Sunday, February 10, 2013

Lessons Learned

I learned this week that cognitivist theory is best used when teaching concepts and procedures.  I can use this information to help prepare my students for success at the beginning of the year.  Ms. Hinton has already taught and reinforced many procedures in her classroom. I took note of these this week.  She has a procedure for coming in the classroom (kids drop books in basket and sit at assigned seats).  She has a procedure for getting their library card and checking out books (she scans their card to see if they owe any books and determines how many books they can check out if any). She has a procedure for checking out books (She sets the timer and they must return to her checkout line by the time the timer goes off).   When it is time to go, the teacher waves her hand good-bye to the students and they prepare themselves to go by standing up and pushing in their chair.  They wait behind their chair to be dismissed. All these procedures have been rehearsed.  Even then, some students fail to do what is expected of them.  Perhaps I can come up with mnemonics or a song of some sort to teach them the procedure.  Like, “Wave goodbye, time to rise, push in your seat, I’ll see you next week blue table (red, black, green, etc.)”  This is just an idea.  And it might only work for the younger kids, not sure.  She also had classroom rules.  And one set of rules I didn’t know anything about at first: Tie your shoes, comb your hair, and use the restroom before you come in.  I need to get the complete list of things that she said. I am going from memory on this.

Some of the tasks I did were calling out library card names, checking out the books to the students, and running the laminating machine.  I learned that in case of emergency, the machine can go backward to release perhaps an article of clothing that gets caught.  I also learned to keep my fingers away from the hot film.  She showed me a burn from the time she didn’t do so. 

We sat down and talked again about what learning experiences I needed to have in the practicum.  She had forgotten about the checklist for the supervisor. So, I made sure she took a copy of it home to review and we talked about how we can apply the skills to my experience in the school library.  One thing we talked about was periodical management.    She suggested that I might consider ordering online periodicals to allow access in the individual classrooms.  She uses EBSCO to order print copies of the periodicals.  She said that you have to send a guess on the price of the subscription to central office, and then they pay the invoice when it is received from the company.  There is no backorder of resources.  She gave me the information on how to renew periodical subscriptions.

I observed her lessons as well.  Ms. Hinton gave a recap of last week by asking students if they had done their homework.  Their assignment was to watch the news on Saturday (Ground Hog Day) and report to her whether or not the groundhog saw his shadow.  Students didn’t show much evidence of having done the assignment, yet she called on students to give their thoughts on whether or not he had done so.  She told them, that no, he did not see his shadow, which meant that there was to be an early spring.  She told them that the only way to be sure would be to follow the weather report for the next 6 weeks to determine if the groundhog was accurate.  He has only a 39% success rate—which was not very good.

She proceeded to talk about the month of February.  Most of her information was lecture style at first.  She informed them that February is the shortest month with only 28 days this year, but that for the shortest month, there’s a lot going on in it.  She said that they had Groundhog Day, and Valentine’s is coming up, as well as President’s Day on Feb. 18th.  She used active learning, by asking them to feel on their wrist for their pulse.  She asked them if they felt that, they nodded yes.  She told them that the pulse is the heart beat and that their veins pumps blood, food, oxygen, and waste throughout the body. February is Heart Health Month when they will learn about exercise and eating good. She also told them that February is Black History Month, and provided a plug about classification when she told them that a biography is a true story about a real person. 

February is also Dental Health month.  She informed students that the only bone we actually can see on a person are their teeth.  She had a cut out of a tooth and showed them that the top was called the crown and the bottom, the root which cannot be seen because it is in the gum.  She told the students that teeth have different jobs; to tear, to grind, etc.  The school has a dentist visit this month to check students’ teeth.  She let them know that a dentist only works with teeth and helps to keep teeth healthy.

                I was very impressed at the wide range of knowledge my supervisor contained within.  I wondered if I would be as effective as her in telling about the things that I know, or would I have to read a book first to become more knowledgeable about a particular subject matter.  She went on to say that no two people have the same set of teeth or fingerprints.  She did mention many things I knew about, but wasn’t sure I could recall for a lecture.   She mentioned forensics to the students by telling them about a burn victim who was identified by her teeth that matched with her dental records.

She wanted to get across to the kids that if they take care of their teeth, they can last a lifetime, but if they don’t, they might need false teeth called dentures.  She had pulled several books on the subject of teeth and she did really short book talks on them. 

She went over with the students how to find their particular book read on the AR reading site.  She said that she had two books with similar titles and in order to ensure that the correct book comes up, they must look at the sticker on the inside upper left hand corner of the book and type in the quiz number.  To make sure they are taking the English [En] and not the Spanish [Sp] version.  Also, they learned that if the wrong test comes up, they tell the computer, “Do not want to take the test.”  She does not want the students to bring the book back until they have taken the AR test on it.  I was unsure of this at first because I was telling the students to bring the books back even if they haven’t taken the test, so I could recheck it out to them. 

The last class was fifth grade and they had not had much time on the unit she taught on the “Good Ole Days.”  So Ms. Hinton gathered several objects together.  She had a set of items that she wanted the students to match up to another set of items on the table.  Each group got one or two items.  They were to discuss what it was and which item it should be matched with.  Most of the items were foreign to the students, such as the crochet needle, the corn cob, the oil can, and the bottle opener, as well as the juice opener.  The two items properly matched up were the aspirin bottle with the medicine bottles, and the negatives with the photo.  The corn cob was intended to be matched with the toilet paper roll because in the good ole days people used a corn cob as their tissue.  And much later they used Sears Roebuck catalogs.   The oil can (looked like it was the one used on Tin Man), was to be matched with the modern can of household oil.  The crochet needle was to be matched with the yarn.  And the bottle opener was to be matched with a can of corn.  This was a great active learner activity, which was kinesthetic, visual, and engaging.  I think that there are ways I can incorporate matching games with artifacts as well.  My strengths lay in poetry, written word, art, music, Spanish and I can say goodnight in many different language, and the beach.  I once did an artifact activity in history class and we had to tell about a person’s life from things like playbills, and tickets, and rocks, etc.  I still remember that activity till this day.  I have a feeling the students at my school will not soon forget what they learned either.

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