Saturday, October 2, 2010

First lesson at SES

On Thursday I taught my first lesson and I think it went pretty great! Like I have said before, it is nice that we get there for the day at the end of lunch and the class goes directly to recess. While KB was at recess, I was able to go over the SmartBoard part of the lesson that I had not seen before. Mrs. Lacey is so encouraging and helpful so I was immediately put at ease. First, to APK, we reread a book about 10 warthogs that they had been reading all week. Since my lesson was on the number 10 this was a good way to move in to a new lesson. After we read the book together, we did several SB screens on the number 10 including writing the number, counting out loud, etc. There were several opportunities for students to participate and move around which I think they enjoy.
After the group lesson, they split in to small groups and I led the group on the SB with a game called Fishin Mission (which kindergartners looovee). It was nice to break down into groups of 3-5. Since the groups rotate through the centers, this gave me a chance to fine tune (work is still to be done trust me!) my direction giving skills. I found myself thinking back to a class discussion that "behave" does not describe a behavior. You have to explain your expectations clearly or you leave room for behavior issues. By the last group, I had figured out how to explain the game, the rules for behavior, and how to incorporate actual learning. Often times, I feel like when left alone to play a game in center, students are not learning anything. Although they enjoy it, they need someone there to monitor what is being done otherwise its just waste of (school) time. For example, in Fishin Mission, you are given a number of fish to drag into the net. As you progress through the game and move to higher levels, you have to not only drag a certain number of fish, but also a certain color. When you are successful at your task a message pops up saying "Great Job!", "Fantastic!"... "Way to go" etc and you are on to the next turn. Ok sounds fun? Educational? If I wasn't there, they would have just dragged fish into the net as fast as they could until the message popped up, paying no attention to what they were doing. I know I sound like a mean old teacher and I don't mean to come across like that. I am just saying what I observed. I am all for kids having fun and enjoying their school day... but you guys know what I mean!
Another Lemov technique I noticed being used in my classroom is 100 percent. Mrs. Lacey and Mrs. White have explained to Lindsay and I how much they worked on procedures the first couple weeks of school. Any visitor to this classroom can tell how hard these two teachers worked. The book explains how important it is to not compromise on your rules. Mrs. L and Mrs. W do not give anyone a break when it comes to being silent, lining up, being respectful, sitting in their square safely, etc. They take the time and energy to make SURE that every child is ready to learn. I respect this about them and think it is not only great for the culture of this class, but great for the future of the KB students as they progress in their school career. The language they have adopted from the 7 habits seems to be highly effective ;). All they have to say is are you being proactive? Are you making positive decisions? etc.
At the end of the day as they moved in to writing, I was able to witness Mrs. Lacey in her "element" as she puts it. While working on an example of their writing assignment, the class worked together to spell out the words in the sentence "I like blue cupcakes". They used several techniques that later Mrs. Lacey explained were from the Rode to the Code system of learning phonological awareness. She sent me home with an extra book full of explanations and lesson plans. I am curious if either of you girls have ever used this technique and what you think of it?? I welcome your feedback!!
As always, I am looking forward to another week at SES and I hope you both had great weeks!

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