ECS 100

week 6

This week at our field placement, we started the day off as usual with ELA. The students did their usual read to self, and then read to a partner, and then they were given December writing prompts to pick from and to work on in their ELA journals. After this, the kids had recess, and after recess, they got to go to the book fair that was at the school. After that, they had time to go on the iPads and play academic games or conduct research that they may not have finished in their science class on a previous day. The students also had the chance to play a math game on the whiteboard, where the teacher split them up into two groups and they worked together as a group to answer various math questions.

In terms of how they are being taught, I see the teacher using a variety of methods of instruction. She uses the iPads for example as a means to engage the students and for them to practice math questions and stuff like that. We have also witnessed her using youtube videos to convey a point to the students, such as showing them an inspirational video and getting them to journal about it. The teacher has also used games in the classroom, and stations around the classroom. These are all on top of traditional teaching methods that she will also use in her classroom such as lecturing or starting discussions.

I was actually surprised in this classroom with how well most of the students seemed to grasp the concepts being taught to them. One time specifically when they surpassed my expectations is when the teacher showed them an inspirational video and they had to raise their hands and discuss the message the video was trying to give. I really was surprised by how deeply some of them thought about it, and how they were able to speak to and reflect on abstract concepts in just grade 3 and 4. Another time that I was surprised by their knowledge level was when they were playing that math game on the whiteboard. Most of the students were able to quickly calculate the answers to various math questions in their heads and write it on the board.

Overall, we had another good week at Henry Braun, however, it would be nice to get the chance to teach something or to have a more active role in the classroom.

ECS 100

week 2

I had another really great day at school this week. On Wednesday in the morning, the grade 3/4 class had ELA until recess. First, they read to themselves, then read to a partner, and then went on iPads to do some ELA activities that were on apps called “Raz kids” and “epic.” After that, they watched an inspirational video on YouTube that the teacher projected onto the wall, and then they had to write a journal response about their thoughts on the message from in the video. There was some extra time to kill before recess time, so the teacher asked for a couple volunteers to practice reading in front of the class. I had never experienced this in my elementary school, and I thought it was such a good idea to start to get the kids comfortable with public speaking. One of the students that volunteered to do this was a newcomer to Canada, and he was still learning English. He struggled a bit to complete the book, but I thought he was so brave for wanting to take on that challenge. The teacher also reminded the class that English is not his first language, as he took a while to complete the book, and some students were getting restless.

After recess, the students went to Arts Ed., where they played a drama game called “machine”. I was so awesome to see all the students want to participate in drama activities and include their other classmates in the process. After Arts Ed., the students had a work period to work on a persuasive essay they have been in the process of writing. My partner and I got to sit with a few students that struggled with writing and give them more help with their essays. After this, it was lunch time and my partner and I left the school.

IMG_7181.JPGWhen we were at the school this week, we noticed that the school was doing a food drive. We thought this was a great example of how the community came together to do something for the greater good. The students also got to write a card for the food drive which I thought was a nice touch. I think that doing food drives and other projects like that help the students to understand the concept of community and how a community can all work together. The students seemed to gather quite a bit of food for their drive and they lined it all up in the main hallway. When I am at the school, I get the sense that the school is in a great community where they all look out for one another.

ECS 100

week 3

My day at school was great this week and was a great learning experience. I am feeling a lot more comfortable interacting with the teaching staff and with the students. Each weak, my partner and I take on more responsibilities in the class. This week, the teacher let us do some marking for her as well as read a Halloween story to the students in the class. We also got to sit with students and help them with their school work.

When we asked our cooperating teacher about how she promotes learning in the classroom, she shared with us that she sometimes uses field trips for the students to learn about different outcomes. For example, the students are to learn about agriculture this year, so the teacher is planning a field trip to Agribition. There is also a teaching assistant in the classroom throughout the day, and the TA helps students that have a little bit more difficulty than others in the classroom. I also noticed that in this class, the teacher uses different ways of instruction, and I believe this helps support all different kinds of learners. For example, in their health class, they are learning about healthy relationships, and their task was to create a skit in their table groups that displayed both a healthy relationship and an unhealthy relationship. Other types of instruction the teacher uses are written instruction, verbal instruction, and visual instruction. The class also does independent work, group work, and discussions. I think it is important to have a variety of instructional methods in the classroom.

To promote student knowledge in the class, the teacher hangs up student work around the classroom so the students can feel accomplished and proud of their work. Another thing I noticed is how the environment of the classroom supports knowledge. Not only does the teacher hang up and present the student’s work, but I find the environment to be calm, quiet, and organized, which all help the students to feel like they can learn.

Our cooperating teacher told us that she does backwards planning for her class and that she plans day-to-day. She said she does this because there are a lot of different types of learners in her class, and they all take different amounts of time to do tasks and assignments. She said that she uses a website called “teachers pay teachers” to get some of her assignments and activities. I had a look at this website, and I think it is pretty neat, and it is something I will remember for the future. She also said that when she lesson plans, if she is having a hard time coming up with an activity to meet an outcome, she will ask one of the other grade 3 or 4 teachers for ideas. I think this is a great example of collaboration.

Overall, I learned a lot this week, and I feel that my partner and I are being more helpful in the classroom and getting to know everyone better, which feels great. Next week we are there on Halloween, and we are both pretty excited to dress up and join in on Halloween festivities with the students.

