An Afternoon at my Pre-Internship Placement

After recess, the students came in full of energy and needed to be refocused. Once they settled in for their short time of instruction, my CT led through a practice of adding a list of four numbers together (5+4+6+4=). The results of the students Mobymax Math assessment directed my CT toward the idea that the majority of the class were in need of fine tuning this skill and decided that full class instruction would be beneficial; providing the students with strategies they can use to solve these problems. After writing the numbers (she received by rolling four dice) on the whiteboard and having the class do the same on their individual white boards she asked them some questions to assist them with breaking the addition equation into manageable pieces. For example: Are there any combination of numbers that add to 10 (1&9, 2&8, 3&7, etc.). Once the students were completed with the addition problem on their board they showed her their answers. Then as a class they completed the problem together. Those who received a different answer was asked to look at what they did differently. During the second math question, my CT asked again if anyone could pair any numbers to create 10. A student responded no; however, you can combine two numbers to create 5. This making it easier to calculate the entire equation. For this answer, causing the student to use her critical thinking skills; she was able to ring the smarty pants bell. The smarty pants bell is an old cowbell that sits at the front of the room. When a student answers with exceptional responses, they are able to come up to the front of the class and ring the bell.

During the lesson, my CT was in need of stepping out in the hallway (with the classroom door open) with a student who was making poor choices. So, she asked me if I could fill in for her. I graciously accepted the opportunity, bounced up to the front of the classroom, rolled the dice, wrote the numbers on the board, and called them out so the students could write them down, and solve the problem. After giving students sufficient time to complete the problem and seeing that all have finished the problem, full of energy I asked the students to show me their boards. I noticed everyone received the correct answer, so I had them tell me how they combined their numbers to come to a solution. I noticed the more questions I asked with excitement and positive responses the more feedback and engagement I received from the class. I had them wipe off their boards and completed another round of this exercise with the class. I noticed there was no combinations to get to 10 or 5 this time, so before they began solving I gave them an opportunity to come together as a class to figure out how they would solve the problem. Some chose random combinations with no organization; so I provided them with the idea to combine the first two and come to an answer and combine the second two numbers and come to an answer and then solve the equation by finding the sum to the two answers. Since I used the word sum, I asked the class if they knew what that meant. A student responded correctly by saying it was the answer to an addition problem, so I knew that we were on the same page. Once we completed the problem individually, I had them show me their answers, and then we solved the problem once again. I noticed the time, so we did one more question. I had the students in the front row roll the di and call out the number. I wrote the numbers on the board and made sure all the students got them written down. When the students showed me their boards, all of them received the right answer! I told them they did a fantastic job and they needed to get ready for block. Remembering how we did it last week, I told them to wipe their boards, place their cap on their markers, in which at this time my CT came in to finish preparing them to go to block. The students got all of their materials put away and I was able to walk them down to P.E. and Library. Before we walked down the hall, I asked them what they were going to do when we were walking to block. They responded, "chipmunk cheeks and a straight line!" I told them they were awesome and then they needed to show me what that looks like. They did a pretty good job, which made me happy since we paraded right in front of the principal standing outside of the office!

After block and last recess, the students were continuing to learn about compare and contrast as they read about the rainforest. In their Wonders book; they read a section on Tropical Rainforests and were given a post it note so that they can write one fact they learned. This post it note was to be placed on the Venn Diagram up on the board. I observed the students reading intently to find their fact to share on the diagram. As students placed their post it note on the diagram, most of them took a moment to read the other facts from their classmates.

I really liked how this Venn Diagram activity worked this time with them creating it together and how it got them up and moving. Tomorrow, they will be reading about the Temperate Rainforest and adding facts to the other side. Then they will be able to move their facts to the middle if they are the same and leave them in the separate sections if they are different.

Mid Week Spelling Words Assessment - My CT asked the students to stand up and create a giant circle around the room. Many students began sharing that they knew what this was, Around the World. The students were given a word from their spelling list and each student spelled the word one letter at a time, each student could only say one letter. After the word was spelled, the following student would say, " That is how you spell (the word)". Then another word would be given to the class. If the student stated the wrong letter they were asked to sit down and listen to the remainder of the spelling words. My CT reminded students they should be spelling the words in their head to follow along. This activity provided my CT with the knowledge of how students were doing with the words they are learning this week and provided additional (fun) practice for the students.

