Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Student Teaching on a Wednesday?!

Today, I went into my placement after school for Grandparent's Day. This is a tradition I totally want to have in my own classroom someday.

Some of the grandparents were already there when I walked in and some arrived later. Students interviewed their grandparents - or the grandparents of their classmates if theirs didn't come. Then they did some Thanksgiving day activities together. It was really fun getting to know my students' grandparents. One grandparent was very excited to show me his Pilgrim with a mullet. Another grandparent brought in his guide dog and I found out that I have something in common with that student - she has two Uncle Dans, who just happen to be related in the same way that my two Uncle Dans are.

Then I went down to the tech lab to take the 1st graders to their buses. I walked in and received a million "Miss Mevis!!!!"'s. One girl looked up at me and said, "you are really pretty." (Unfortunately, I changed out of my outfit before I took a picture this afternoon so you will have to trust her word.) That totally made my day.

I really enjoyed my two and a half hours in the classroom today! I feel so lucky to have such great mentor teachers and such great students!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My "Ted Mosby" Moment

First things first, I decided to turn this blog into a styles of a student teacher blog, starting today. Unfortunately, my outfit today is kind of uninspiring, but here goes...

Anyways, I have a lot of little stories today from student teaching.

My first task of the day was to write a topic sentence on the board for the students to write about. I stood at the front of the class, pen in hand and carefully wrote "Topic Senten..." and couldn't think of how to finish the word "sentence". I so felt like Ted Mosby in the episode of How I Met Your Mother, when, on his first day of professorship, he cannot figure out how to spell "professor." After a few beats in which I felt certain that every student was shaking their heads at my stupidness, I finished the word and prayed that I spelled it the right way.

That was the start of my up and down day. Students had to do a book chat about their favorite books today and during the middle of one student's speech, my mentor teacher got a call from the office asking for some information. My M.T. had to write a note so she let the kids chat. Their noise level kept rising and I had a nagging feeling that I should step in. I hesitated though and then I felt like a bad student teacher. Isn't that why I am there? To be able to stand in during moments like that? Ugh...

The day got better as I did more around the classroom. I successful read to the kids and transitioned them, which is definitely my weak point in teaching. They actually walked quietly to their desks and got started on their next project. I was also able to keep them on task, which made me feel better about earlier in the day.

Tomorrow I am going in for the last two and a half hours of the day for Grandparents Day and to help get my first graders to the bus. It will be fun to see them on a day I don't normally, but what to wear....

My principal does this thing at the end of staff meetings called Kid Kicks. I think they are super cute so I will leave you with a kid kick:

During one student's book chat, in which she reviewed "Al Capone Does My Shirts", she dressed in prisoner's garb, right down to the ball and chain around her ankle. As she walked to the front of the room, one of our students exclaimed, "If you had a beard, you'd be me in 30 years."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My 1st Lesson

On Thursday, I gave my very first lesson- my expressive arts lesson. Our 1st graders do a unit on community so I wanted something loosely based in what they were learning. I read "Rainbow Fish" to the kids and had them fingerpaint their fish. To be a "community", they took turns painting each other's fish, thereby "helping" their community members finish a project.

I was nervous the entire week leading up to my lesson and, even walking in after lunch, my stomach was churning. I calmed when one of the boys said, "why are you videotaping" and I realized that I am lucky enough to student teach such an awesome group of kids that there was no need to be nervous. I only felt slight butterflies when I noticed the video camera on me.

It, of course, didn't go as smoothly as I would have hoped. At the end of the lesson, one of the students asked if they could glue a tin foil scale on their fish and I realized I had completely forgotten that part of my lesson. At the end of the lesson, I had the students sit down and give thumbs up or thumbs down if they liked the lesson. The only "thumbs down" I got was from a boy who likes to say no to everything - he's hilarious.

I know now that I need to work on transitions and closing - those were not so smooth. Wendy kept telling me it went great and those are the things that most teachers struggle with. That made me feel much better.

I'll put the lesson plan down here because, despite my flaws, I think it went really well and the students did seem to enjoy it. When I finally get the video loaded on, I will be sure to add pictures to this post.

  1. Title: Rainbow Fish in the Community
  2. Context: This lesson will be taught to 26 first graders. It will be a part of a larger month-long unit about Community. To the best of my current knowledge, there will be no previous addressing of sharing in a community; however, the students will have learned about community helpers, etc. Students do have a background in “tear art”, which I will be using to create the scales that will make up our “Rainbow Fish’. The lesson will take place in the classroom over the course of one hour. The children will move between their desks and the gathering area in the classroom.
  3. Objectives: Throughout this lesson, students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of sharing (a prosocial behavior) by sharing pieces of an art project with their fellow tablemates.
  4. Benchmarks: Beaverton School District Social Studies Learning Target: Acquire, organize and interpret and present information about family, classroom and school.

