Student Teaching Reflection Week 1: January 7th - 11th

Here we Go!
Monday -
          First day of student teaching! Mornings are super quick, students place bags/coats away and then sit down while my mentor teacher takes attendance. She writes down those who are not here and then crosses them off as they walk in. Then it's the morning announcement on video (completed by students) and the pledge of allegiance. Students head to the back of the room for morning meeting while she enters the attendance in power-school. When finished, she joins the students in the circle.
Today, is the first day back from break, so the fifth grade team decided to opt out of reading intervention today that begins right after morning meeting. Instead, my mentor teacher used this time to reconnect with students and remind them of classroom expectations. They updated their behavior matrix (live in Google Docs) that they made during the first week of school.
        Off to specials for the students, through the week the fifth grade team meet with one another, with the instructional coach, or plan/prepare for lessons.
        Teacher lunch is 45 minutes, with students lunch and recess paired together. I felt like I had more than enough time to eat and regroup before the students returned. My mentor teacher stated that she alternates between being sociable in the teacher lounge and working in her room.
        At the end of the day, they wrap it all up in their agendas. All of the students write what my mentor teacher places up on the board while they discuss what they learned that day. Report cards are done and are sent home today, in addition my letter of introduction is sent home to families.

What I Wore Day 1

Things To Do:

  • Schedule Card for Name Tag
  • Make Classroom Seating Chart
  • Demographic Form
  • What is the WiFi password?
  • How do you plan your grammar lessons? Using Wonders or your own?
  • May I have a set of textbooks and/or digital access?
  • What are the roles of paras in your class? What interactions do you have with them?
Tuesday -
       I just love morning meetings! The students are led by a selected student {leadership role} he or she chooses how they will greet one another then each student participates by saying “good morning _________ and then the student replies good morning ________ and then says it to their neighbor. This goes on until everyone has been greeted by their neighbor. Today, I planned on sitting down with them and two of the students said, “Mrs. Cullip, sit here!” (oh happy day) This was very beneficial in getting to know their names and observing their connections with one another. A question is asked by the morning meeting leader and each student shares the answer with his or her neighbor. Names are drawn by the stick picker and they share their answer with the entire class. A student stated, “Today is going to be a good day.” My mentor teacher replied, “Yes, it is (student name)” This is an option when students do not want to share their response or do not have one to share.
     Math was a pleasure to observe today as the students and teacher slowly went through a challenging question together. They spent the entire math block on one problem! Just like I was taught to do in my math methods class. The students were engaged and they were learning about how the numbers worked rather than what the answer was!!

What I Wore Day 2
To Do: 
  • Discuss Timeline of my 13 weeks in the classroom.
  • Add daily schedule to google calendar with notifications

  • How do you handle absences and missed classwork?

Wednesday -
      This morning, my mentor teacher and I met with my university supervisor. She took this opportunity to get to know us, bring us chocolate, and schedule my first two informal observations. January 22nd I will have my Domain 2 Informal Observation and January 29th I will have my Domain 3 Formal Observation. The times will be determined, as we discuss what lessons I will be teaching for these observations.
     During reading intervention, I will have my own small group. During this time, our focus is on reading comprehension. Each day, I read the same story with a different group of students. I found today to go more smoothly as I was fully aware of the story and questions before them. In future weeks, I will read the story ahead of time prior to working with the students.
    During math, I was able to assist a student with her question. After our discussion, she thanked me for taking the time to walk through the question with her and allowed her to make mistakes in order to find the correct answer. I was able to use strategies that I learned in my math methods class. This was a big win for me, remember my original focus when I returned to school was to become a para, as I did not want to complete the math requirements. Then, I leaned toward teaching English and Social Studies in middle school knowing that I would not have to teach math. 

What I Wore Day 3
To Do: 

  • May I complete a section of the weekly newsletter?
Thursday -
      During our planning/ prep period we had a 5th grade team meeting. During this time the five of us discussed upcoming field trips, our bulletin board requirements, recycling, Plan B, Istation testing, spelling bee, and morning duty.. Although it was short, I found it to be very informative. I am so thankful for having open communication with my mentor and the other team members. They have been very helpful to my adjustment of this new role in the classroom. I look forward to learning alongside them this semester.
      I need to remember that everybody learns differently and to remember that everyone perceives things differently. In addition, I need to stop and make sure that the student fully understands my instruction before walking away (even though they state that they understood). While assisting students with questions during individual work in math, there was a communication error between me and a student. Fortunately, I was able to return and assist her after she came up with the incorrect answer and we were able to determine where we both went wrong. The misunderstanding was cleared up and she was able to understand the correct steps to solve the problem and come up with the right answer.
After-school, we attended a 5th grade district meeting. This was a similar meeting to this morning; however, it included 1 to 2 fifth grade teachers from each elementary school. When I walked into the room, it was nice to see a few familiar faces from the IEA! During the meeting we discussed: Wonders testing performance and the resource Countdown to the Common Core; as well as how to best score multiple standards on assignments and assessments to assist us in grading and assist families with understanding the evidence that builds the case for their report cards. There was some bickering among some of the teachers; however, it was quickly cut off by a bit of positivity thrown into the conversation. It is nice to be able to vent for a moment, but a meeting should refrain from going down the negativity spiral. The focus turned to making things better even when there are certain aspects that cannot be changed or controlled. 