With 20 minutes left of the class, we began to watch a video entitled, "Volcano: Nature's Inferno" created by National Geographic. The students are reading about Natural Disasters and made a K-W-L Chart for Volcanoes, Earthquakes, and Tsunamis. They are seeking out the answers to what they want to know about Volcanoes. They were each given a post it note to write down the facts they heard to the questions on the chart. While having a technical issue, I shared with the class my experience with the eruption of Mt. St Helens in Washington State when I was three years old. The students and my CT was pretty impressed that I could see the mountain from my backyard growing up. Once they finished watching the video for the day and as they were preparing to get ready to leave school, some students came over to tell me their volcano and mountain stories. I am so glad to be connecting with the students, this will be beneficial as I continue to work with them in the classroom.

I had an incredible time with the students today! I have to admit, I am having a better time than I imagined and am learning A LOT! I was so excited to have another opportunity to teach again. I told my husband tonight, I think I could teach any grade of students. I think I will continue my experience in 2nd grade and then student teaching in middle school with an open mind. Who knows what grade I will end up!

Until next time....


First Grade Penpal Letters

In my EDUC 3321 Integrated Language Arts Methods class, we are writing penpal letters with two different first grade classes at a local elementary school. This week, we are writing four identical letters to four unknown students. A basic letter of introduction of ourselves and begin the conversation for our first graders to respond to.

The idea is that the students will respond and gain experience in writing for purpose and we will have the opportunity to learn more about the development of these little writers. Over the semester, we will have different assignments that we can use these letters written to us. It is a wonderful assignment for all who will be participating. I am looking forward to receiving my first letters. I will be sharing this experience here on my blog and what I learn about them.

Until next time..

Pre-Internship Placement & Levy Meeting

Last week, one of our students moved away. Today, we received a new one!

Math Lesson

My CT placed coins on her ten-strip and projected it on to the interactive whiteboard. Having students answer a variety of questions:

  • counting coins
  • finishing the ten
  • addition
  • counting the blanks to find out how many pennies there are (think ten minus the blanks)
Here, my CT is escalating the thinking skills and with student responding out loud she is able to assess how students are doing.

Then she changed her question, "What is your mind thinking when you see... " She places another ten-strip on the board with two pennies on the left hand side. Student responds, " I looked at the blanks and saw 4+4 = 8 knowing there are 2 pennies on the strip. 

My CT is now assessing outside of the recall (learning) and into the process of thinking. Recently, I read Educational Assessment of Students where I found the following quote, "“If you evaluate only whether an answer is correct or incorrect, you are likely to miss the opportunity to evaluate students’ thinking skills in general and problem-solving skills in particular” (p. 248). I believe this to be important, because as the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding. But in such a way that it is not what the pudding is, it was the process and the ingredients used that makes it pudding. Similarly, the answer is only the reaction to the action that was taken place.

The pennies activity was complete and we discussed homework which is nickels and dimes. A quick overview of nickels is five cents and dimes are ten cents; we count pennies by 1, nickels by 5, and dimes by 10. I am not sure I would have placed a new topic for homework. I personally believe that skills can be strengthened through homework; however, these skills may not be learned. The lesson was completed with a quick practice of counting pennies and nickels together.

Mobymax - Math New Assessment/ Placements & Intervention Plan

While the students were at block, my CT explained to me her new plan for intervention of students in math. She provided me a tutorial of setting up an intervention on Milepost. Later this afternoon, we spoke with another teacher who taught us how to create goals for individual students based on their placement score that Mobymax provides. This motivated my CT to have the entire class complete a placement test this afternoon and arrange for interventions for students not meeting a 2.5 (grade 2 middle of the year) level. At the end of the school day, we had the students take the placement test; students scored at levels in between .5 (half year Kindergarten to 2.5). Most of the scores did not surprise my CT; however, some of them she found to be very beneficial. She is now trying to plan how she will continue using Mobymax in the classroom for the class; as well as provide intervention to those who are in need. 

