family, family privilege, etc.). This tied in last week with my arts education lesson on white privilege. I took the concept of white privilege and linked it to the concept of family privilege. Since I knew the students understood the idea of white privilege as something that often goes unnoticed, I tied this concept to family privilege. I was pleased with the connections the students made my lesson from last week.

I began the lesson with a short game to help the students distinguish between a right and a privilege. I read a number of short statements that either represented a right or a privilege. If the student believed it was a right, they were to raise their hand. If they believed it was a privilege, they were to stand. This activity went well because it initiated a lot of talk about what makes something a right and what makes something a privilege. This discussion led into what the students believed the definition of family privilege was.

After we discussed the idea of family privilege, I read a selection to the class called, Growing Up Without Family Privilege. Coincidentally, the students had started this article the previous Health class. The article starts with a short biography of a young boy who grew up without Family Privilege. The selection then goes on to explain what family privilege is and distinguishes between those who have family privilege and those who do not.   After the reading, the students had five questions to answer independently. After discussing the questions as a class, I handed out the assignment sheet and quickly went over it before the end of the class. My cooperating teacher is going to continue on with the assignment next Health period. The students will have to write a letter to themselves, explaining why they have family privilege. You can take a look at the assignment sheet below!

All in all it was a good day. I had the chance to video the rest of the students white privilege puzzle pieces, so I am looking forward to putting the video together in the next week!

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Week 4 Reflection

This week I taught my first Arts Education class and was nervous to say the least. I would not say that art education is my strong point, so I struggled with what to teach the students. The biggest struggle I had with creating this lesson was how to create a project that could be explained an executed in one class. Most projects in arts education require a certain time span to be carried out. Since grade eight arts education is focused on social issues, I decided to focus my lesson on white privilege. This was a daunting task because first of all, the topic itself is complex, I do not even know everything there is to know about white privilege, and I only had once class period to execute my plan. With that being said, I believe the lesson went well.

I began my lesson simply by asking the class if they had ever heard of white privilege and if so, what they believed it meant. I was surprised at the number of students who had some previous knowledge about this topic, as I expected none of the students to have heard of it before. I played Macklemore’s song, “White Privilege to open the discussion. I also handed out the students a copy of Peggy McIntoshe’s article, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” to give the students examples. The final project was for the students to write an example of white privilege on their puzzle piece (a handout that was given to them) and provide an illustration that symbolized the example they wrote. I was impressed with how much the students were engaged during this project.

My idea is to create a classroom video on white privilege with the students holding their puzzle pieces and stating their example of white privilege. I have recorded some of the students that finished today and the other students were assigned the project for homework. I am hoping to record the rest of the students next week and create a video on white privilege. Teaching a lesson on social justice can be discomforting and challenging, but it is also very rewarding. My cooperating teaching commented on the fact that this concept could be transformed into a “thought provoking art project” and is a great “springboard for so many ideas”.

As far as my target for the week, I think I did relatively well with giving directions. My goals were to have handout that clearly explained the assignment, have the students repeat the directions, and address questions to the entire class. All three of these goals were accomplished and the students were always on task, which indicated they understood the project. I am already looking forward to next week!

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Week 2 Reflection

This was the first week of teaching my own lesson to the grade 8 class at Lumsden Elementary School in the grade eight class. The subject I taught was English Language Arts and the focus was on writing. I chose an outcome that dealt with viewing, reading, and responding to texts that deal with social responsibility, self-efficacy, and building a better world. The set of my lesson plan included a Kid President video that the students found humourous, but also understood the important message that he was expressing. In simple, they began to formulate the idea that social responsibility deals with being a kinder person, and being a positive citizen that thinks about their actions. My cooperating teacher was impressed with how well I remembered the students names as well the use of Poll Everywhere that allowed the students to text in their responses to the questions.

During my development I read a book to the students that talked about being a “bucket filler”. One area I could have improved was my transition between the book and the letter poem activity. Instead of verbally explaining the activity, I would have gone over the definitions of what it means to be socially responsible, have self-efficacy, and create a better world. Then I would have provided my students with an example of a letter poem or typed up an explanation of how to create a letter poem. This was part of the feedback my cooperating teacher gave back to me.

My cooperating teacher commented on how well I circulated the room and suggested that I move some groups that were not on task when writing their poems. I think I will feel more comfortable being more authoritative each week I am in the classroom. The closing to my lesson ran fairly smoothly. I allowed students to share their poems with the class and reflected on the theme of the lesson. There was one minor incident where a student shared his work and never actually created a poem, but instead was trying to entertain the class. After hearing feedback from my cooperating teacher, I feel I handled this situation in a fairly good way.

Throughout the day, I was able to understand the dynamic of the classroom and also how our cooperating teacher keeps classroom management. I think it is important to create a positive relationship with the students where they respect me and I respect them. By doing this I think it is important to allow for chaos when work is being completed, but still maintaining authority over the class. Next week I will be co-teaching a social studies class and a physical education class.