Perseverance is defined as steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. It is one of many positive qualities we want to instill within our students to have the resiliency to overcome hardships in real life. One of my childhood favorite tale - Hare and Tortoise - came to mind as I thought about how to teach this complex concept to my Grade Ones. I was able to find just the right resource in the school library which included the scripts and art directions for the students and teachers. Each student was asked to pick which role they would like to play as. From there the students were given scripts and asked to practice it at home with parents. During quiet reading period, students were called to the recording room and they did an excellent job with voice acting with some directions from me. During the art class, they created their respective animal masks - those who finished early could work on any other props. Overall video footage shooting, directing, and editing fell on my shoulders as the students were not able to handle such a task. But it gives me ideas for the upper grades. The result was a story which students loved and laughed with pride at their work. They can always come back and see what they were like in the past. Perhaps in the future, the students can show their children what they were like.
During cold winter weather, the students are forced to have their recess inside. This can lead to my students being very disruptive during class due to lack of burning energy. I had to solve this issue. I found various YouTube videos of Just Dance and we began to dance. The was good for learning styles (visual, audio, and kinesthetic). The videos ranged from very slow and easy dance moves to fast paced and difficult dance moves. I was surprised to find that how fast my students learned different dance move sets. Some students were a bit uncomfortable dancing due to their shyness and this is one thing I had not anticipated (which was quickly resolved with one on one coaching). This is one of many positive example of technology in classroom when paired with clear instructions and guidelines from the teacher.
Way to go St. Paul girls! We saw. We came. We conquered. From no knowledge of the sport to mastery of basic rules, you have made us all proud. It was a short season but it was an exciting and rewarding one. As the team have learned from the coaches, I learned much from Grade Six Girls about how to set up drills, keep up the moral, and importance of bonding with students outside of the class. I also loved the interaction with co-coaches as we had different philosophies - we had debate on the term "aggression" and "competitiveness." It was a dilemma since we are playing basketball for fun, but at the same time, we cannot win without being competitive. It was hard for us to find that balance. Overall, this was a fantastic season. I hope you girls keeps on practicing and try out for the middle school team! GO ST.PAUL!
February...what a month! Despite teaching half time, I feel as though time is rushing past me. We had a few big events: 100th Day of School, Premier's visit, and Valentine's Day.
100th Day of School was a massive success with parents helping out on the side. We had at least ten different activities going on at the same time: books about number 100, counting activity, measuring activity, and numerous craft/art activities. I definitely could not set up this Grade One event. It was headed by my teacher mentor and other Grade One teachers. I learned much from this particular event as it was involved with connecting with parents, and establishing amazing sense of community.
The Premier's visit was less than exciting. However, the highlight of the visit was the choir from middle school. They sang marvelously. We tried to set up some context for my Grade Ones about this visit, however, I do not think they cared much for it. Regardless, they had wonderful time with the choir and captivated by it.
This was a big day for my Grade Ones. We have been preparing for a week for this day. We made a card folder with their names on it. I initially thought that the folder would hold the goods but I was, oh so wrong. By the end of the day, the folders were on the verge of exploding with cards, candies, chocolates, pencils, etc. It was a fantastic day to really bond together as a class and share their love/care for each other.
As a lover of art and an artist, I wanted to do this particular lesson for a long time: an action painting unit. Due to curriculum requirements of Grade One, I fused my desire and the primary colours into a classroom project. Action painting is is a style of painting in which paint is spontaneously dribbled, splashed or smeared onto the canvas, rather than being carefully applied. The resulting work often emphasizes the physical act of painting itself as an essential aspect of the finished work or concern of its artist. One of the most famous painter is Jackson Pollock who is considered as the pioneer of abstract expressionism. We learned about him briefly but the main focus was the primary colours and its association with objects and emotions. The students had to work on their individual piece and the class one. It was a dizzying process with lots of classroom management on my part - which was exhausting. However when I observed that they were having fun and following what we learned the last class, it was worth it.
The real life lesson I learned was that if you are going to do a large art project such as this ... you need to consult your custodians before executing your lesson. I learned this the hard way as I was scrubbing the floor after school. I am excited to learn about other dynamics within the school ... hopefully not the hard way.
What a day - a proud day. It felt like watching your child walk for the first time. After only two quick lunch practices, Grade Six Girl Basketball (GSGB) team was able to learn so much about the game. Seeing them play like they did was rewarding and gave me sense of pride. Maybe this is what it feels like to coach. Every rotation, I tried to give each group a feedback and a challenge for their next turn. The players had some difficult time with the flow of the game; but I think this was our fault. Their next assignment will be "YouTubing" basketball rules at home to encourage self learning and being more efficient due to lack of practice time. Lots of overhead passes were thrown which was reduced after firm feedback to the players during the break. We still have a long road ahead with short time frame but I am going to give my best to foster these young players with huge potentials. Next practice session: layup and positioning!
January's virtue is 'responsibility.' We learned about being a responsible student, responsible citizen, and responsible person through drama. I used role play to act out various scenarios from elderly crossing the street, students picking up trash to being a hard working student. I also used iPads to have the students assess the scenarios. If the scenario was responsible, they are to draw a circle and hold it up for the teacher to see. If the action was irresponsible, the students would draw an "x." Soon after, we began to film for the responsibility song. I originally had the students film themselves but this plan failed miserably. I had to take over as the main camera man after 5 minutes. After a couple lessons/sessions of shooting, we finally completed the music video. I hope you enjoy it.
On January 25, Lethcamp is happening at the University of Lethbridge. I have created an intro video on edcamp for promotion. I think this is a new, dynamic, and engaging way to make connections and bounce new ideas within teaching profession.
It seems like I will be using Minecraft as an engagement tool for the duration of my internship. Despite Minecraft being only a simple engagement tool, it started to transmogrify into something bigger. I began to develop entire resources and work materials based on Minecraft. My math class has been transformed into Mathcraft. All of the SMARTBOARD activities, worksheets, and in-class rewards now involved Minecraft. I was just as excited as the students at this point. I also developed four classcube to award four students each weeks for positive behaviours.
Well, here I am. Professional Semester number three. It has been a long road to finally get here: Ed2500 @ Fleetwood Bawden, PSI @ Galbraith, PSII @ Crescent Heights, and finally @ St. Paul. Of course, another long list of university courses to prepare me for the real task ahead. But in reality, how can university truly prepare you for the living breathing world which is full of dynamics and events from the textbook. Despite all the preparation and previous experience, I could not sleep for the first week or so. My mind was racing with full of ideas to implement. I occasionally woke up at two or three in the morning to write down ideas. My dearest teacher mentor suggested I should take the first week to get to know my students - I think this was a fantastic idea. This allowed me to transition into the class easier and get to know each students. I conducted a couple of student surveys to see which students were auditory, kinesthetic, and visual learners. My first survey was a disaster: Grade one + lots of 'fill in the blank' = lots of blanks. Second survey was more successful with multiple choice questions. I began to realize the capacity and the level of ability of the students with simple survey. One more thing really stood out: they LOVE Minecraft. THEY LOVE MINECRAFT. To be honest, I am a Minecraft player myself; therefore I realized that I needed integrate this energy and interest with my lessons/units...
[To be continued]