Thursday, January 24, 2013

Teaching experience this week

My supervisor has been out for 3 days.  These are the chronicles of some experiences I had during these days.  I have been reading the storybook: A Chair for my Mother by Vera B. Williams. I had students guess how much money one of the meidum sized jars would hold.  Mrs. Hinton had told me $195.00. Then, I asked the students to look at the large glass jar and imagine it was full of nickels, dimes, and quarters.  "What would you buy with the money? I asked.  "Don't tell us aloud, keep it to yourself."  We talked about armchairs and I showed them various examples of armchairs, backless chairs, and dinner chairs.  The students drew a picture of what they wanted to buy on the back of the word find and then commenced to work on finding the vocabulary words.  I also made allowance for the students who returned their books to check books out with their library cards.

Yesterday a student was disruptive, talkative, and dancing when he was supposed to be following explicit directions. So I asked him to go to the wall and face it. That didn't accomplish what it was supposed to because the student was distracted by things on the wall and turned around to the things on my desk. So, I asked him to sit down. And when he continued to get out of his seat and dance to entertain the class, I gave him a blank sheet of paper and the rules for care of the library books, as well as the classroom rules for him to copy along with a pencil. He grumbled and pouted and then broke his pencil tip, so I told him it was too bad. Basically, I believed he broke it on purpose. So, I told him, if he didn't begin to do the assignment, I would notify the assistant principal. He didn't want that, but continued to grumble and say he was not going to do it. So, I called her cell phone and told her the situation. She told me she would be right down. Now, the reason I called her, is to show everyone else who had the bad behavior bug, to chill out and fall in line—which was the result, when she arrived. The students listened up when she left and the student got to work on his assignment with the sharpened pencil she gave him. She asked to see his work after class was over. If I needed her again, she informed him that his parents would be contacted. He did his work, even staying after class was completed to finish. I told him to go on to class and that I would get it to her—which I did at my first free moment. When he was getting ready to leave, I asked him if he behaved like that for his regular classroom teacher. He said, "no". I said, "Why did you behave like that today?" he told me it was because other people were messing with him. I told him, "You cannot allow other people to determine your behavior. Or make you get in trouble.  Did the others get in trouble?" I asked.  He said, "no".   I said, " You are in trouble all by yourself. It is you who makes the decisions for yourself, not other students. Do you know the rules of the classroom?" He said, "yes". I said, "Next time, I hope you will follow them." He said, "okay". He seemed to be sorry for his behavior and determined to do better next time. I try to do pep talks when there might be the benefit of the doubt that I missed in punishment. That way we come to an understanding and they leave with good feelings about themselves and the possibility of better behavior next time.  I also I want to show concern for them and still be one of their favorite teachers.

When I did a countdown just after the bell rang for them to bring me their books, I got a quicker and better response from the kids by the time I reached one. No stragglers. When I didn't do the countdown, I had several stragglers and had to repeat myself over and over again.
When I used the term vocabulary words, something went off in their heads, but I don't think they knew why they had vocabulary words until they recieved their word find. So, a better introduction to the topic and the need to learn the vocabulary words is called for next time.

When I compliment the way that many are sitting, others follow suit. When I give students a task to help me with, they respond more readily to other instruction.  Sometimes I will allow the student who asks if they can help me to assist me nowadays with passing out papers, collecting pencils, etc.. I used to tell them not to ask me or they won't get chosen. That might result in hurt feelings. So, now the first volunteer who doesn't disrupt the whole class, is chosen to help.

By letting the students know that as long as their behavior is exemplary they can play a game, monitoring their behavior, making an assessment and rewarding accordingly, I can let the particular group of students know that when they get out of hand, their privilege will get taken away. Encourage them by saying, next time, show me better behavior and we will play the game.

Next week on Monday, she will be out again, and there will be no sub notes.  I am looking forward to planning my own lesson for that day if she deems it acceptable.  We stay in close contact even when she is out, so that if I have any concerns she is there for me.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Oak Park Elementary Library Practicum Experience

I learned many tips about library management my first day at Oak Park. Ms. Hinton informed me that it is best not to place books straight as a ruler on the shelves, but rather to stagger them a little to prevent kids from tearing the tops of the book spines if they are too tightly packed on the shelves. I also learned a quick technique for repairing books that have been written on; Sandpaper removes writing on the sides of books.

I asked Ms. Hinton if she has ever had any censorship issues or challenges. She told me of a few. I was happy to learn about these real-life instances and encouraged to use a similar scenario if not the same one to demonstrate an attempt to censor library materials or restrict access and explain how the Library Bill of Rights relates to the challenge. After I write my paper, I will attempt to share my findings here on my blog.

On my first day, I told Ms. Hinton about my experience in book repair. She encouraged me to order some supplies with which to repair books for next year. She allowed me to send in my approval form for the practicum this morning, just before both of us were called to duty as proctors for the Snapshot exam. They needed everybody they could get, so I was ushered into a classroom to proctor. I was however, able to complete the requisition form before retiring for the day.

On my second day, we worked on locating a school library mission statement for Oak Park. I was able to observe Ms. Hinton teaching a lesson and to complete my video introduction for LIS 491 and upload it.

What I learned from the whole experience of creating a video, is that nobody is perfect, but practice just might help you better prepare. Now, I knew what I was going to say, I had it written down, but I didn’t have anything too much like a teleprompter to make it look as though I'm looking in the camera. So, that is why I am many times looking down. I have learned that when I give my oral reports and lessons to the class, I need to have in mind exactly what I am going to say, and how long I am going to say it. Preferably, I should memorize or outline it to aide in memory. I perform poetry quite well and all, especially audio, but this type of on the spot timing, etc. was not simple. While trying to record this, I had the problem of using too many words and running over the allotted 60-90 seconds. My first time was 4 minutes. My second time was 2 minutes. This time, by writing out what I was going to say and encapsulating it into 1 minute 15 seconds I was able to make the mark, but may have fallen short for not improvising it.

Friday I spend 2 hours with Ms. Hinton going over protocol for daily running of the library. She informed me first of how to do the magazines. She instructed me that I can barcode them if desired. The books from Masonite must be checked out to teachers at the beginning of the year and returned to the library at the end of the year. Another great tip she gave me was to not use teacher's names to label items, but rather use they room number for identification. The room number can be used for check-outs too. Only teacher's can check out reference materials.

She told me that she tries to stay away from paperbacks and that I probably should too, unless, with my repairing and preservation skills, I want to undergo the time-consuming task of putting protective plastic covers on them.

Apparently, the library is the hub for times when teacher's printers are not working. Each ink cartridge costs $200. It is a lot! However, each cartridge makes up to 7,000 copies.

I learned so many exciting things in just these three days, but this is only a sample of what I took in. For more information on my practicum please tune right here next Sunday.