Year 2 Practicum Reflection: Week #8
Just like that, the final week of my evaluated practicum has come to an end! It has been a long journey getting to this point, full of long nights of planning and marking, and many visits to the online world of education. I guess this is what being a teacher is all about!
— Spencer Burton (@spencerburtonca) December 12, 2016
The week started off with a bus cancellation… Welcome to Ottawa! We joined two classes together and worked on some language throughout the morning. The first thing the students did was read an article and answer some comprehension and inference questions using the website readworks.org. This is a very neat tool in that it lets you assign a specific article and the teacher gets to view the responses and success rate for each student.
Later in the morning, we gave each student a chromebook and had them begin writing a story about the Christmas/winter season. In 5 minute intervals, the students would write and then pass off the chromebook to someone else. That person would continue the story and so on and so forth until we’ve had about 5 students write on the same story. We wrapped up the activity by reading some of the final products and it was fun to see how the story took a different turn with each new contributor.
This week in particular was full of culminating tasks. I had the students work on a descriptive writing task that had them creating and describing their own robot, something which I had modeled for them a week or two earlier. Their creativity was definitely flowing and their robots turned out really well. I made my way around the classroom and allowed the students to read me their descriptive writing to see whether or not I could draw their robot, which proved to be a great way to enforce editing and revision in their work. Here is the task description and the success criteria that I provided to the students:
Another culminating task that we worked on in Science was a hands-on, inquiry-based experiment. We surprised the students by taking them out of the classroom and visiting the “secret science laboratory” in the school: the staff room! The students were so excited to enter into the staff’s territory and conduct their own messy experiment. I had step-by-step instructions, a P-O-E chart (predict, observe, explain), and materials set up in stations around the room and the students worked in groups of 3 to create Oobleck Slime. I found this task to be very intuitive for the students, since the slime is a solid when pressure is applied and a liquid when there is no pressure. THIS is what science is all about!
This week was filled with advent-related activities! I facilitated an advent lesson where students in groups of 4 read one of many advent stories from the bible together as a group. They discussed its meaning and at what point during advent it took place. As a group, the students created a placemat with 4 sections: re-tell the passage, God’s meaning, a Catholic Graduate Expectation that is present, and a picture of the scene.
Students also performed for their parents in a wonderful presentation of Once Upon a Starry Night. There were lights, costumes, actors, and a choir… It truly felt like we were at a theatre performance!
We celebrate Advent with Father Jessie#ocsb pic.twitter.com/8dRH5ZKr9i
— OLMC School (@OLMCOttawa) December 14, 2016
On the last day of my placement, I was given a wonderful gift from all of the students that I had taught throughout my placement: my morning grade 5s, my afternoon grade 5/6s, and my after school grade 4/5/6s! They gave me a copy of my all time favourite book “The Giving Tree”, which had lovely messages written inside from the students and my associate teachers.
Reflecting back on my final practicum and feeling thankful for all of the opportunities, relationships, and learning that I experienced! pic.twitter.com/p8hnl8fQyy
— Spencer Burton (@spencerburtonca) December 19, 2016
I am very thankful for every experience that I had at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Elementary School. There were some tough days and many good days. There were some moments where I felt down-and-out, and some moments where I felt incredible, like I was making a difference in the lives of others. There were some days where I experienced some tough situations of bullying, and some days where I laughed with all of my students. This is growing up. This is education. This is teaching.