Monday, December 6, 2010

Student Teaching... FINAL WEEK!!

My Kindergarten placement has been a very uncommon student teaching experience. I have, however, learned a lot about myself as a person and as a teacher. I have learned that i can handle tough situations, i'm more flexible than i thought i was AND my confidence level in the classroom has gone through the roof! When i first started student teaching my confidence was pretty low and i wasn't sure of myself. By the end of 4th grade I was a little more confident but still timid. Now at the end of my Kindergarten placement, i feel like i could walk in to almost any classroom and take charge. I know I wouldn't have been able to make it through this placement without the help of my 4th grade mentor teacher, the first grade teacher, librarian, and ALL of the other teachers/staff at Huckabay. When I felt overwhelmed, stressed, frustrated, needed to blow off some steam they were ALL there to listen and offer GREAT advice. I'm really going to miss Huckabay. My last day of student teaching is on Thursday and honestly, it's a bittersweet feeling. It's bitter because I'm going to REALLY miss all of the wonderful people at Huckabay, and I'm going to miss my crazy students. It's sweet because I get to move back home to leander and start the next chapter of the rest of my life. I'm ready for my own classroom, my own students, my own paycheck, my own bills, and my own responsibilities... (i know the last 2 sound strange but i'm ready for a "big girl" life).

Graduation is 12 days away and it's a strange feeling. For all my life i have wanted to be a teacher and now i am 12 days way from achieving that goal. I am so close i can taste it!! I have to write my cover letter and click "submit" and i'll have my teacher application submitted... CRAZY!!

it's surreal i'm so close to the end of my "student" career and so close to starting my "teacher" career!! i'm SO ready to be on the other side of the desk!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Student Teaching-- Week 10

WOW! has it already been 10 weeks?? it has flown by so fast! This week in kindergarten i began teaching Math. it went really well and I was pleased with the results of my lessons. I'm starting to get the hang of this kindergarten thing but i'm still not sure if it's the right fit for me. I have told myself for the past two weeks "i will learn what i love, or learn what i don't love; either way, i will learn something." I was sick wednesday with a stomache bug, but back at school thursday. Friday was Spook Parade and the day was crazy after that. The holidays sure do get those kids excited! A lot happened during this week and i'm learning quickly what i can handle (which is more than i thought i could). I'm hanging in there though, and I hope i'm doing a good job.

Graduation is in 7 weeks and there's 25 days left of student teaching... (but who's counting, right?) I have been having a blast and i can't wait to get my own classroom!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Student Teaching-- Week 9... KINDERGARTEN

Welcome to KINDERGARTEN ADVENTURES!!! I started Kindergarten on Tuesday and it has really been an adjustment. At first, I wasn't too excited about going to Kindergarten, but it's slowly growing on me. It is a BIG transition from 4th grade, where I felt I had really built good, strong relationships with the kids. With young kiddos, it's more difficult to build relationships. The kdis are still getting used to being in school all day and don't really understand sarcasm (which I LOVED about my 4th graders). Needless to say, the first day in Kindergarten was REALLY overwhelming. Wednesday was a bit better, and I started picking up on the very silly/innocent things the kids say. Let me set the scene for the first silly thing:

The teacher was reading a book called "Nature Spy" which is about a girl who takes a closer look at things in nature. This was the second day the kids had seen this book so this day was about discussing taking a closer look at things. There is a picture of a bird on one page of the book and on the next page is a picture of a close up of the bird's wings. While discussing birds and feathers, one student said "we eat birds!" another replied "no we don't! that's mean!" Then we got in to the discussion of eating animals. The teacher compared people eat birds like lions eat... and a kid said "PEOPLE!"... I could not NOT laugh! It was so funny and unexpected. I know laughing at what a kid says is not the professional thing to do but sometimes you just can't help it... and this was one of those times.

The second silly thing (not as silly, but still...)

The class was discussing bats and things bats eat. One student said confidently, "Bats drink your blood." That's not ENTIRELY not true but we redirected that statement to talk about vampire bats and how they drink the blood of cows and other animals, but not people.

I've gotta tell you, kids say the silliest things.

I'm hoping, and I know, Kindergarten will get better. I have to constantly remind myself these kids are only 5 and don't master concepts as quickly. My patience is being tested, and I'm learning how to approach teaching moments from different angles to help out different kids. I know Kindergarten will be a challenge, and I'm hoping it will make me a better teacher. Do I see myself teaching Kindergarten in the future? No, not ever. That's my answer for now... I'll revisit that question at the end of my time at Huckabay. The answer to that for 4th grade was also no... and now that's what I want to teach, so we'll see.

Student Teaching-- Weeks 5-8

WOW it's been a crazy ride! I have loved every minute with my students and it has been a BLAST! I can really see myself teaching 4th grade, which I could never imagine before. In the past 3 weeks we have had Fall Festival, our DairyQueen field trip and our field trip to the Tarleton Play. Here are the details in order:

Fall Festival: Fall Festival is the one fundraiser the school has for the classes to make money for field trips and classroom supplies. The money raised stays with the classes as they advance in grade level. For example, the money the 4th graders made this year, if it is not all spent, will follow them to fifth grade. The money stays with the students until their senior year. If there is money left at the end of the year it goes towards scholarships for the seniors. The 4th graders sold raffle tickets for a 42 inch LG Plasma TV. We took the kids to walmart and tractor supply to sell tickets and they did a great job! At noon the day of Fall Festival, 4th grade had made just over $2000... JUST SELLING RAFFLE TICKETS!! Each student was required to sell $100 worth of tickets and every kid did it and then some! The night of Fall Festival was so much fun. Each class hosts a booth at the festival and the students work the booth. The 4th grade booth is a Plant Walk (think cake walk with plants). We had GREAT participation. Some participants were winning 3 or 4 times and just wanted to keep playing! At the end of the night, 4th grade had raised $3087.64!!! I was floored when I heard the amount! It's so awesome that the Huckabay community and Stephenville community supports such a great cause.