I found this exercise very beneficial for me to see from start to finish and I look forward to hearing from my CT on how she plans on implementing the plan. She thinks that she can rearrange some time in the late morning for at least 3 times a week. This will provide students with enough time to practice, gain new skills, allow for one on one's with my CT, and provide enough data to see if the interventions are working. We have been reading about this practice in our class this semester, it was nice to see it played out in the classroom. 

Venn Diagram

The students are using a Venn Diagram to prepare for a writing activity later this week. They will be completing a compare & contrast writing on Alaska and Idaho. This morning the students read about the nature of Alaska in their reading program book, Wonders. Then they filled out the Alaska side of the Venn Diagram This afternoon, my CT shared with them a presentation on the interactive board of Idaho. The presentation involved the nature of Idaho. My CT shared several pictures and the students are to list what landscape/ nature they see. Those items missed are pointed out by my CT. Then they place the item on the Idaho side.

In observation, I found this to be an interactive way to learn about what their story and their teacher's presentation provided them. The use of a Venn Diagram is great and will be beneficial to the students when they are completing their compare and contrast writing activity later this week. I also saw where students took a long time each writing down the words on their diagram, spelling and sloppy writing may make this organizational tool not very useful. In addition, as they begin to see the similarities they will need to erase and rewrite the landscapes/ nature that Alaska and Idaho have in common. So what if, one large chart was created on the board or created on google slides. As a class, they were to discuss and assist putting together the Venn Diagram together by using post it notes to place items on each side or have the teacher type the words in the correct location. That way when students see the similarities, they can easily transfer the information to the portion that is overlapped (by moving the post it note or sliding the text box to the middle). This would also be a good exercise to correctly introduce the Venn Diagram and also assist with the organization of their compare & contrast writing activity. 

Candy Game

After students have retrieve their coats, mail and backpacks my CT will lead them through a round of the candy game. She asks questions about things they covered that day. The students are to raise their hand if they know the answer, after she has finished asking the question. If students blurt out the answer, no candy is given. If the student raised their hand after the question is asked in it's entirity and my CT calls on them, they can answer. If they answer correctly they recieve a piece of candy from her candy jar. If they answer incorrectly another student as the opportunity to answer and recieve a piece of candy. I find this a great way to summarize the day. They have been in school since 8:15 a.m and have learned a lot of material. This also provides my CT with an overall assessment of how students are doing with what thye discussed throughout the day. If several students know the answer then she knows that her teaching was effective; however, if many students are getting the answer wrong or none try to answer the question then she knows that she needs to bring back this material in her lessons. The students know the rules and if they are not followed they will not be able to play the game. The students absolutely love the candy game and they do their best to make sure they can play it several times each week.

Superintendent presentation on Plant Facilities Levy

Our school district will be requesting a plant facilities levy this spring of our community. I attended a faculty meeting after school today, led by our Superintendent. My CT asked permission of both our superintendent and principal if it was okay for me to participate in the meeting, they were fine with me in attendance. The presentation was short; however, extremely informative in regards to a renewal to modernize and maintain our facilities. I gained information of: what is a plant facilities levy, what the money will do for our district if accepted by our voters, how the levy will affect our communities taxes, and how this levy is different from the levy presented to our community last year. I was really excited to hear that one of our Superintendent's goal is to make our school district 1:1. I was sent home with material to further my knowledge about this topic so that I can share with others. It will be extremely important for our community to go out and vote YES! I believe we will need 60% of voters to be in favor for this to be approved.

What an eventful day, I am kind of sad that I have class tomorrow and will be missing out on what the students complete while I am gone. Until next time...

