As I get ready for this week’s lesson I am feeling pretty good. The first two lessons have gone well and this week I get to teach an Arts Ed lesson centering on visual art, which is my strong suit. The biggest struggle I had this week is trying to tie in outcomes from the grade six and seven curriculum. Since the conceptual focus for grade six is Identity and for grade seven it is place I tried to find a way to work both in to the lesson. I think that it worked for the most part but it took some thinking and tweaking. This lesson is based on a lesson from Sara Longman that is about creating geometric self-portraits and when I did it I felt like there was more Indigenous content however when I looked at the lesson plan from Sara I saw that much of the content was taught from her own experience. So in order to include some Indigenous content that I could work with I included some basic teachings in reference to the Medicine Wheel.
Again for this week I created a Prezi to help guide my lesson and provide some visuals for the students. I start off with a little bit of controlled chaos. My set involved an exercise that introduced some of the topics to be covered and challenged some deeper thinking without some of the students realizing what they were doing. For two minutes the students played an introduction/fact game that made them start to think of some of the ways they identify themselves. This was also a chance to use a classroom management strategy that wasn’t my “teacher voice”. I played an edited version of the “Who Are You” by The Who and instructed the students that they were to be seated and silent as soon as the music stopped. This worked fairly well. The students were engaged and seemed to enjoy the lesson and some tied the medicine wheel to the circle of courage, which was a nice bonus.
This week I taught first and Anne (my pre-internship partner) taught second so I observed her math lesson which was very interesting because neither of us have really addressed the ideas of a math lesson before. It was great to watch Anne teach. She did very well with a subject that can be sometimes difficult to engage students on. Watching a math lesson brought up some questions about how to teach in a subject where there is a “correct” answer and whether all students need to find that answer or answer all of the questions before moving on. It was definitely an informative day for thinking about subject areas that are outside of my comfort zone. We had a good discussion about the struggles in a subject area where learners can be at so many different points and trying to design lessons that give those who need it lots of practice and those who are ready to move on some extended level deeper thinking challenges. It is certainly not easy to provide a diversified math lesson but it is possible and if you can make it work it is extremely beneficial. Rochelle also challenged us to work a brain break into our lessons for next week.
For Next Week:
As I prepare to teach solo 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- all in all, this week’s lesson was very successful, the students were all engaged in the lesson and the activity. I have lowered the number of times I said “guys” to refer to the whole class to 5 or 7 depending on who’s counting. I also provided clearer instructions for my expectations of the exercise.
What didn’t work- there was a moment in the introduction activity where one of the students went to another and said something negative about their classmate. I didn’t catch it but Anne and Rochelle did. This is a risk in creating an activity where you can’t monitor all of what is being said by the class. Anne brought up a good point of reminding the students that everything they say should be positive. That however will not make sure that they follow that message. Not sure its preventable but it is worth thinking about the risk in the exercise that someone could be bullied or that negative speech could take place without me noticing.
What I would change for next time- I was very happy with this lesson and there may be a few minor tweaks but the best suggestion I got was from Anne who said that while students are working on creating their portraits that we could play some quiet music as it might help creativity and a less sterile art environment.