Blackout Poetry

I am about to introduce Blackout poetry to my class for student teaching. Personally, I have been meaning to do this for a while. So when I decided I wanted to teach a lesson on poetry, this was one of the first things that came to mind as I was coming up with activities. This works well with my lesson as I am not only teaching the students to differentiate between poetry and prose but I am also teaching them to identify literary devices and the ways they help us understand text a little better. I was going to do this the old fashioned way with newspaper clippings and permanent markers but then I suddenly came across this cool interactive feature on the New York Times website.

Here’s the link if you would like to try it out: Searching for Poetry in Prose

Screenshot (30)

Aside

Day 1

It feels weird not waking up at 6:30 in the morning and getting ready for the day. I woke up at 8:55 am and thought to myself…’Mrs. Goldberg is out there on the black pavement getting them right now…oh wait…it’s raining. They are probably in the gym waiting for her to come pick them up.’ The other day, a student was asking me, “You’re just joking with us right? You’re not really leaving?” That just broke my heart to pieces 💔 😦

It’s going to take some time getting used to it. Every time I look up at the clock, I think about what they are doing, as I have the class schedule etched into my mind. Without even thinking, I think about it. It’s 12 p.m., they just went to specials. It’s 1:15, they’re doing math. It’s 2:23…they’ve started Daily 5.

I wonder what the school looks like without all of the student teachers. Did it change? Does it look different?

An End for New Beginnings 

Well…it’s over. I’ve said my goodbyes. The kids were crying so much. I was trying not to but it was so hard. They pleaded over and over, “Please don’t go. Why do you have to go today? Can’t you go on Monday? I don’t want you to leave. Just one more day.” And all this time my heart was aching for them. They grabbed me, held onto me, hugged me in anyway they could. The room was filled with tears. I felt like a tree, my arms outstretched trying to comfort them, my trunk being embraced by these tiny beings full of life. Their bus was called or their parents came to pick them up or they had to go to C.L.A.S.P…it didn’t matter to them. They stayed until they could stay no more. Every time I sent them away…telling them if they don’t leave they’ll miss their transport home…they came running back to my side, holding onto me, tears running down their faces 😢😭.

These kids are so young and they get so attached that it’s hard for them to say goodbye. It’s hard for all of us to say goodbye. It is the last day for all of us student teachers so we are all leaving together on the same day. It’s hard. The kids will come to school on Monday and they will see that we won’t be going out to greet them outside anymore…or be doing the lunch count..or taking them to specials. I already feel empty inside so just imagine how they might feel. This attachment that has been nurtured for the past three months will be gone all of sudden and they can feel that emptiness.

With lots of promises to come and visit, write letters, and just promise to keep in touch, we’ve said our goodbyes. I hope each and everyone of them has a great year.

Aside

The other day, my mentor teacher accidentally let out that I have a month left of student teaching. The whole class is devastated. Especially this one little guy who thinks everyday is my last day. He is constantly hugging me, holding my hand, staying close to me. Yesterday, he followed me halfway back before I realized he was walking right behind me. I asked, “where are you going?” And he said, “I want to go with you. I don’t want you to leave ” And then I told him I’m not leaving today! And then he’s like “Oh!” and walked back to music. That kid just melts my heart sometimes

Student Teaching

Student teaching has been a blast so far. I am working closely with my mentor teacher as well as the students. I have been placed into 2nd grade this semester and I just love it. The kids are so adorable and so cute. I have not gotten the chance to write a weekly blog of my student teaching yet since I started. So here are just little snippets of the past few weeks:

Meeting The Teachers

The 2nd grade teachers….actually I should state that the whole school works like a community with each other. But each of the grades works as a team when they are planning and teaching their lessons. There are five 2nd grade teachers at GES and four of the five have student teachers. The other three student teachers are also Arcadia students like me but they are undergraduates. The teachers are really nice. My mentor teacher is very experienced and has had student teachers before. I plan to learn a lot from her this semester. She believes a lot in positive psychology and how it helps students, not to mention humans as a whole, to learn and grow. Needless to say, there are a lot of positive energy in our classroom.