Teaching English Methods Reflective Journal Entry #9

Recall your own experiences in school with speaking class. How did you feel about speaking - in groups or before the class - when you were a student? What methods or activities/ assignments do you remember particularly effective/ ineffective in this regard?
    In junior high, we often spoke in front of class in my English and Drama classes; I found I was very comfortable doing so in this classroom. The teacher created an environment where it was safe for all students, everyone was accepted. There was no laughing at students or pointing out the faults in others work. There was discussion of what can we do better next time.
    In high school, I was required to take a speech class; I found I was extremely uncomfortable in front of this class. The teacher was focused on how you stood, movements you made, how you spoke, and was extremely critical in his grading. One lesson, we were to speak in front of the class as a news anchor and the assignment was recorded. After everyone completed their assignment, we all watched the videos of each other. It was awful, the teacher paused the videos several times within the recording to point out what he did not like in front of the entire class. Students pointed out funny things that occurred in the videos. It was humiliating! All I remember from mine, is that I could not stop swaying my right leg back and forth underneath the table (we were sitting down); which the teacher pointed this out (like I was unaware of this occurring) I was so embarrassed.
    In my future classroom, I want it to be positive for students; similarly to my experience in middle school. I want students to first work with a partner and create good dialogue between two people; focusing on listening as well as speaking. Then I will proceed with speaking in front of small groups, having a dialogue among their peers. Next, we will move to speaking in front of the entire class through reader's theater and acting out scenes. A way for several students to come up together. Last, the time will come for a student to complete a presentation, a monologue, an individual assignment to speak in front of the class. This series of scaffolded assignments will develop a student's self-confidence and allow them to begin to feel comfortable with one another; while learning how to correctly address various forms of conversation situations.

What I Wore Last Week: Pre- Internship Edition

     This week was particularly busy as I spent most of my days in second grade, completing my pre-internship for my Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education. You can click on the links within the head to toe sections, to find out how you can purchase items that may be available.

Monday: Pre-Internship in Second Grade

Head to Toe: Hair Clip from Target, Cardigan from local Thrift Store,
Blue Sweater from local Thrift Store, ABC 123 & Coffee Necklace from Etsy shop As You Wish by SJ
Brown Belt from Hope Ave, Brown Corduroy Pants (Gift from friend)
& Brown Clogs from Twin Falls Goodwill
Tuesday: Pre-Internship in Second Grade

Head to Toe: Earrings from Target, Polka Dot Scarf from Target Dollar Spot,
Grey Cardigan from Local Thrift Store, Merona Striped Skirt from Target
& Black Shoes from Twin Falls Goodwill

Did you know you can purchase Target Dollar Spot items online?
Wednesday: Class & Pre-Internship Placement

Head to Toe: Hair Clips from Target, Women's Floral Fashion Scarf from Target,
Merona Green Cardigan from Target, Just Jewelry Denim Dress, Merona Black Leggings from Target,
Knit Knee High Socks from Shopko & Brown Knee High Boots from Deb

Thursday: Second Grade Field Trip & Class

Head to Toe: Flower Hair Clip from Target, Harry Potter Always Necklace from Target,
Merona Cream Sweater from Target, Blue Dress with Red & White Stripes from Macy's Liquidation Sale,
Cream Tights from Shopko & Reddish Brown Shoes from Twin Falls Goodwill
Friday: Pre-Internship & Road Trip

Head to Toe: Hair Clip from Target, Green Jacket from Twin Falls Goodwill,
Flower Hair Clip from Target, White L/S shirt from Target,
Jeans from Shopko & Pier View Metallic Sneaker from Nordstrom Rack
Saturday: Idaho Education Association Board of Directors Meeting & Dinner Date

Head to Toe: Scarf from Hope Ave, Silver Rose from Target, Cardigan from Local Thrift Store
Just Jewelry Boutique Grey Sleeveless Maxi Dress from JJ Boutique,
Knit Thigh Highs from Shopko & Brown Clogs from Twin Falls Goodwill

I hope you enjoyed this weeks edition of What I Wore, I would love to hear what you thought. Please leave me in the comments below. Until next time....

pleated poppy

Mini-Lesson Practice

When I arrived at the elementary school this afternoon, my CT and I connected at the front office. While walking back to the classroom, she instructed me of today's plan. First thing on the list, my mini-lesson practice with the students. The students are learning three digit addition with one set of regrouping. For example:
After she explained the lesson to me, I took the following notes:

  1. Roll the dice (three of them) to obtain a random three digit number
  2. Write number on board
  3. Roll the dice (three of them) to obtain a random three digit number in which you can manipulate to ensure one set of re-grouping and avoid going into the 1,000's
  4. Write the number on the board with a plus sign. (Wait for students)
  5. Students will write number on their individual white boards and solve problem.
  6. Once given time to complete, ask students "show me your boards"
  7. Solve with the class
My CT completed a few problems with the students when they came in from recess and then told them that I will be finishing the lesson with them. I introduced the remainder of the math lesson and rolled the dice, wrote the numbers on the board, provided wait time while walking around the room to see where the students were at (I found this also kept students from turning to talk to their neighbor while we waited for everyone to finish), I asked for those to raise their hands if they were ready to go over the problem (many raised their hands and I could not tell if any were still working so I asked who still needed some extra time) two hands were raised so I told them they have 25 seconds. During this time, I took a look at one of our students who needs additional assistance and prompted him with additional questions with the problem. I also took a moment to write a different problem on a students whiteboard who is not ready for three digit addition. He just finished the one he was given by my CT, I checked it gave him a high five for getting it right and gave him two numbers that would give him a 3 digit answer. Then I went back to the front of the room and asked the students to show me their boards, boards went up and I saw most with the correct answer; however, there were 3 or 4 that had a different answer. So I asked them to help me with the math problem on the board and we did it together. I asked those who received a different answer if they figured out how they did it differently and they stated they did. In reflection, I would like to have those who got a different number to erase their answer and solve again while we were doing it as a class. We had time to complete 4 problems together and then I led them through cleaning up and getting ready to go to block. My CT exclaimed, "Mrs. Cullip did a great job teaching your lesson today, don't you think?" The students responded with a round of applause. I curtsied and told them "thank you, thank you, I will be here all semester long!" The students also deserved a round of applause. They listened well and when I instructed them to refocus and give me chipmunk cheeks (to remind them to be quiet when I am talking or when other students are thinking) they did just that.

We walked the kids to block and then prepared for the rest of the afternoon and discussed the things we learned on the field trip yesterday

After block, it was time for the students to finish their final draft within the writing process. Over the week, we began with the graphic organizer to assist the students in coming up with their response to the opinion piece of Cats and Dogs. Then the students took this information and placed it on their rough draft sheet, stating Cats make better pets than dogs or Cats don't make better pets than dogs. As the students finished their rough drafts, they were to have my CT or myself edit them so they can write out their final draft. The editing process consisted of capitalization, spelling, and correct sentence ending punctuation. When the students were finished they were allowed to read, draw, or even lay their head on their desk and relax. They worked really hard and my CT thought they deserved a break. Once the students were finished we were treated to a 20 minute showing of Planet Earth.

As we prepared for home, my CT played the candy game with the students in honor of one of them saying goodbye to us. The student and his family are moving away out of state. When saying goodbye, I gave him a fist bump and then he gave me a GIANT hug. Although we have only had a short time together, I am glad that I had the opportunity to connect with him in the classroom. 

3:00 p.m. arrived and the final school bell of the day rang. It is Friday! Until next time... 


Second grade field trip to the Herrett Center

     Everyday, I get the opportunity to come to my students school to learn. Today, they came to my school to learn!

     The field trip with the second graders was a success, pictured are the stars of the second show we watched this morning. The first show at the planetarium where we saw a short film about our solar system. Then we learned about reptiles! Snakes, lizards and bearded dragons... Oh My! 

     I spent my time learning alongside the second graders and keeping them focused through proximity; it is amazing what can be done with just walking over and sitting next to a group of chatty students. Field trips are stressful and require a lot of organization; however, in the end they are worth the extra time and energy spent in preparation. We could have read books, watched a video, or discussed these topics in the classroom, yet we would not have ended with the same outcome. What an incredible experience this was!

     The Herrett Center for Arts and Science is a non-profit museum on the main campus of the College of Southern Idaho (CSI) in Twin Falls, Idaho.  Its purpose is primarily educational, offering programs to elementary and secondary school students, CSI students, and the adult community of south-central Idaho.  The Center collects, preserves, interprets, and exhibits anthropological artifacts and natural history specimens with an emphasis on the prehistoric American continents.