1st Grade Health Curriculum Target: Identify prosocial behaviors

  1. Preparation: Prior to running this lesson in the classroom, I will try it out at home with some willing volunteers.

Materials: Water Color Paint

26 White construction paper

26 White construction paper for fish (some with Fish printed on it; some without)

26 Tin foil scales


Cups of water

Paper Towels

Baby wipes

“Rainbow Fish” by Marcus Pfister

Other books from the “Rainbow Fish” collection

-Before the day of the lesson:

- I will draw two or three versions of a fish on paper and make

copies of each version on white construction paper to create a class set of 26.

- I will cut out 26 aluminum foil fish scales to be used in the creation of their fish

-Before students come in the classroom from lunch, “Rainbow Fish” will be

placed on the bulletin board.

-Each table group gets:

- 1 package of baby wipes for easy clean up

- 2- 3 tins of water color paints

- 2 cups of water

-Each desk gets:

- a piece of white construction paper

-Each student should already have:

- A glue stick

- A scissors

-On a separate table, there will be a set of Rainbow Fish’s other stories (however many I can find in the school library)

-Also on the back table, there will be previously cut aluminum foil scales and pre-drawn fish and paper so they can draw their own fish.

  1. Lesson Introduction/Set: (10 minutes)

-Students will be coming in from recess so, while they are lined up, before they come in from the playground, I will instruct the kids to come inside, take off and hang up their jackets and sit down at their desks. (As they come inside the classroom, I will remind them to go to their desks, as this is different than what they normally do.)

-Once everyone is seated at their desks, I will demonstrate what they will do.

-Students will begin by dipping their fingers in the cup of water in

front of them.

-They will then choose one color to use.

-They will then dip their now-wet fingers in the water color of their


-Using their finger tips, they will cover their paper in water color

finger prints.

-As they finish, I will ask them to sit at the gathering area on the carpet.

  1. Sharing Objectives: (15 mins)

-When everyone is gathered on the carpet, we will review what the students know about community (What is in a community? Who is in a community? What kinds of communities are there?)

-I will then introduce “Rainbow Fish” by explaining to the children that fish live in a community called a “school”.

-“Today we will discover how Rainbow Fish shared with the other fish in his community.”

-We will then read the book.

-When the book is finished, we will review what Rainbow Fish shared with his community. (Scales.) “How do you think that made the other fish feel?”

-“Remember the people that our in our community? What are some of the things we can share with these people?”

-I will tell the kids that we will be sharing our “scales” with the people at our table group communities. This will be how we practice sharing with the people in our school community. I will remind them that we have already shared our supplies when we made our scales by sharing water colors and cups of water.

-I will explain that they are to go back to their desks and either tear out or cut up scales from their finger painted paper. They will then choose to either cut a fish out from the pre-made fish drawings or they can draw and cut out their own fish and that they will then be sharing their scales with their tablemates and gluing them on to their rainbow fish.

  1. Learning activities: (30 mins)

-As students head back to their desks, I will turn on music quietly in the background for them to hear while they work.

-During this time students will create their fish. They will be allowed to create scales however they want. I will give them a couple of options: they can cut out various shapes with their scissors or they can tear out shapes, as they have done two other tear art activities in the classroom and are very familiar with how to do it.

-When their scales are all torn or cut up, students can choose to cut out a pre-drawn fish or draw and cut out their own. Once their fish is cut out, they will need to put their name on the back.

-Each student will pass some of their scales to the other students in their table group. I anticipate needing to assist this process at each table group. They will take out about sixteen of their scales to give to their tablemates. Each child will get about four of each tablemate’s scales.

-They will then glue the scales on their own fish.

-When all of the scales are glued on, they will go to the back table to get an aluminum foil scale to glue wherever they want on their fish.

-When it is all glued together, students can leave their desk and choose to read another book from the Rainbow Fish series or choose another book in the classroom. They can also help other students at their table to finish gluing their scales.

-Differentiations include:

-The ability to use a pre-made fish or draw their own fish.

-The ability to tear out their scales or cut them up.

-Books to read when they have finished

-Help from other students

Closure: (5 mins) We will wrap up the lesson when all of the students have finished their fish. I will ask the students what they remember about Rainbow Fish. We will briefly recall what we learned about sharing and brainstorm more ideas for sharing in the classroom.

Day 2 at the ELC

Today was day two in the ELC and I got to spend it in kindergarten. The regular teacher was out sick so Mr. Danny became the teacher and I got to be his assistant teacher. It was fun having a classmate as my acting mentor teacher. The kids were, reportedly, a little more talkative than usual, but talking has never bothered me.

During centers, I decided to have a meeting with the girls about being nice to each other because they were each taking turns excluding each other. I kind of thought the girls wars started later on- apparently I was wrong. I think that was an important lesson to learn today.

I continue to enjoy watching the ideals of the program put in to practice. Today, I got a lot of practice using them myself.


Hi and welcome!

This is a blog to follow me through my adventures in student teaching. I am student teaching in a first grade classroom and a fourth grade classroom. So far, it has been a great experience.

Today was my first day in the ELC. It was interesting to see the tenants of what we are taught put into practice totally. I think what stuck out to me most was the kids running around in bare feet in the classroom. This is something I wouldn't see in a public school but I love the idea that, if the kids are comfortable that way, it's okay. I want to figure out how to bring this into my own classroom.

That's all I have for today... Lots of catch up to do tonight!