As I prepare for week two of my pre-internship with the 6/7 class at Lakeview School I am again feeling a mixture of excitement and anxiety. This week will be my first solo lesson. I’m a little bit nervous about the content of my lesson as I am suddenly very aware of how little I know about what a general baseline is for a grade six or seven in terms of knowledge of the parts of speech (noun, verb, pro-noun). I’ve created a lesson on the Jabberwocky poem from Lewis Carroll’s Alice Through the Looking Glass and I’m hoping that the challenge falls somewhere in the mid-range. Challenging enough to be engaging but not too easy or too difficult. I’m also a little nervous about being evaluated while I teach. I feel like knowing someone is watching you adds just a little extra pressure. I feel confident in my ability to interact with the students and I am sure the lesson will be fine one way or another.
I worked really hard on a Prezi (digital slide show) for this lesson that will serve as a visual aid and also a bit of a lesson plan cheat sheet. So before the students arrive I make sure that the projector is up and running and that the slideshow and the computer are all up and running smoothly. I start the lesson with a review of the parts of speech we’ll cover in the assignment. It goes fairly well and I’m glad that the class is a combination of grade six and seven, as most students get the easy parts of speech and the grade sevens and advanced grade sixes are able to fill in the harder parts of the review/intro. After introducing Alice from the literature and not from Disney the students watch a BBC reading of the Jabberwocky done by Benedict Cumberbatch. Then we get to the activity- identify and replace the nonsense words in the poem with words we know using the same part of speech. We do the first stanza of the poem together as a class and then they work individually to identify the parts of speech, finally they work in a group to create a no more nonsense version of the poem. The students seem to understand the activity and do well as they work through it. Some questions that come from the students help me realize that the instructions on the individual worksheet are not as clear as they need to be. After we have read our group poems aloud to each other we finish with a review. All in all, the lesson went well. No classroom management issues arose and my trick for “random” group assignment seemed to work for the most part.
This week while Rochelle taught math we went and observed in the Grade Two classroom from the end of recess until lunch. It was a great way to see a different part of the school and how the classroom changes when you are teaching in the early years. The grade two classroom was still set up in rows but there are two communal tables in the back. The room is much more “busy”. There is lots of art and bulletin boards on the wall. Everywhere you look there is something to read or learn. The Grade Two teacher is Danielle Hackle. She is a former Arts Education graduate and you can tell by the art that is on the walls inside and outside of her classroom. When we first get to the class the students are participating in Show and Tell. One at a time the students sit at the front and give clues about what they have brought with them. The rest of the class guesses and then eventually the students shares what they have brought and talks about why it is important to them. After class we discussed with Danielle how she uses Show and Tell to cover some of the literacy outcomes around speaking and oral literacy. After show and tell the Grade Two’s went to the Arts Ed room and some of the class performed their Reader’s Theatre version of Hansel and Gretel. Then we went back and they started working on some pattern based Halloween visual art. The Grade Two classroom is a different feel than Grade Six/Seven. Mrs. Hackle keeps the overhead lights off and uses mostly light from the windows in the classroom. She also has a Himalayan Salt lamp in the corner right beside a diffuser that mists a relaxing essential oil in to the room. While the students are working on their art she plays the radio. Through out the time in the classroom students get up and go to their lockers or have a snack. If Mrs. Hackle needs the students’ attention she has a little bell that she dings and it seems to work quite well.
For Next Week:
As I prepare to teach another lesson next week I reflect on what went well, what didn’t work and what I might change for next week or the next time I teach this lesson.
What Went Well- The Prezi worked well and helped me keep on top of my lesson plan, as well as provided good visual examples for the visual learners in the class. I had no issues with classroom management. The students worked well and the stick trick worked well for dividing the class “randomly” into groups that worked based on the strengths of the learners. We also had a good ending- since we spoke about onomatopoeia we did a class “mic drop” with the onomatopoeia “boom” altogether which was fun and I think the students liked it.
What didn’t work: There were a couple times where students were talking while I was delivering instructions. I need to be more aware of that and take a moment to acknowledge and address it rather than continuing on. Rochelle gave me a couple pointers on classroom management techniques that I will cue in on and try and use in my next lesson. One was that occasionally I rely on my “teacher voice” to manage the class and that there can be other options. There was also one time where I gave them the countdown but maybe wasn’t as clear as I could have been about expectations for when I finished counting.
What I Would Change for Next Time- I think there are a couple things that I would change for the next time I teach this lesson. I would clarify the instructions for the individual part of the lesson. I will also work on a couple other classroom management techniques and making sure my expectations are clear.