Week one: Oct 11th-17th
I have grade ones; the first week was amazing Mrs. Adams commented on how she had never seen them behave like they were when we were with them. The learning environment was energetic yet calm; the kids would get all excited and start to talk and get loud a lot but when they worked, they were peaceful and quiet. The students I spoke with the most or focused on the most was the trouble makers; I tend to concentrate more on them because get yelled at a lot and sometimes it’s too much and they need to talk to a friendly face. So, I got on their good side, and when they were making a disruption, I would ask them kindly to stop what they are doing, and they listened because I built a positive relationship with them. I got lots of hugs by the end of the day, and I was told I am nice, and they loved me.
The classroom setting is very different I went to a public elementary school, so we did not have the Bible scriptures or crosses hanging on the walls. As well as my school was very colorful, there were lots of blues, yellows, reds, etc. whereas St. Gregory is very bland. However, everyone was friendly all the teachers were wearing lots of colors. My school in Yorkton was also a lot bigger, but the smaller classroom setting felt more comfortable because you felt closer to the students. Overall my first day was great! Very friendly teachers and an amazing group of kids.
Week Two: October 18th-24th
Last week we worked with the gym teacher and Briana did not have a positive experience with her. However, though we did not have a good first impression of her and did not like how she treated the kids, I just watched an examined her teaching styles and took some good parts into consideration as a future teacher. I liked how she had a silent circle when the kids were not behaving, she told them to go to the quiet circle, and they sat there till the were silent. This week during the grade one’s gym time instead of going to watch them play games Briana wanted to go to a high-level class because she is going into Secondary. So, we got permission to help in the grade 5/6 split class, I cannot remember the teacher’s name, but she has been graduated and teaching for five years, and it is her first year teaching at St. Gregory. Mrs. Adams the grade one teacher has also been teaching for five years, but she has been teaching at St. Gregory her whole five years, and she graduated from the University of Regina! The surrounding community is very friendly all the teachers seem to be in positive terms, parents are sociable, it is an overall great community. The links between the school and community are the respect and knowledge everyone has for each other everyone is accepting and respectful towards one another. Mrs. Adams has this Dojo app that connects what is going on in the classroom to the students’ parents. If a student is misbehaving the student loses a point, and that notifies the parents as a notification. If the student is being a positive role model and is on the task, he/she gets an on-task point which also tells the parent. So personally, I thought the app was brilliant and is something I will use as a future teacher.
Week Three: Oct. 25th-31st
In Miss Adams class, she seems to rely a lot on online assignments, for example, she likes to use the tablets for a game called Mathematics. The kids get to practice it in school when they have tablet time, or they can get a head start and do it at home. It is an excellent tool because you play math games on it to make math a little more fun and exciting. However, when the students start to make too much noise and distracting other students, we would take the tablets away, and Miss Adams would have to figure something they could do that will not distract other students as well as keep them on track and not miss any of the learning. She will get the students to work on problems on paper rather than on a tablet if they are disruptive. Briana and I also went to the grade eight classrooms, and the teacher had different stations there was a couch, a stationary bike you can do homework on, the classroom was decorated with lights that made the room feel calm and peaceful. For students who cannot sit at a desk all day there was a couch, or when doing group work there was a long table, and for students who can not sit still, they could ride the bike. It was a very different environment, but it felt like a very positive one.
Week Four: Nov. 1st- 7th
I observed the different ways Ms. Adams teaches sometimes she will use technology and sometimes she will not. For some subjects, it is easier for the students to learn with the tablets and sometimes it is just a distraction. She uses the tablets to help the children with math because it seems to get through to their heads a little more rather than doing the questions on paper. When they do the math on the tablets, they are excited, and they have fun with the math quizzes and assignments, she assigns on the tablets. However, if she were to teach them English on the tablets, they would get distracted and not do what they are supposed to be doing because the readings on their gets boring to them or for some reason they become more distracted. I noticed that Ms. Adams has a book for three or four of the students in the classroom the “trouble makers” or the kids who get anxious or cannot sit for extended periods of time and become disruptive. To make sure those individuals children stay on task and are getting as much knowledge as the other students she records their behavior. They could either get a smiley face, “meh” face (they did okay), or a sad face. When the student is on task and respectful, they get a smiley face, if the child is not listening but still showing that have been doing something productive, they get a “meh” face, if he or she is being disruptive and are not paying attention they get a sad face. If the students get all sad faces, they spend recess with the principle the following day. I am not certain what happens when they get all smiley faces I should ask!
