Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Student Teaching: Day 3

Today was exhausting. It's tough becoming re-acclimated to an eight-hour day after four years in college, with a sporadic schedule filled with nap and coffee breaks. Now it's lesson planning, classroom hopping madness. My CT, a "happy light" owner, is so quick to come up with lessons that I'm left spinning as to how she does it. These past three days have taught me that I still have a LOT to learn before March 1st- my D-day for taking over two of her classes. I know that eventually I will learn the students' names, that I will slowly gain confidence, that I will be able to plan lessons as quickly and efficiently as my peers, but that doesn't raise my spirits right now. Right now I just feel a little overwhelmed...and that's okay.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

First two days

I started student teaching on Valentine's Day and nothing extremely special occurred that day. Well, except for all of the heart shaped balloons squished through doors by giddy 16 year-olds, but other than that nothing too exciting. I had already met my CT (cooperating teacher) last semester, and visited her several times hence, so it wasn't too scary walking into her classroom. My first day was just observation. I observed my CT plan, become frustrated, and yell at a student who didn't finish their work, but I also observed her try a student's home-cooked, prize winning cake with loving kindness, teach a stellar lesson about violence and consciousness in poetry, and help me tweak my lesson for the next day. Overall, it was a good first day.

Today, I woke to my alarm at 6:18, hit the snooze until 6:28, crawled out of bed and convinced myself to turn on the TV to KLRU Q (18-3) for the 6:30 am CLASSICAL STRETCH: THE ESMONDE TECHNIQUE
It's amazing, try it. Once I was stretched and yoga/balleted out, I showered, ate a quick breakfast and headed into the high school. This was it, my first day of teaching!

First I showed the class the "My favorite things" Imovie I made in my final teaching class. They thought it was a little funny, but seemed to appreciate my effort.

After I introduced myself, I told the class that I wanted to get to know them, so I split them into partners the way our instructors at taught us in college. "Raise your hands, keep them up....1,2,3, etc. 1,2,3 etc. Okay, now raise your hand when I call your number and find your partner" Chaos! No one knew what I was doing, but thankfully I took note of this and did a much better job during my second period. I think this is something the kids are just going to have to get used to. I remember, even as preservice teachers, we stumbled with it in the beginning.

I asked the students to interview their partner with the 10 questions I had given them, plus a freebie question they had to devise. The first period took much longer than I thought they would, so I changed the timing on the next period. After the interview, I gave the students this template for a bio-poem:

(First name)-
(Four adjectives that describe the person)
Son/Daughter/sister/brother/friend of (their relation)
Lover of (three different things that the person loves)
Who feels (three different feelings and when or where they are felt)
Who gives (three different things the person gives)
Who needs (three different things the person gives)
Who fears (three different fears the person has)
Who would like to see (three different things the person would like to see)
-(last name)

Then I gave them my bio-poem as an example:

Inquisitive, independent, conversational, compassionate
Daughter of pilots
Lover of possibility, adventure, and those closest to her
Who feels nervous, but inspired by teaching, happy with life, and comfortable in her husband's presence
Who gives good advice, hugs, and photography tips
Who needs gratification, a way to relax daily, and a conversation with a good friend 
Who fears having children too early, getting cancer again, and the dark
Who would like to see her parents hold their grandchildren, one of her students accomplish something amazing, and every continent in the world

These kids' poems (at least the ones that I read over their shoulders) were awesome! I'm so excited for them to bring their chain links back on Thursday for us to make the paper chain poems, and so that I can read all of their poems!

Monday, February 7, 2011

When my inbox is busting a button like a fat man in a little suit (gotta love Tommy Boy references), I feel the need to purge my emails and my mental faculties. While sorting, I always take time to read my subscription from Mark and Angel Hack Life, an insightful blog full of wonderful ideas "practical tips" for ridding your life of chaos and simply being more productive, positive, and happy. Today they featured a list of 30 Ways to Make Today a Good DayHere is the (slightly adapted) list:
30 Ways to Make Today a Good Day
  1. Take some "me time" in the morning; wake up at least half an hour before you have to get ready to leave.
  2. Do work that you are inspired by.
  3. Complete an important piece of unfinished business.
  4. Spend time with positive, friendly people. (cut out the negativity)
  5. Do something nice for someone else.
  6. Be present. Focus on where you are, what you’re doing and who you’re with right now.
  7. Do one thing at a time.
  8. Think, speak, and act positively.
  9. Smile, even when there’s no pressing reason to do so.
  10. Unplug.  Entertain yourself with real-world experiences.
  11. Go somewhere new.  See something new.  Meet someone new.
  12. Do something that makes you laugh.
  13. Challenge your mind.  Learn a new skill.
  14. Challenge your body.  Exercise for 30 minutes.  (Read The 4-Hour Body.)
  15. Let someone help you.
  16. Clear a little clutter by getting rid of something you don’t need.
  17. Be honest with yourself and those around you.
  18. Don’t compare yourself to others.  Instead, let them inspire you.
  19. Spend a few minutes alone in silence, just thinking.
  20. Focus on solutions.
  21. Keep an open mind to new ideas and information.
  22. Handle important two-minute tasks immediately.
  23. Stay out of other people’s drama.  And don’t needlessly create your own.
  24. Say, “Please,” “Thank you,” “I’m sorry” and “I love you,” when you should.
  25. Don’t try to please everyone.  Just do what you know is right.
  26. Eat a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  27. Savor the natural joy of simple pleasures.
  28. Notice what’s right with the world.
  29. Take time to appreciate what you have.
  30. Get to sleep a little earlier tonight so you’re well rested tomorrow.