October 24, 2018
Today at my placement Brenden and myself decided that we would co-teach a science lesson on water filtration for the first time. They started their morning as usual, with independent reading. They then moved into their adventurer lesson. This was a fun activity, they started by reading a portion of a play out of their Crossroads textbook. They were split into the groups and they were to turn it into a radio play. They were to go and practice reading it out loud and create the sound effects to make it believable. They were asked to record a rough draft and listen back to it to see how it sounded before the end of the class so they would know what to work on for the next class. It was interesting to see how the group dynamic was. It was a play with 2 male and 2 female characters but the group I was monitoring was 4 boys. They didn’t want to read for the girl characters. One of the boys who had been goofing around got frustrated and left the classroom at one point. The others were able to pick up the slack and really pull together a great performance.
After recess, it was time for our lesson. They had been covering a water unit and we decided to cover water filtration because we thought that having an experiment would engage the students. We had prepared all of the materials at recess and had all of the necessary papers on the back counter when the class came inside. Once they had settled down we had them read sections of their Science 8 textbook that covered the Indigenous people’s connection to water and water pollution which helped us transition into the idea of water filtration. We let the class pick their groups (4-5) and then had one group member grab the materials they would need, while another grabbed the data collection sheet and the instruction sheet.
After watching the video on how to build the filter they went to work. We had 2 variations of the experiment and each group was supposed to try both methods and compare the two. We circulated around the classroom giving support when needed. We also made sure to ask questions that would hopefully prompt deeper thinking. I think that this experiment was successful, I had a group of students who decided to come up and have a discussion during lunch. They asked how this crude filter could be used in real life. We then connected the idea to the book “Hatchet” by Gary Paulsen. If by chance the students were stranded and needed to clean drinking water they could potentially use a variation of this filter. It was very interesting to hear how they would use materials around them to build the filter (ex. Shirt/sock instead of a coffee filter, sand from the banks of the water source etc.). It was reassuring to hear these connections being made by students that often are not engaged in class.
October 18, 2018
This morning we wrote our ESST midterm. We worked together in groups to discuss the different pedagogies that could be used within the classroom:
- thematic approach
- children’s literature
- role-play and simulations
- primary sources
- visual and performing arts
- field studies
- field trips
We filled out the chart together and then spent the remainder of the midterm answering reflection questions individually. I really learned a lot from my group and I discovered a lot about myself as a learner and an educator. I learned that I learn best through hands-on experiential lessons when I had always assumed I learned best through text. Because of this, I am more inclined to use more experiential learning techniques within my own classroom because I find that more students connect to it.
I, unfortunately, missed the majority of the afternoon, I had a medical emergency that required me to go to the hospital. I returned by the end of class but I was not very focused so I did not retain much information. It will have to be supplemented through independent study at home and through discussion with my peers.
October 17, 2018
Today I shared a lesson on healthy relationships. They had recently been discussing the different types of relationships. This subject was a very sensitive topic for me to cover. However, I felt that it was important that I cover it for the benefit of my students and I let them know at the beginning of the class that the classroom was a safe space and anything they chose to share was not going to leave this classroom. They were also advised that this was to be taken seriously and that no disrespect would be tolerated. I had prepared a Kahoot! for the students to play to assess what they already knew about healthy relationships. They had never used it before so we took some time to familiarize them with the program. After each question, we took time to further discuss what the question was asking taking time to talk about (types of abuse, signs of abuse, where to find support etc.). At the end of the class, they were reminded that any information shared was not to be taken to the playground, I advised them that I would be staying in the classroom through the lunch hour and staying after school if anyone felt that they needed someone to talk to. I also let them know of different resources throughout the school and community that they could access if they felt they needed support. Overall it was a good lesson, the students really enjoyed the Kahoot! They asked if they could play it again. However, if I were to do this in the classroom again I would book the chrome books. Them using their personal devices became difficult to monitor at times, and a few got off track.
October 11, 2018
Today we discussed resources that could be used within the classroom. Our instructor shared her own personal experiences of when she was called a “dangerous educator”. My interpretation of her stories was that many of her colleagues considered her dangerous because she gave the students back their power when up to that point they had been powerless. They took charge of their own learning and were then able to take pride in their own work. She found that by doing this the kids had a purpose, their attendance improved and they were more engaged in class and school activities because she made sure to find things that were appropriate and exciting for the students. She sought out support and guidance from her local community members and elders and remained humble throughout the process. That is the kind of environment I hope to be able to provide for my students. I want them to have a voice, and not be afraid to use it. I hope that they will be engaged and excited to learn the lessons I have prepared, not just because it is something they have to learn but because it engages their educational needs. We finished the class by looking at different resources that she had used in her own classroom and projects that her students had completed. We then used our lunch hour to watch Smoke Signals together as a class.
October 10, 2018
Today, I decided to attempt to teach an art class. I assumed it would be an easier first lesson to teach with my new class but I was wrong! What I failed to realize was that the lesson I was teaching was slotted for the last hour of the day. Most of the students were unfocused and unwilling to participate at that time. I had prepared puzzle pieces for each student to complete. The idea was that the puzzle piece was supposed to be a representation of their personal identity. While a few of them really put a good effort into the project many chose not to participate. Some students went as far as ripping up their puzzle piece or writing profanities on it. I found it really difficult to manage the classroom. The students did not respond well to me today so I will have to approach it differently next week. When I asked them to stay on task many would continue talking or leave the classroom altogether, the classroom teacher did have to assist with a few of the more difficult students. After they were done their piece they were to cut them out and hand them in. While they waited for their classmates to finish they were to read their books independently. When everyone was done I let them know that I would be taking the individual puzzle pieces and putting them together. We then had a short discussion about some of the similarities and differences between the pieces. We then talked about how each individual piece is a part of a larger whole or community. I would use this lesson again however, I would not approach it with this type of class, there was too much going on and it became to difficult to manage. By the end of the day, I had a student get frustrated when asked to put their markers away and they decided that instead of talking about it they would take all of their markers and draw all over their face. I was at a loss for words at that point. I had never experienced this type of behaviour from a grade 8 class, so I hope it gets better over the next few weeks.