1st Day of School

1st day of school was bothe exciting and nerve-wracking. I met and introduced myself to the students. They are just so adorable. This day was mostly just observation for me.

Read-Aloud

I read aloud a few books to them such as Arthur and D.W. The Picky Eater. I just started reading The BFG to them. They’re really interested in it and is always asking me when I’m going to read it next.

Lesson Plan Observation

I was observed teaching a lesson two weeks ago. It went better than I thought it would. I get so nervous when I’m teaching a lesson but this time I did pretty well according to my supervisor. I just hope I can keep it up when I get observed again in October.

Back To School Night

BTSN was great. I got to meet almost all of the parents.i did not get nervous at all. Some of the parents were like, ” Are you the student teacher? My child always talks about you.” 😊

Science Lesson: Sorting Solids

My first full lesson on science. I made a few mistakes and I’m struggling with class management. Also I keep on forgetting that I’m working with 2nd graders. There is a lot of stuff they do not know and I have to construct my language in a way that it is easier for them to understand. Otherwise all I get are just blank stares.

Some things I need to improve on:

  1. Intros
  2. Giving easier directions
  3. Grouping
  4. Reinforcing vocabulary
  5. Classroom management (I’m struggling with this so much right now 😔)
  6. Closing

Basically I need to work on delivering my lessons better because I’m all over the place when I’m teaching.

 

 

May 16, 2016

Rocket Launching day🚀. The rockets the class had worked on and made last week will be launched today since they were unable to on Friday due to the weather. It was pretty nice day minus the cold. We were outside for a whole hour and even though I was wearing a sweater, I was freezing. It’s May, yet it feels like it’s the beginning of March. Since there were two classes, 4F and 4S, they took turns launching. The rockets went up pretty high so fast that sometimes we lost track of where it went before it started to fall down again. The students’ parents came to see their child/children launch their own rockets :). 

Today was my 2nd unofficial Observation day as well as Mrs. Agnew had come to visit again to watch me teach a lesson. Thankfully, I did better this time. I think part of that has to do with the fact that this time I wasn’t fretting over it. I treated it like any other lesson I would do with my host teacher during one of our regular lessons. I was a little nervous and I did trip on a few words, but I got over it and managed myself better. I know I have a lot to improve on, but today I felt good about my performance as I was actually able to get through the lesson :). Some of the things I need to improve on according to Mrs. Agnew: 

  • stay away from yes/no questions (now that I look back at the questions I asked, I realize that yes, I could have structured my questions better so that I would be able to engage the students’ level of higher thinking
  • Make personal connections to student feedback (I know, personally speaking, that this will improve with time)

Today is my last day here at Ancillae (unless otherwise told…they’re trying to work a few more Mondays in for me so I can get more practice but it’s not confirmed yet. We’ll see.) It was a nice experience and I learned a lot from both my host teacher and Mrs. Reifsnyder. I am hoping to be back for the fall, but again no official word has been given out yet as to where I will be placed for the first half of student teaching. 

April 25th, 2016

Long story short… I did horribly. Just horribly. Not that it’s a surprise. Public speaking was never my strong suit. I was just a bundle of nerves, fidgeting in my seat, waiting for all of it to be over. I just couldn’t get rid of this feeling of anxiousness. It was there when I left home, it was there when I got to the school, when I met Mrs. Agnew, the person observing me, it was there even way after I finished the lesson. Mrs. Agnew is really nice. She came a bit early just so I can get to meet her and get comfortable with her before I teach the lesson. Although it did not really help me release my anxieties, I really appreciated the thought. I had a shaky start because all of a sudden all eyes were on me. 28 students, 2 teachers, 1 observer. It wasn’t like I hadn’t done this before but for some reason that 1 observer made all the difference.Of course, there were other factors that added to it such as:

1. The arrangement of the desks- Mrs. Smith changed the desks again last week. When I was making the lesson plan, I kind of had it all figured out about where I will be standing and such. I liked her old arrangement better where the desks were in clusters. It made moving around much easier. But this one, which looked like a mirror reflection of an “E”, kind of forced me to go to the front of the room where all eyes were pointed at me. There was that awkward silence that I typically experience when I start a presentation. Even though I didn’t have to go to the front of the room, I felt more compelled to do so because of how the desks were arranged.

2. Just the thought of knowing I was going to get observed today was a big drawback. I don’t do well. I don’t feel natural. Like today, I start to fidget around, breathing is irregular, my face starts to flush. This was my third LA lesson in this class and not once did Mrs. Smith have to step in for me. Even though I know that Mrs. Agnew is not here to judge me, I kind of had it in the back of my head that she is still observing me. And that thought in and of itself is why I did so poorly. I think I will get better with practice. Hopefully 😓.

But that is when I stopped. No matter how many breaths I took, no matter how many times I read a sentence over, I could not get myself to move on. All eyes were on me. Thankfully, Mrs. Smith took over the words I could not bring myself to say. But I felt frustrated that I let myself get to that stage. I looked at Mrs. Reifsnyder as Mrs. Smith read on. She gave me a warm smile that said something along the lines of “it’s OK”. I’m very happy that I’m in this classroom with two very good role models. I’m learning something each and every Monday that I’m here. After the lesson, Mrs. Agnew worked with me and Mrs. Smith to help me overcome my challenge . So for next week, I will be working with a smaller group and then two Mondays from that Mrs. Agnew and I will, hopefully, teach a lesson together. That lesson will be on poetry. I can’t wait 😊.

April 11, 2016

Part 1

Mrs. Smith isn’t here today as she has gone on vacation to California. There isn’t a LA lesson today and next Monday AA Academy is closed. The following Monday, I am going to be observed teaching the class a lesson on Public Office by Ms. Agnew from Arcadia. Last week, I volunteered to facilitate the morning meeting for today because I need to connect with the students more. So just like every other morning meeting, today’s morning meeting consisted of the greeting (Hit the Floor!), sharing something about the weekend, and a game (charades). Well, I might switch out the game of charades for their favorite game, Statues, which Mrs. Smith isn’t very fond of because it’s not really effective in terms of a team building activity.

Part 2

Well, that went horribly. The greeting was okay but the other two was horrible. The one where they share something from their weekend, I was under the impression that one person would share one thing each. But only three people went and answered questions that their peers had. When I asked, I was informed that they are only allowed three shares. That threw me off a bit because that wasn’t what Mrs. Smith and I talked about last week. And the game of charades was even worse than that. I figured that maybe it was my fault that I didn’t specify the directions clearly.  But then I remembered that Mrs. Smith told me that this group can get loud pretty quickly. I had to go to the middle of the circle in order for everyone to focus on and listen to me. I realized that even though I explained to them how the game worked, I should have also told them which direction it should go in so they aren’t popcorn picking, to sit down in a circle, and raise their hands, without calling out, if they knew the answer. Well, as you can imagine, all three of these things happened today. Mrs. Reifsneider told me that I did fine but since they can get out of hand sometimes, I have to know how to reel them back in. Sometimes they are forgetful so I have to be there to constantly reinforce quietness. It looks like it’s going to take me a little more time until I can get comfortable enough with the kids that I can use my voice to quiet them down. However, I fear by that time, it will be time for me to leave AA Academy. Anyways, hopefully I’ll be able to both teach the lesson and manage the class simultaneously on the 25th of this month. I know I will make mistakes, but since I’ve already been getting positive feedback from all of my other lessons, I want to get the chance to improve on other things as well.