Pre-Internship Placement Reflection Day 1
Today, was my first placement day in the second grade. When I arrived the students were at recess, my Cooperating Teacher (CT) and I went over what the afternoon was going to look like. She stated that this would be a light day, as they have been very busy all week: Spelling test, Math test, and 2 reading tests. The bell rang and we retrieved the students from recess outside; the students were instructed to walk quietly in the hall and get to their seat when they entered the classroom. They are going over classroom procedures as they have a new student and this is the first week after Christmas break.
I observed the students completing a reading and engineering activity; before lunch they had read a story about bridges, now they are building their own bridges with legos. My CT stated that working with their hands and using the learned knowledge of the different parts of a bridge assisted the students with comprehension. Once completed, she made sure the bridge could support a paperback book and made sure each student could explain the purposes of their creations. After all students were checked, it was time for them to take them apart, put the legos away, and prepare for the following activity. Although they were headed to block, my CT had the students set out the materials required to complete their hockey player when they returned: scissors, colored hockey player sheet, and glue. Once all supplies were out she told them to line up and reminded them of the proper hallway procedure.
My CT and I picked up the pictures of the students she printed out at the color printer and then headed to the classroom for a teacher team meeting. Today, they were finalizing plans for the field trip we will all be attending in two weeks; the biggest item on the agenda was expectations of students with behavior issues. When the students returned they were ready to work and they did just that with their supplies all ready for them at their desks! I really like this way of setting up and preparing for transitions. This made the return go very smoothly. My CT also had a chance to make sure each student had what he or she needed for the project, those students without all of the materials was loaned an item; she placed them on the desks during prep time. As the students completed their project they were dismissed for recess.
After recess, students were dismissed for Response to Intervention (RTI) and students from other classes came into the classroom for my CT's instruction. They too were working with legos! This purposeful play allowed them to create what they learned about storms this week in the Wonders reading program. First, each student chose what their favorite kind of storm they learned about this week. Then they went to different corners of the room depending on the storm they chose. They re-read about the storm and then answered as a group some questions about their reading. This was a great way to assess what the students learned this week; they really knew a lot of facts about the individual storms. Now, as a group they were ready to create their 3D storm out of legos: Thunder & Lightning created a Thunderbolt; Hurricane created a house with a blown off roof and a tree on its side; Blizzard created a pile of snow with a car buried underneath; and Tornado created a 3D tunnel cloud (that was more square than round). The students worked very well as a team to create one item in each group. Once they were completed, each student had a chance to view the other groups item before they had to take them apart and put the lego pieces away.
While observing my CT this afternoon, I noticed some really great tools she used for transitions and time management. She has a few sayings that she uses to get their attention and focus on her; as well as reminders of how many minutes they have left to complete a task. She also uses a timer to remind her when she should be getting ready to move to the next thing on the agenda. Reading class is over and it is time for the counselor to complete his weekly lesson with the students. He typically comes in on Wednesdays; however, he was ill so he is completing his time with the students today. My CT left the room to speak to the principal about the upcoming field trip and before the counselor had a chance to start the lesson the fire alarm went off! The students filed out of the room, my CT returned to the room and instructed the counselor and I what to do for a fire alarm. The teacher, or the staff in charge of the students at the time of the drill is to: grab emergency folder next to door, shut light off, and close the classroom door. Walk out to students lined up in the field and count heads; if all are checked you hold up a green sign, if not you hold up a red sign. We were all checked! We patiently waited outside until we were told to return inside.The students were a little antsy once we returned to the classroom; however, the counselor jumped right into his lesson on Medicine. He used a powerpoint presentation on the smartboard to engage the students. He began with asking students questions, having them discuss with their partner, and then have a few students share with the class what they said. Throughout the rest of the lesson he allowed students to comment on topic as long as they raised their hands and waited for him to call on them to speak. I really liked how he explained the harder concepts like prescriptions as permission slips from a doctor; making it relatable to what the students know. He also remained very calm in his tone and did not place any hindrance on any students asking many questions or making too many comments. One student was impatient and started standing while raising his hand and making loud sigh noises. Instead of addressing him, he called on another student by saying thank you (her name) for sitting down and quietly waiting for me to call on you. With that, the impatient student became quiet and sat down with his hand raised. The counselor then called on him to speak. His lesson was cut a little short because of the fire- drill however he was able to get through most of what he wanted to cover, skipping over a few slides. I really liked that he skipped over some of his own material and allowed the students to discuss the topic. I think they were better engaged understood the importance of what was being taught to them.
My CT returned and the end of day routine began; clean up around their space,put their supply boxes away, grab their backpacks, and return quietly to their seats. Once all students completed each task, she gave them reminders of permission slips for the field trip and she took a moment to end the day with a reading from their chapter book, Ember; while they waited for the bell to ring. This was an incredible way to complete the day! Once all the students were dismissed, we chatted a little about the day and decided that afterschool time is really busy, so that if I have any questions or want to discuss something about the day, I would email her that evening; this way we could keep communication open between the two of us.
I am very impressed with transitions, routines, her ability to keep the classroom student centered, and complete all the learning activities she did in the short amount of time she had the students in her classroom. In addition, while walking around the room she often came by my side to explain what she was doing and why. This made this observation an incredible learning experience for me today.