Week Five: Nov. 8th-14th
For the students who have ADHD, Ms. Adams have these chairs that she calls the wiggle seat; the wiggle seat lets them wiggle and calms down when they need. The seat in a way takes some of the energy because they are always wiggling in the chair. There is a little boy whom I have noticed does not like to sit for very long and will start standing beside his desk after a while. Ms. Adams did not say anything most of the time when he would stand up beside his desk. I asked her why she does not tell him to sit on his bum and she said to me because he gets anxious when he sits for too long. Because of this, she sits him in the second back row closest to the door so not only can he stand and not distract other students by not being in the way, he can also get up and answer the door when someone knocks. I thought this was an excellent idea and would have never thought to have a child respond to the door all the time, so he has a reason to get up and move around for a bit. The students who stand up when doing work not because they have ADHD but just because children do not have a very high attention spam, so the need to stand up for a bit. Ms. Adams have stations in the four corners of her room she has word work in one corner where students must spell a word on a string with blocks (like a necklace). She has tablet time where the students do learning games on the tablet, reading corner, then there is a station where a group sits with Ms. Adams, and she tests their reading, last station but not least is the writing corner where students must write a sentence on a topic Ms. Adams gives to them. The station with making a word on a string has a bench the students sit on, and it gives them options to sit, stand beside the chair, or sit on their knees. The bench lets them move around, so they do not feel trapped at a desk all the time. There is a bench in the writing corner as well, and I think it is great that she gives the children the option somehow it helps the concentrate better because they can move around or stand up. However, no matter what all children are treated the same there is no “special treatment” for anyone. The kids treat each other like there are no differences between each other they all treat each other as equals and it is nice to see everyone get along even though everyone has their differences.
Week Six: Nov.15th-21st
When Briana and I are in the classroom on Wednesdays, they are usually doing the same thing and focusing either on math and English. In Math, they are learning how to count numbers backward and forwards. They also learned how to identify patterns and add one-digit numbers. I can see that they are learning and beginning to understand the math that is being taught. Today the kids in Math were given numbers on their worksheets, and they had to write the number that comes before or after the number given. As I was doing my walk around to see if everyone is on task and understanding what they are doing, I noticed that a child whom I saw struggles with math was beginning to understand it. I usually sit down and help him one on one and today I noticed he was doing it all on his own. To show the students, the relevance of what they are learning Ms. Adams uses everyday life experiences to help them understand why they are learning numbers. She uses family members, for instance, one girl’s mother is having a baby, and there are their three kids and the parents so far so by adding one there are six family members altogether. In English, the students are learning to write proper sentences and introducing punctuation. When they have special events that day like Remembrance Day or their Agribition field trip is coming up, they write a journal entry on it. So by doing journal entries, the kids understand that you can express what you learned and keep memories by writing it on paper. Journal entries also improve their ability to learn how to make a proper sentence. As well at the beginning of each day, Ms. Adams writes an agenda entry on the board, and it became routine that when you have all coats, and such put away you grab your agenda sit down and copy the note into their agenda. Agenda entries also give the kids an opportunity to practice writing without being graded for it. It also allows the parents to see how their sentences and writing skills progress every day because the parents need to sign the agenda, and then the students get a sticker. I noticed that everything Ms. Adams does she relates it to the real world and the little things she has the children do they are learning and do not realize how much they are progressing. It is amazing to see!
