Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Observation Hours - As of 9/29/09

Starting Date: 9/2/09 - Present Date: 9/29/09

75.5 Hours out of 138 Hours

5 Lessons Taught out of 7 Lessons ( Will most likely teach more)

What's Next?
1. Interviews on Effective Teaching
2. Interviews on Behavior Problems and Teaching Strategies
3. Video Recording of Teaching (My Teacher & Mine) - Comparison and Contrast
4. More Observation Notes - Compared to my first observation notes
5. Preparing for Life Skills/Study Skills Lesson Plans

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Educational Journal - #4

What does it mean to have a community of learners?
Well from my perspective at the school I am in, Sophie B Wright’s community of learners is pretty interesting. Even though the school itself is mixed gender wise, not so much racially, the specific classroom periods are singled gendered. The top class, 7A and 8A, are mixed gender, but 7B and 8B on down to 7D and 8D all are single gendered. Also, the single gendered classrooms are students who have 504 Accommodations. These are students who have learning disabilities, not so much physical disabilities. Therefore, I am shaping my opinion on this question from my classroom experience. This community of learners is people who share the same intellect that we have tested for. When I look at these students, I see a community of learners who struggle together and succeed together. I also see these learners struggle individually and then succeed individually. I see these learners act a complete fool in the classroom sometimes, and then there are other days where they are just the sweetest children you could have ever met. This is a community that is inquisitive, but independent. They are personal, yet distant. They are aggressive, yet timid. I mean to define this community of learners in on specific or just in a few words, seems hard because of the relationship I have built with these children. I can say that all community of learners goes through the previous descriptions I have stated, and others don’t, however, I believe that a community of learners ultimately shares something that no other school or community has. They share a certain uniqueness within themselves that no other student has, yet they seem to, in some instances, look homogeneous. How is that possible? How can that be? See the thing with this community is that they are part of different communities. They don’t all live in the same area, they don’t all stay near each other. They live in different parts of New Orleans. There is the eastbank and the westbank. These are places with two separate cultures, yet a new community is built with these different cultures inside the school.

How has the teacher created this classroom environment?
I have an amazing teacher. Day-by-day I can see why I have her as a mentor. She has created a environment at this point in school that is trying to get to know the students. She is constantly moving them from group to group, to see which students will work together and which students will not work together. She is using different strategies when teaching lessons and trying to get her students to understand the importance of what she is getting across to them. Sometimes it is a little hard, but then again there are other times where she is struggling because of the middle school years in adolescence. However, she has used pictures and class visuals, as well as me. I have been called upon on the spur of the moment times where I have had to teach while she walks out or is at her desk. I have had to teach because I have asked to teach because we have seen the response from students when she teaches, which is still good, and when I teach, again, it’s still good responses.
How do you know when you have achieved this?
I don’t know when I have achieved this; I only know when this is going on. I don’t have a set limit that the students have to meet; I just know the small general area they have to work towards. I just hope that they know when they have achieved being a better community of learners. I think when they personally understand and know, then that has the biggest impact on any student regardless of my take on the process.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

HOURS: 9/2/09 through 9/18/09



Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My First Culiminative Activity - 8th Grade Lousiana State History

My culminating Project was a scavenger hunt I had the students do to understand the concepts of culture in Lousiana.

Instructions: Students will be able to find artifacts that represent a festival in Lousiana culture.

Groups must do the following: 1. Split into groups of four
a. write down each group memebers name
b. assign responsibilities to each person

2. Find ten Artifacts that represent their festival from a list of given to you below
a. each artifact must be labeled
b. a description of why this artifact was chosen

3. Be creative as possible using clear covers, posters, photo albums, or other type of visual presentations

An item representing a Lousiana festival
the words of a song about Lousiana
a picture with an example of Lousiana Architecture
A Louisiana sports team T-shirt
Mardi Gras Beads
An example of technology that influences Louisiana's culture
A picture of a student dressed in a costume for a special event
A brochure from a Louisiana tourist attraction
An item from nature that relates to Louisiana culture
A newspaper article about a Louisiana cultural event
A recipe for a Louisiana food
An ad for a restaurant featuring Louisiana food
A picture of a student with a family member
An item that came from another town in Louisiana
An item from a family reunion
An itemwith the name of a Louisiana college on it
A souvenir with "louisana" written on it
A towy that relates to Louisiana's culture