Dairy Queen Field Trip:
The Dairy Queen Field Trip is for the students who sold their $100 worth of tickets. Luckily, all of our students met this goal and we all got to go to Dairy Queen to celebrate! It was fun getting to see the kids in a different environment. We went with the 5th grade class. The kids were pretty well behaved. It did get a little loud (but that's normal with 35 kids!).

Tarleton Play Field Trip:
The next day (and my last day in 4th grade) was the BIG field trip. When I was in school, we would have field trips to the capitol, eat lunch and go back to school. BORING. At Huckabay a field trip is a FIELD TRIP. We left at 8:30 to go see the Tarleton Theatre Production "Peter Pan and Wendy". It was a very good show. The theatre was filled with several different schools from surrounding areas. Again, we did this trip with 5th grade. After the play we went to the park to play for a little while before lunch. We at lunch at Grump's (a burger joint in town). Lunch was DELICIOUS! After lunch, we went to the Hay Maze at the Stephenville Christian School. Let me just say, this was the BEST part of the field trip, in my opinion. This Hay Maze was A-MAZE-ING! (haha..) The maze was 2-3 BIG squarebales high and was probably 1/2 the size of a football field. It was very impressive and we had a great time. Mrs. Champeau and I hid in some of the parts of the maze and jumped out and scared the kids... that was fun. The kids just couldn't get enough of the maze and wanted to do it over and over and over. I don't blame them because I wanted to do the same thing. After we left the maze we went back to the park to kill time before heading back to school. I would have to say the day was a fun-filled success. It was a good, last-day of 4th grade.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Student Teaching-- Week 4

Week 4... it just really doesn't seem like it's only been 4 weeks and that it's already been 4 weeks!!

This week we finished up working on our Texas Indians research project AND we did the presentations. The kids did great and I am so proud of them!

On Thursday, I had to go to Tarleton to an ESP (Effect Schools Project) Conference. The speaker was Spencer Henry ( Spencer Henry was an amazing speaker and I am so lucky I got to hear him speak. He spoke about classroom management and had some great ideas and suggestions for the classroom.

On Friday, I had the chance to implement some of the strategies I had learned and it was fun to see the outcome.

Overall this week was really awesome. The students worked on their Dioramas of their Indian group (I'll post pictures soon). My class is such a hands-on class which is PERFECT because I am such a hands-on person. I don't think I could have been placed with a better class to do my student teaching. There are a few challenges with talking and whatnot (but that's to be expected in every classroom) but the good times outweigh the bad... which is how it should be. I'm exicted every day to go to school and teach those kiddos and I love having fun laughing and joking with them! They have such a great sense of humor!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Student Teaching-- Week 3

WHAT?!?!?!?!? It doesn't seem like it's only been three weeks. In some ways it seems like I have been doing this A LOT longer than 3 weeks and in some ways I'm thinking "where in the world did the time go???". It has been a great experience and I am sooo excited to get in to my own classroom and get this started!!

Right now, we are in the middle of our Texas Indian Unit and the students are having a BLAST (well.. most of them). This is the first research project the students have ever done, and to be honest some of them are blowing me away with their work ethic and determination and creativity. I put the students in pairs and gave each pair a tribe to research (when they heard they were going to research, they were NOT excited). They had to find 10 characteristics (that blew them away), what environment their tribe lived in, how they used their environment, their social envrionment (chief, interaction with other tribes), and interesting facts. Then they had to take ALL of that information and put it in to a PowerPoint presentation. I had to teach them how to use PowerPoint and they caught on REALLY QUICK. My mentor teacher and I were BOTH super impressed with how quickly the students got it. After the PowerPoint, the students had to make a book with all of their information. In their book they had to put the info from their PowerPoint and draw pictures to go with their pages. This was really fun for some students in the class because there are some pretty talented artists in our class. Tomorrow we are going to start our dioramas of the envrionment. These kids have never seen or heard of a diorama before so they are in for a REAL treat!

Overall, I'm having a BLAST. I start Kindergarten in 6 weeks and I hope it's as fun as 4th grade!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Student Teaching-- Week 2

This week has gone pretty well. The talking is still a little bit of a problem but it is MUCH better than last week. The students are all really funny, and for the most part, get along with each other. There are a few cliques but nothing too bad. This week I taught Social Studies again and I am slowly taking Math as the next subject. This coming week I might teach math everyday... maybe. I have my first observation on the 10th during Math, so I should probably practice.

Teaching isn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. I expected to be really nervous and not explain things clearly, but the students are getting it and their grades reflect it. Even though most things are review right now, it still feels good to see the 100s on the papers I grade. Yesterday we made thermometers in Science and it was so neat to see the kids get excited about learning. They thought it was so neat to see the thermometers in action (I thought it was pretty neat too!).

Next week I start teaching my unit. I'm doing a Social Studies unit on the Native Texas Indians. I'm really excited about it and I hope the students will be too! I'm going to divide the class in to pairs and each pair will research a tribe then creat a PowerPoint, book and diorama about the tribe and present it to the class. I can't wait to see what the students come up with... I'm sure the dioramas and PowerPoints are going to turn out really neat. We have some really creative and VERY artistic students in our class.

Today all of the student teachers were back at Tarleton for PDAS training. It was a little boring but I learned a lot of GREAT information I need to know for when I become a teacher. After the training, we had a surprise babyshower for one of our fellow student teachers, Sheree. She was so surprised! It was a lot of fun!!

I'm looking forward to next week... I'm anxious to see what stories I will have to post by Friday about the research unit!!