Classroom Management

So far, classroom management has been the most challenging part about teaching for me. Firstly, because I am more of a caring person than an authoritative figure – both types are needed in schools and at times teachers must try both roles – and secondly, because the very nature of education revolves around intrinsic motivation. However, I believe that although teachers cannot make students have intrinsic motivation, being an extrinsic force and a reminder will never hurt.

With this in mind, I will be trying popsicle sticks question asking with my Grade 3/4 class so that anyone can be called upon at any time. I think it is also important to use my professional discretion, and call upon students at random, when needed. I will also be using a marble jar reward system, where I add marbles to the jar when students are being good. In the end, they get the reward of extra recess, as physical activity is vital for learning and the children also love it. The idea is that kids will support each other to make good choices and spend less time laughing at/or with those who are impulsive. Both of these ideas are from the Teaching Channel and have been discussed in my ECS 410 assessment class (see my Classroom Experiment blog post). Since most behavioral issues come from not understanding the work presented, I will be differentiating my work and stopping to check for understanding with exit questions and “thumbs up or down” breaks. These ideas are things I will be using in every grade I teach (3 to 12). Secondly, I believe behavioral issues come from an excess of energy so Brain Gym will be used in my 3/4 class and art drama cards for my grade 7/8 class. For my Grade 9/10 class, this article (and idea I read about in First Days of School by Harry Wong) is something I am considering. In summary, the strategy involves writing students’ names on the board every time they blurt out, etc. so that it acts as a visual reminder. These students often seem to want to avoid their work when it gets tough and it is hard to think of ways to keep them accountable for completing the work and not take away learning opportunities for those that are engaged. Things like sending them to the office or outside do not help because then they have achieved their goal and get to avoid the work. Hopefully this strategy works!

Classroom management will always be something that I need to focus on. It won’t ever be something I can ignore, as a well-managed class allows for learning and a class without management does not. What ideas do you have? How do you manage your classroom?

Internship Seminar

The Internship Seminar at Kenosee Lake was beautiful! Not only was the location outstanding, but the food was good, the seminars were informative, and it was nice to take a breather after completing 1/4th of our internship placements. Aside from all of the fun, the most beneficial parts of the internship seminar were creating a contract with one of my cooperating teachers. It was nice to outline when and how I will take over classes for my three-week block. It was also great to go over the assessment of my work so that we are both clear about what is expected. I can now apply each criteria piece in at least one of my classes and let the criteria drive my professional development data collection sheets. It was also nice to see how being in a SST placement fits with the internship criteria, as it is a very different placement! Lastly, and most importantly, it was great to continue to build a relationship with Katie. Her philosophies and beliefs about teaching are inspiring and often we would get sidetracked and talk about these, only to come back with a quarter of the assignment completed but a lot of insight gained. I have a lot to learn from her and my other cooperating teacher, Leanne. I feel blessed to be in the placement that I am – with support and K to 12 experiences. I also get to learn from two very passionate teachers with different strengths. I couldn’t ask for an experience that fits me better and I cannot wait to see how much I grow, through both successes and mistakes and A LOT OF HARD WORK!

Working “hard” at Kenosee Lake:

Scholarship Examplars

Here is a list of scholarship databases/awards/scholarships, resume of activities, a couple of scholarship personal statements for applying, a thank-you letter, a resume, and a couple cover letters. I gave this package to my Grade 11/12 ELA students so that they have something to adapt when they apply for jobs and awards. I have used all of these pieces and have found success, however, these documents are not perfect and require the student to adapt, add, remove, etc. at their own discretion and based on what meets their needs. A package like this would also be handy for Career Ed. Teachers (although, as time goes on, the scholarship/databases list will need to be updated).

Health 3/4 Unit Plan: Healthy Eating, Exercise, and the Immune System

Note: if you are interested in the accompanying worksheets that are not attached but are mentioned in the unit plan, send me a comment and I can email them to you!

Happy planning/teaching! 🙂

Update: I added a station, differentiated lesson.

Some pictures from a lesson I added to make it more hands-on: 20141126_09584120141126_09583020141126_095855 (1)20141126_09584820141126_09590820141126_095915

Final Assignment:

my food guideWeekly ActivityWeekly FoodEat Well frontEat Well back  Healthy Action Plan

Positive Learning Environments

Positive Hallway Space – featuring school reading goal visual and student cubbies

Reading Goals BulletinPositive Hallway Spaces20141201_16294420141201_162846

Student Lunchroom

Student Lunchroom

Art Room (My Cooperating Teacher’s Room). Also, an SST strategy poster for reading!

Art RoomExamplars in the Art RoomReading Strategies in the SST Room

Student Exemplars and Writing Process Visual Idea in the Art Room

Classroom Rules, In and Out Buckets, Information by GradeWriting Process Idea

Grade 1/2 Classroom – featuring classroom rules, curtains, SLOs, hall pass system idea, and desks in pods.