Week Seven: Nov. 22nd-28th
In the grade one classroom technology is being used in a variety of ways, and it is interesting to see all the ways it can be useful. Ms. Adams has an app called Dojo she uses to give students a variety of points whether it be on task, being kind to another student, being a role model and so much more. By using this app, it does not just notify the students that they are doing good and, on the task, it also has an option to take a point away if a child is misbehaving. When points are taken or added it notifies the students’ parents as well. Tablets are used for very often Ms. Adams uses them for all subjects, and I believe they are a great tool. Ms. Adams are recording students answering questions about different things like “How do you be kind to others?” “What are you thankful to God for?” she has them answer and then takes a photo of them. I had the opportunity to take some of the students into the hall one by one and ask the questions and record their answers. She uses the tablets a lot when doing stations; the children play an educational game of their choice which the kids love! As weird as it is the students who are at the tablet stations are always silent and respectful. They also play Mathletics on the tablet which is an app where you play fun math games on a lesson Ms. Adams assigns and when they get a hundred percent score on all the mini-games, they did they are then tested on their knowledge of the content of the games. They can play this app at home as well and practice, Ms. Adams can assign homework or have the kids redo the games or test if she thinks they may have cheated. When I become a teacher, I am defiantly going to use the tablet idea if the school I work at has. As well I want to use the Dojo app I believe that is such a great way to communicate and make the students feel appreciated when they get points.
Week one: Oct 11th-17th
I grew up in Yorkton Saskatchewan. When I was in high school, I went to two high schools Yorkton Regional and Sacred Heart both completely different experiences. The first high school I went to was the Regional, and when I was there my marks were sitting at about a sixty percent in all my classes except math… I was sitting at a fifty percent in math. I knew I was falling behind my teachers did as well, but the teachers did not help me nor did they even care.
I also was very intimidated by math teacher; he also frightened my mom he was a scary looking man was not very approachable. I never liked math I struggled all my life with it, and I was always very shy, so I did not want to ask for any help. The one day I said enough is enough I must get up and talk to my math teacher and find a way to get some help with my math. When I spoke and explained to him that I did not understand what we are learning and asked if he could explain it to me, but he seemed a little offended. He then asked what I did not understand, and I replied I do not get any of the steps in this assignment. One could tell he was irritated with the question and said he could not help me if I do not say what I do not understand. I did not know any of it, so I said I do not get the math at all. He made me feel foolish and embarrassed because I had no idea how to explain what I did not get. So, he got tired of me and told me to get a tutor. So, then I went to student services and asked for a tutor, and they put me on a list and said they would call in a couple of days. Weeks went by and still no word, so I decided to call student services, they said there were no tutors available. Then my mom tried calling the school, and the school decided to start putting me through assessments testing my knowledge; I have no idea why the school wanted to, but they did. They put me through these tests that had nothing to do with helping me understand the current math I was doing so I ended up failing the class.
During this critical time of assessments that kept me away from my learning, I began to become depressed, and my anxiety increased majorly. I started to stress the fact that the school was so focused on trying to figure out why I could not understand what we were learning, rather than teach me a new way to understand it. I start to gain weight because of the high stress and couldn’t focus in my other classes. I was close to my parents, but because I was failing, I thought they saw me as a failure, so I distance myself from them by rebelling. After tenth grade, I found out I needed to repeat my pre-calculus because I received a forty-nine as a final mark, I decided enough is enough.
I then told my parents I wanted to try another school, and they had no problem with it and switched me over to Sacred Heart. There I was welcomed with open arms by everyone, the staff and students were unbelievably friendly and welcoming. The teachers always understood when I needed help when I did not understand a question, they would walk me through it slowly till I got the question. I am a visible learner, and the teachers knew how to teach other students and me as individuals. I began to develop a relationship with all my teachers, unlike the Regional. My grades began to increase from a fifty to a ninety. My math teacher at Sacred was very kind, and when I asked for help, she did not make me feel foolish she said: “Okay let’s start from the beginning” and explained in the equation or lesson in great detail. For me, I need to build relationships with teachers to succeed and understand their methods of teaching. As well as Regional most of the time it was individual work whereas Sacred you usually do the assignments in groups. I learn better when I am in groups rather than independent because I like to hear other opinions and build on it. I find it helpful to hear all the different views and the way others interpret the lessons.
Instead of dreading to go back to school I became very excited and not only was I passing my math class I began to help my peers with the math they were struggling to understand. I hated school but once I began to understand the lessons my teachers were teaching on, I began to enjoy it and want to help others. I also became close with my parents again, and they knew from the start that I would be an amazing teacher.