What I Wore Day 4
  • When is the next district teacher meeting? (I really found this helpful to my role and would like to attend if I can)

To Do:
Friday - 
     During planning time, we made copies for the following week. My mentor teacher makes sure she has most of the following week planned by this time to avoid “rush hour traffic” in the teachers lounge Friday after-school and Monday before school. I was able to use the electric hole puncher for the first time and I introduced my mentor teacher to my nerdy side when I squealed in delight with how cool it was
Friday schedules are different with no reading intervention to work on Leadership Notebooks (online websites through Google) and no math intervention to work on the 7 Habits and participate in Fun Friday! Today they were notified of their new AR Goal and they worked on their goals for the quarter.
In order for students to participate in Fun Friday they need to complete their work not graded though the week. This gives students extrinsic motivation to complete items such as group work, AR reading, remember to return Monday folders, etc..

What I Wore Day 5


How can I find more about Leader in Me?
What resources do we have to teach the 7 Habits to our students.

Next Week To Do:
Read through Domain 3 in Framework for Teaching
Plan the 15 minute Domain 2 Observation (Number Corner?)

Feet Up Friday - I made it through my first week!
Until next time ...

Praying Psalms 43

Read Psalm 43 on Bible Gateway

Free Me Jesus Keep me from these thoughts and these memories

My Jesus I am safe in your arms. Why do I feel so far away from you

Why do I wallow in bed surrounded by walls of gray?

Shine your light upon me

Put your truth in front of me Let them bring me out of this darkness

Let them guide me to you where I may fall upon your feet

There I will find the joy I will praise your name

Why am I so depressed? Why am I full of anxiety?

I will put my hope my faith and my love in Jesus

I will sing praises to Him once again forever my savior and my friend.

The Literacy Spot: Week One

I asked my mentor teacher to be able to add a piece to the class newsletter to continue family communication throughout my time in the classroom. I have created The Literacy Spot, weekly tips on helping their fifth graders with writing and reading at home.

How do you keep up communication with your students' families? Please let me know in the comments below.

Until next time ...

Relationships & Communication

Just like any relationship, the ones with our students, it should be based on open communication. Since, I have a short time with these students I feel as though this communication should begin as soon as possible.

This last December, I had the opportunity to meet my students before they headed into Christmas Break. At this time, I introduced myself and gave them the opportunity to ask me questions. Then, I passed out a student interest survey entitled A Few Things About Me (a free resource on Teachers Pay Teachers). Naturally, I printed them on red and green Astrobrights and offered them a candy cane once they completed them. This was a great conversation starter, my mentor teacher stated that she even learned a few things about her students.

Over break, I went through each of the surveys and began finding out about the students I will be teaching during my student teaching experience. Then, I created a Google Slide presentation, A Few Things About Mrs. Cullip which provides my personal answers to the questions, as well as a compilation of the students answers. It was neat to see how much they had in common and see what was unique about them.

This was a great activity to begin building relationships and provided me with an artifact for Charlotte Danielson's Domain 1b: Demonstrating Knowledge of Students. I am hoping to be able to share this presentation with the students. Giving them the opportunity to find out a little more about me and their classmates.
Out of the 21 surveyed on December 20th; 10 have a preferred nickname, 10 do not, and 1 has a nickname sometimes.

Top 5 responses: Pizza 17/21, Subway/ Sandwich 11/21, Ice Cream 6/21, Hamburgers 5/21, and Apples 4/21.
Top Responses: Play Video Games 10/21, Read 5/21, Play Outside 4/21, Play on my Phone 4/21, and Play Football 3/21.
Top Responses: Basketball 6/21, Soccer 5/21, Football 3/21, and None 2/21.
Top responses: Donate to people/kids that need money 7/21, Give it to my mom and dad/ family/ grandpa 4/21, and Buy a computer 3/21.
Top Responses: Sponge-bob 4/21, Simpsons 3/21, and The Meg 3/21
Top Responses: I do not know/ None/ Don’t Have One 5/21 [Challenge Accepted], Wonder 3/21, Dogman 2/21, and Big Nate 2/21. I have added these (and the others mentioned) to my to read list!
Top Responses: Honey Bee Blake Shelton/ Blake Shelton 3/21, Imagine Dragons/ Roots 2/21, and Do not have one 2/21.
Top Responses: Dogs/Puppies/Tea Cup Puppy 14/21, Cats/Kitten 8/21, and Dolphins 5/21.
Top responses: Eat in Class 2/21, Change School/ Improve School 2/21, No Work/ No Homework 2/21, and Video Games/ Video Game Room 2/21.
Top Responses: Spiders/ Huge Spiders 7/21, Dying/ Death 5/21, and Snakes/ King Cobras 4/21.
Favorite Answer: Jurassic Park, I know its not real. Top Responses: California 9/21, Mexico 5/21, Hawaii 5/21, and New York 5/21.

When I came in on my first day, I brought in an Introduction Letter to be sent home with the students. This is a great way to begin the conversation with the families that have entrusted their children for an education.

How do you build relationships with your students and their families? Please share in the comments below. Until next time ...

Praying Psalms 23

Read Psalm 23 on Bible Gateway 

Lord be my guide, my priorities, my needs, and my wants are not first in my life.

Help me find the quiet time each day

So that I may be restored and refreshed

that you lead me through my day

so that I may live a God- paced life

Life as a mom is hard

I may feel like I am in this all alone

I will not fear, I will not be weary, I will not grow tired

For you are my provider, for you are my strength, for you are my rock

This comforts me, I may not be well with my circumstances I am well within my soul.

You have prepared this day and my future before me.

You have given me all that I need to live the way you want me to.

As a mom, as a wife, you have given me more than enough so that I can give back to you, to my husband and my children and still have enough for me.

Thank you, Jesus, for your love and grace that is given to me each day of my life

I will abide in you simply and purely forever.