Monday, February 7, 2011

Student Teaching Shenanigans: Second Observation

This past Thursday, I had my second observation and, let me say, it was far from the cake walk that the first one was. My observation was taking place right after lunch, during the students math lesson, which for me was difficult because math is very challenging to teach and even when I was in school, it was not my favorite subject.  The focus of the observation was my ability to create and teach a well constructed lesson plan which includes an anticipatory set (something to start the lesson with) and a good closing.

The week itself was kind of bizarre, I had planned to do a math lesson before the day of observation, but with all of the snow days we have been getting, it was hard to fit it in, so my observation lesson was my first lesson. To add to the craziness, the cold and snow have caused the children not to go outside and run around for recess for about 2 months.  Needless to say, they have cabin fever.  What scared me about the cabin fever was that this math lesson involved manipulatives, which are hands on materials to help them to learn the concept; in this lesson, it was fake dimes and pennies.  When you give students hands on items, you officially lose their attention, even if they have been outside for recess, so the cabin fever just intensified the lack of attention.

Like I said, the lesson was right after lunch, and it was this day that the students had earned the reward of eating lunch in the classroom with the teacher.  While they had lunch, I was finishing getting my lesson set up. I was a little nervous, but I wasn't going to let it get to me because I have handled this class for 3 weeks now and I knew that I could take care of the lesson.  I did get a bit of a shake up about 5 minutes before my supervisor walked in; as one of the students was throwing their lunch away, another student bumped into them and they spilled their milk. The milk did not just spill on the floor, but also splashed up and landed all over the back of my pant leg. This really got me flustered for a minute, but I stayed in control and focused on the task ahead.

As my supervisor Marilyn came in and got settled, I began my lesson.  The beginning of the lesson was doing Calendar with the students, a system the students have been familiar with for the whole year.  This went relatively smoothly except for one boy who decided that this would be the perfect time to become defiant.  He was not sitting in his chair correctly so I did not invite him to the rug for the first part of calendar until he decided to sit correctly.  He was very frumpy but he sat there.  After a little bit, I said he could come to the rug and he said "No, I dont want to". I told him once again to join us on the rug and even told him where to sit so he wouldn't get in more trouble and he continued to defy me.  Luckily, my co-op saw I was struggling and had a talk with the boy on how to behave.  After that, he came to the rug and we continued calendar without a problem.

The next part was the math lesson, the concept being dimes and pennies and how to buy things.  For this lesson, each student had a cup of dimes and pennies and I had objects with prices on them that the students had to pretend to buy. To sum up this section, it was a mess! I dropped a couple cups of dimes, the kids kept jingling the cups, they didn't want to listen, I had to stop 10 different times to get them to be quiet, one kid went back to his seat because he wasn't was just insane.  Somehow though, we got through it and I taught the lesson the best that I could.  I still had to teach a worksheet, but my co-op said that she would do that while I talked to my supervisor. For this I was kind of glad, I was tired, so Marilyn and I went to an office and had a conference, which I really thought would not go well.

To my surprise, Marilyn thought I did a great job! She completely understood what was happening in the classroom and how and why the kids were behaving the way they were and she thought I handled it well!  I was shocked, I did not expect such a rave review.  She did give me some pointers to work on and some tips for working with manipulatives.  My third and final observation in Maria's classroom is next Tuesday, the 15th during a reading lesson, focusing on questioning tactics. I cannot believe I am a third of the way done student teaching already!!

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