Grade 1 Classroom RulesInteractive Table, Covered Resources in the Grade 1 RoomGrade 1 Room OrganizationBirthday Calendar; Desks in Pods in the Grade 1 RoomSLO's in the Grade 1 RoomBathroom Break System

Kindergarten Room – featuring visual schedules, attendance ideas, behavioral rules, SLOs at all activity stations, reading corners, picture labels for clean up, and hallway walking procedure (Marshmallow Mouths).

Kindergarten OrganizationVisual Schedule in KindergartenAttendance IdeaKindergarten Behaviour ChartSLO's at Learning Stations in KindergartenKindergarten Reading CornerPicture Labels to Assist K's CleaningScience Area in KindergartenArt Area in KindergartenArt Area in KindergartenKitchen Area in KindergartenVisual SLO's in KindergartenMarshmallow Mouths in Kindergarten

Grade 5/6 Room – featuring a science/rock center, lots of plants, fish tanks, curtains, individual student work stations with daily schedules, shared resources and supplies, sand/calming area, and guided reading station with positive message. Also, the desks are arranged in a horseshoe-like way!  This is a room of exploring!

Science/Rock Area Grades 5/6Fish Tanks in the 5/6 RoomDaily Schedule and Individual Work Station in 5/6Plants and Resources in 5/6Cool Classroom Setup 5/6Cloth Covers in 5/6Sand Area in 5/6Shared Supplies in 5/6Guided Reading Station 5/6

Grade 3/4 Room – featuring SLOs visuals, organization ideas, curtains, large student working spaces, individual working tables, and a guided reading station. Very organized, non-chaotic room!

Student Outcome VisualCool Organizational Idea 3/4Grade 3/4 Organization and SLO

Desk Setup 3/4Work Tables and Curtains 3/4Teacher Organization/Work SpaceReading Station 3/4

High School Classrooms – featuring “What Did I Miss” handout sections, SLOs visuals, due date boards, reading strategies, standing desks, desks in rows, handout stations, etc.

Missing Class? Folders High SchoolSLO's High SchoolCreating Student Independence High SchoolHigh School Posters and Visuals

(My Cooperating Teacher’s Room for ELA)

ELA RoomReading Strategies in the ELA RoomStanding Desk in ELA RoomELA OrganizationDid You Miss Class? Bucket in ELA Room

LIT Goals/Circle of Courage/Reading Data

20141201_162756 20141201_162816 20141201_162825 20141201_162833

First Week Observations – Internship

Well, it is that time again. Another great summer at Camp Easter Seal has come and gone and I am a new and better person for it. But this year instead of the post-camp depression and keeping Triffons in business due to excessive orders of pity pizzas, I get to bypass all the feels and ENTER THE CLASSROOM. However, I’d like to note that staff room snacks aren’t much healthier than pity pizzas. What I have learned thus far is that they are completely earned: TEACHERS WORK HARD! Teachers in the school have spent nights there until 1 am and I have already put in at least 15 hours this weekend unit planning, only to feel like I’ve just begun. This is no 9-5, “I will do the minimum” kind of job. And the obvious reason is because of the kids! The kids who chase you down the hall to sing you happy birthday. The kids that tell you their dreams involve “not becoming that famous, like only featuring in two or so movies because I want to be a mom of five and a plastic surgeon and a framer’s wife.” The kids that sing about tacos when they should be listening, but you can’t help laughing anyways. The kids who love your class. The kids that pretend to hate your class. And the kids that actually hate your class. The kids that act out because they need your attention. The kids who aren’t really sure who they are yet and the ones confident enough to get up and dance when music plays. It’s for all those kids and the 100 others that us educators do what we do.

These first few weeks have been nothing short of amazing. A little intimidating, yes. But amazing. The first week was a lot of information to take in but the reading professional development was a great refresher and I plan to utilize most of the reading strategies we were shown. I loved the way they passed out resources freely and modeled the ideal rather than just stating what it was.

During my three week block, I will be teaching 3/4 Health, 7/8 Arts Ed., 9/10 ELA, 11/12 ELA, and student support work focusing on numeracy, literacy, and reading intervention. I am also involved with cross country, SRC, boys volleyball, and supported learning. Later on, I may work with other teachers to start a girls group. I am also getting the opportunity to observe many teachers at work and have two cooperating teachers that I get to learn from. I love that I get to work with every grade in the school, including Kindergarten. I couldn’t have created a better placement for myself if I tried. I wanted nothing more than to experience multiple grades, multiple needs, and multiple subjects. So far, I think my niche is Grades 3-12 due to the independence these learners have.

I welcome any readers to join me on my internship journey at Mossbank school. Stay tuned for weekly pictures of positive environments, lesson plans, reflections and more!

“Do what you love; love what you do.”