Practicum Reflection: Week #3
This week was officially my first full week of teaching. There was a PD day during Week 1 and a holiday and some snow days during Week 2. This week was five straight days of teaching, and I LOVED it! I really feel like I am getting into the groove of teaching, especially at the intermediate division.
The goal I outlined for myself this week was to gain a better since of my students through analyzing the social aspect of my classroom culture. At the very essence, my classroom is loud, but I have come to realize that a loud classroom does not necessarily mean unproductive. My students are very close with one another and show love and support for each other as friends. This definitely plays a role in the learning taking place within the classroom walls.
Implementing group work was something that I was hesitant with at first because my students were always so loud and sometimes distracted by their peers. However, after thinking about it critically from a teacher’s standpoint, I realized that the students would benefit from group work in many ways. Firstly, collaborative learning would greatly benefit the students that require differentiation or are learning at a lower grade level. Additionally, I could provide my students with more content-heavy assessments since they had more hands and minds to work on it. Lastly, my students would have more fun working with their peers, which at the end of the day is what gave me the confidence to implement group work.
There was an assignment due this week in Language that required group work. For this assessment, I allowed students to choose their own groups with the hopes of students feeling more comfortable to collaborate with each other. Here are some examples of the final products:
While most groups excelled at the task and demonstrated the necessary skills to accomplish group work, there were some that were not so successful. It was apparent that some groups were too distracted by their peers to complete the work in time and to the best of their ability. This is something that I will keep in mind as I continue to use group work in my classroom, reminding me that some students require knowledge and experience for how to properly and effectively collaborate with their peers.
This week, I also really wanted to get my students more active during their learning. To start with, I took my class on a little field trip… AKA a trip to the field. They got to discover the schoolyard ecosystem and list the various biotic and abiotic features that are right in our own backyard.
Later in the week, I was trying to come up with a fun and engaging way for my students to practice their mean, median, and mode skills. Little did I know, the cards I was playing with at the time would soon become my next engaging math lesson! Realistically, I should have known… There are 101 ways that you can incorporate a deck of cards into a math lesson. I create 7 stations, each equipped with a random selection of playing cards, and they had to record the mean, median, and mode for each. The students seemed to get really into it, and they loved the fact that they were able to get up out of their seats and walk to each station posted in the hallway. Definitely a successful lesson that I will do again with my future classes!
Towards the end of the week, we unfortunately had to lose our our gym time to another event happening in the school. However, this did not mean that we would lose our Physical Education lesson! Luckily, I had a Daily Physical Activity (DPA) stored in my back pocket from the PD day that I attended two weeks prior. We used recycled paper to go “ice skating” around our classroom. Each student had two pieces, one for each foot, and had a blast skating forward, backward, and in circles. What would a winter-based activity be without a snowball fight to cap it off?! Yes, that’s right… We had an indoor snowball fight by crumpling up the paper, dividing the class into two teams, and trying to have the least amount of “snowballs” on their side at the end of a minute. The students had an absolute blast! Just don’t tell the principal…
Looking forward to another full week coming up next week!