Observing in an elementary school made me confident that that's where I belong. Everyone's always smiling, and they're all excited to be there. Every day, I would walk in and all of my troubles from Davidson just disappeared. All of the students were so eager to learn and share with me what they were learning that it made it difficult to leave. So many of the students were willing to share their personal lives with me, through their work, and just the bonds I created with each of them. That meant so much to me, knowing they wanted me there almost as much as I wanted to be working with them. Something I struggle with during TGIF, is communicating with my students as to what they're supposed to be doing and how they're supposed to be doing it, especially since there are so many of the groups, and only one of me. Mrs. Chamberlain did a fabulous job of explaining the purpose of the activities to each of the students, and showing them the right and wrong methods to accomplish each of those tasks. That is something I've already started to apply to my genius hour class, and I know I can use that in future times down the road. From a student's perspective, I assumed the best way to handle a classroom is to be extremely sweet, and of course that's something that should be utilized in the classroom, I've learned from these observations that sometimes teachers have to reprimand students to refrain them from executing tasks that might potentially be dangerous or distracting to other students. I gained a great opportunity to establish how to deal with students misbehaving or struggling, without feeling too strict. Additionally, I learned how to use technology to its greatest potential, not just on the student's side, but on my side as well through the use of Evernote, and other applications. I know that'll be very helpful, as technology continues to make a lasting impact on our education system. Finally, I learned the best methods to help students grow from their level of intelligence as they start first grade, and as they end. And most importantly, I've learned how to help them achieve that goal, using all sorts of methods like "picture walks" and teaching them to really think about the story. What I enjoyed most about this entire experience was gaining the opportunity to work with students and help them achieve their "aha" moments. It was such a spectacular experience, that only excites me for my future and prepares me for teaching.
Observation: How do you determine the credibility of the online information? How do you know the information is factual?
I think the best way to establish if something is credible is based on the website that it's linked to. For research projects, the best websites come from libraries or Universities. It is evident that these are credible because they have the best resources to share their information. For example, libraries can borrow information straight from textbooks to be portrayed on the Internet. Often, universities are researching that information in the field, so they often own the new and correct information. Generally, these websites lack advertisements, which signify that the owners of the websites simply want to make money. Credible information should come from websites that want to share their knowledge, not to make money off of information. If the purpose is to simply increase revenue, the website will start adding information that may not be accurate to increase advertisement sales. Obviously elementary students won't be able to utilize university sites, but a general rule to determine credibility is based off of the number of advertisements. The fewer number of advertisements, the better.
Observation: Rapport What is the definition of rapport? Describe how your teacher develops rapport. Give specific examples of what they do. How do the teachers show an interest in their students’ lives? How does the teacher ‘be real’ and genu
Rapport: Establishing a sense of comfort or friendship among the teacher and her students. My mentor teacher does a great job of welcoming in her student, as she's aware of most of their situations at home. I find her explaining, "They only speak Chinese at home; there's a language barrier." Or "Her parents can't help her with her homework." It's evident that my mentor teacher is there for all of them, ready to talk to them if they need anything, and is always prepared to protect them if there's a malfunction at home. As a former student myself, I know she depends on rapport to warm her classroom. When I was in her class, she was very supportive of my swimming, once she even drove all the way down to OU to watch me swim in my championship meet! As a child, that meant so much to me, and I will cherish those moments with her for years to come, and I know all of her other students will. Back in the classroom, she has each student bring in several pictures of themselves, or of their families, so they'll feel comfortable with her. This also encourages them to open up their hearts to my mentor, and feel comfortable in the classroom. Additionally, she hangs up the student's art work in the hallway to share a sense of trust and pride among her students and herself. It's amazing to watch those students open up to her with pride and happiness.
Observation: How does your teacher use technology in the classroom? How do they prepare students to use technology safely?
Every day, the students in Mrs. Chamberlain's class have the option to log on to a computer or iPad, and wacth a movie with subtitles to help them read. They are using these resources a lot, and Mrs. Chamberlain only allows them on these educational sites. Because of this, these students never have access to damaging websites, but they're still improving their technological skills, and learning how to be safe on the computer. Additionally, Mrs. Chamberlain provides a positive example when dealing with technology by demonstrating technology's benefits. For instance, before recess, she pulls up the weather, and asks the children if the temperature is greater than or less than 60 degrees, so they decide whether or not they should wear their coats. By demonstrating this, the students are learning about how great technology can be, while also remaining safe.
Observations: Describe how your mentor makes the room/ environment physically and emotionally safe for their students.
In a first grade class, emotions are always tumbling from happiness to tears within seconds, but under my mentor's reign, she is eager to help students attain happiness. It's easy to see that some students are frustrated when they don't understand something, and that's obviously a feeling that should be avoided, so Mrs. Chamberlain helps them not only find a solution to the problem, but demonstrates this problem solving method in a way that can be applied to other issues students may face in the future. When they are feeling sad or homesick, Mrs. Chamberlain established a series of pictures to remind students of their families, so they will always feel at home even when they miss their families.
One of the most important things I've learned is to handle all behavioral tasks withe care and caution. My mentor explains that if you let them create their own rules, they're going to apply those throughout the rest of their life even when they're ineffectiveh, but if you react too harshly they'll become miserable. It's crucial to be kind and considerate when students act inapropriately, and make them want to do what's right. For most kids, traditional punishment doesnt work, it only frustrates them, so the best technique is to suggest the error in their actions and show them how to resolve their issues. Often students will fail to listen to instructions, and will be angered because they fear punishment, but my mentor calms them down and tells them it was simply an accident and warns them to listen carefully the next time.
Physically, many children can be violent with each other, especially when they don't get what they want. Mrs. Chamberlain has a list of classroom rules that they sing in a song every day to remind them to keep their hands to themselves and refrain them from irritating other students, children now have a general understanding of what's proper behavior when dealing with other students. Most of the equipment in the room is kid-friendly, with a positive design. On the bottom of the chairs are tennis balls, which comfort the sharp edges of the legs from scratching any of the students. The floors are completely clear of anything that could pose as something to trip on, and all scissors and any other dangerous materials are stored away out of the reach of wandering and curious hands.
The Map of the Learning World
Along with me as your tour guide, you'll also find I've added my daily journal entries, or blogs, to help guide you through the learning world. Feel free to check them out!