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

First Week Experience - Sophie B. Wright/ Educational Journal - #3

First Week Observations
So I started school this week. All I was doing was introducing myself to the children and watch their every move. I didn’t have to do much. If they needed anything I did help if needed, but I stayed at my teacher’s desk while she taught and interacted with the children. I helped around the class where she needed help but I was mostly quiet and getting ready to start teaching my first day on Friday.
So far, I think I am going to really enjoy the all male classes. See the school is a mixed school from grades 5-10. The plan is to make it 6-12 in the next 2 years. The school is made up of boys and girls, however, the classes themselves don’t have that much gender mixing. All of the lower classes or students who have been identified with 504 Accommodations are in single gendered classes. The top students who scored high on the benchmark exam are in mixed gendered classes. This is something that the principle just implemented since her tenure at the school since 2000. I don’t know what this means or how this effects learning, but in 138 hours of observation, I will most likely figure this out sooner or later.
Now the schools in New Orleans are non-district and most of them are charter schools. So what is so special with such schools? Well the first is that any student can attend the school, no matter what part of the city they live in. If the school is good then many people are going to want to get their children in, however, the school has completely autonomy. They can accept and deny students if they choose. In New Orleans, just because one school is performing poorly, that student is not guaranteed to another school or gets any type of assistance to move. Also the principal has completely autonomy. She can fire and hire people as she pleases. She doesn’t have to do all the paper work and evaluations that other principles do in district educational systems. They can put in reforms that they want and be able to change schools as they please, and not have to go through the school board to get approval or have to go through the “central office”.
My first downfall experience I have had with the students this week. All I was doing this week was observing the classroom. I wasn’t teaching. Unfortunately, when the first group of boy’s class walked in, we had a little altercation. As soon as they walked in, one of the young men walked in the class and looked towards another young man and said, “Hey man he looks exactly like you”. Well at first you think he would have been talking about my kin folk but he wasn’t. He was looking at another “gay student”. So I looked gay by his standard and comparing me to this other student. This guy has never met me before but already he assumes that I am gay. Even though I get this all the time, it still makes me think. How much of him is speaking and how much of his parents are speaking? He may know what a gay man is and what a straight man is, however, trying to judge someone is questionable. Well you probably were guessing what happened afterwards. Well I heard what was said and then my teacher heard it at the same time. I didn’t have to do anything because she went to town on them. She got them. She talked about their studying habits, their ignorance. She also talked about their very poor reading levels, their grade in the class and their future if they keep up the way they have been. Then the principal, the assistant principal and the dean of students walked in the classroom to finish taking care of the situation. So after the principal found out who said what then that student was suspended. So I guessed that the day I was going to teach was going to be harder than I thought. I hope my teaching day goes smoothly. I don’t know if I could ever teach this class. I mean I get this all the time, but it still hurts. I mean I couldn’t show the students that my feelings were hurt, but time after time, it still pokes me a little. When you think you have moved from it, it still comes to haunt you.
So I taught my first class on Friday. All I did was plan little games that helped them get ready for their vocabulary test for the following week. I had a bingo game where I said the definition and they had to guess the word. Then I played a student-expert game, where they had to find someone in the class who had an experience that matched the description in the box given. Once they found that person, everyone who had signed their name in the box had to share their experience of that particular description. Then I gave them a cross word puzzle to challenge them. It was Friday, so I figured the day should end on a good not at least.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Education Journal - Entry #2

1. What was your first impression of the students in your placement?
When I first noticed my students, my first impression was that it was going to be hard. I don’t think that I will be able to make it. I am pretty scared to teach in front of these children because they are aggressive. What is most interesting about my first impression is that most of the classes are one gendered. I am not used to teaching a class of only one gendered classrooms before. I think I will be getting close to some students because I see myself in them and in others I can see that I will be getting close to them because they are different. I like different because different brings uniqueness to the table and opens my eyes to a different world. They share with me things that I can learn about. It will give me a better insight on schools, community, family and friends. I think I will enjoy being in this class because of the challenges. I like a challenge and I like the fact that this experience will not be just a walk in the park.

2. Did you feel as if you fit right in or were you very nervous and apprehensive? Why or Why not?
I believe I fit because of my teacher. We have personalities that match. I think I was put in the right place with my teacher. When I see her teach, I see myself and how I want to teach. I want to be able to connect with my students as well as make sure that they get the information that they need to be critical thinkers. I fit in my class because my teacher and I are very excited to be teachers and excited to be teaching Social Studies. She makes me feel as though I will be able to teach her students even though I am only there three days a week and because she knows that the environment is totally different from my environment in Texas. She constantly encourages me even though I may be sitting at her desk and just observing the class. She also walks me through the lesson plans so that I can consciously think about my lesson plans and how I am teaching her students. I am happy that I have been put with the teacher and the class.

3. Did your demeanor lend itself to a conducive and collaborative beginning for your placement?
I think my demeanor did lend itself to a conducive and collaborative beginning for my placement. This is a question that you would probably have to ask my teacher and my students. I am not conscious enough to know if my demeanor was good or bad. In my mind, I would say yes, but to someone else it may not be as conducive or collaborative. I must answer this question at a different time.

4. Now that you have observed your placement, what 5 activities would you include on a "Things to Do" list? And who will they benefit?
1. My things to do list would be the following:
a. Visual Presentations
b. Direct Instruction
c. Student Expert Lesson
d. Cooperative Learning Groups
e. KWL – Know, Want to Know, Learned
All of these activities will help every student and even the teacher. It helps the students because they are exposed to new ways of learning. I don’t know if they have been exposed to this or not, but if they have then I can also show them the same exact activities, just in more advanced ways. Also, it helps the teacher because she is exposed to new ways of teaching and can use these lessons even when I am gone. I am also thinking about activities that have to do with food, where they will have a cultural day. They will experience different foods and different kinds of cultures. I am also thinking about a field trip to the Louisiana Museum where they are going to have to answer questions and then make a presentation. Currently, my Louisiana state history class is going a scavenger hunt for 10 items out of 18 listed, that represents a Louisianan culture. I will let my readers know how that goes and what project that was when I publish my next blog.

* Be looking out later today for me answering these questions*