ECS 100

week 4

IMG_7208.JPGI had a lot of fun at school this week, and I am finding that my partner and I are getting involved in the classroom more and more each week. It was a unique experience to be there on Halloween. I loved seeing the students so excited to come to school all dressed up, and I loved to see the teacher participate as well, as most of the teachers were also wearing costumes. The students started off their day as usual with some silent reading, and then reading to a partner, and then they did some writing before they went to a Halloween carnival that the school’s SRC put on. The sense of community was so strong this week as we saw the grade 8 students in the SRC pull together to do activities with the students from the other grades. It was great to see the leadership there.

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I can see a lot for this school community in terms of honouring diversity, equity, and human rights for students. There are a few ELL students in our classroom and they are newcomers to Canada. Our cooperating teacher has done a great job including them in the classroom, and educating the other students on how English isn’t their first language, and about how it is important that they are encouraging to them. There are also a few students in our classroom that have some learning issues or have special needs. I see the students, and the school community in general, doing a great job of working with these individuals to help them in the ways that they learn best. An example of this is a few students in our class that have learning difficulties have laptops on which they do their assignments. This is a way for their learning to be more accessible to them.

IMG_7207I really see our cooperating teacher trying to be a positive role model for her students, and I can really tell that she knows each student as an individual, and in that way she can help them with what they individually need. I see her continuously trying to make her classroom a community. One thing that she does that I think shows this is she writes positive messages on the whiteboard for the students to read in the morning. Another thing that she does is encourage sharing between students, such as doing talking circles. In this way, I think it helps the students to recognize and appreciate the differences between them.

ECS 100

week 5

This week the students had ELA for the first period until recess, and then they had math until lunch. During ELA the class worked on a novel study. When I asked our cooperating teacher what book they were doing for a novel study, she said that the class is split up into small groups based on reading levels, and each group is doing a different book. I found this to be a great example of how our teacher is incorporating equity into her classroom, as well as it is a great example of differentiating teaching. With assigning different books based on reading levels, she is giving each student an equal opportunity to read, be successful, and to learn. When I think back to when I was in elementary school, everyone in the class read the same book for novel studies, and now that I think about it, this was not supporting equity in the classroom.

In regard to how the school’s community honours human rights, I find it so awesome that students with exceptionalities/disabilities are integrated into general classes. This can happen largely because of the work of TA’s, because the TA’s work closely with these students. The school also has a special education classroom, but from my experience in the grade 3/4 classroom, there are a few exceptional students that are in the general classroom the whole day. I believe this is honouring their human rights as it is their right to education and right to equality.

ECS 100

week 7

I had such a great experience at Henry Braun school in the grade ¾ classroom. Overall, it made me really excited to become a teacher, and it confirmed for me that I made a good choice in transferring into education. I feel a lot more comfortable being a part of the classroom, even though we did not get the opportunity to actually teach anything, I still feel more confrontable than I did before just helping out and interacting with the students and school staff. I believe that I made some good relationships with the students in the class, as well as I think I formed a good relationship with the cooperating teacher, and I will for sure miss everyone in the future.

It was really interesting to see how a public elementary school has changed from when I was in elementary school. It was nice to see how inclusive the classroom was, as there were students with learning disabilities in the class, and there was a teacher’s assistant working closely with these students. Another thing that was quite different from when I was in school was the use of technology. Technology was heavily incorporated into the day to day schedule for the students. The students used iPads for math and for English by going onto different educational apps. The students with learning disabilities also were given laptops to use during the school year for their assignments. They were mostly used for subjects like ELA, where they would type out their entries instead of writing them by hand.

It was great to observe our cooperating teacher through her daily schedule. By observing her, I learned a lot about what teachers do daily, how they manage their time, how they lesson plan and how they manage their classrooms. I’m thankful that I had the experience that I did for my first placement because if I ever have a placement that doesn’t go as well, I know that I will be able to look back on this one and stay motivated and inspired.

ECS 100

week 1

My partner and I are placed at a public school on Wednesday mornings in a grade 3 / 4 classroom. The school and cooperating teacher were very welcoming to me. The cooperating teacher showed me and my partner to her room and briefly described what the day would look like and gave us a tour of her classroom. When the students arrived in the morning, I was surprised that the students all came in quietly and looked at the schedule on the board and started silent reading. My partner and I were given the opportunity to introduce ourselves to the class, and I felt this went well.

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During the time that we were there in the morning, the class schedule was ELA (including silent reading, an ELA test and bell work), recess, and then arts ed. My partner and I were able to help out the students with things like interpreting the questions on the test. I got to talk to a few students about their test, and how they were doing with it, as well as what kind of books they were reading for silent reading time. I was impressed by some of the students and the books they chose to read during this time. Some of the books I found to be at a higher than expected reading level for them. Overall, the students in the classroom were very welcoming to us and they all seemed like really awesome kids.

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I found the classroom to be a very open and a welcoming space. It was colourful and appeared to be well organized. There were lots of words around the classroom, such as sight words for example, that I’m sure will help support student learning. The daily schedule was on the whiteboard at the front of the classroom. On a wall of the classroom room, the students “best” work was displayed, or as the teacher explained to us, was work that the students were most proud of. The teacher’s desk was at the back of the classroom and I also thought this space was welcoming and organized. I felt inspired by her classroom, and I think I will take a lot of ideas from this experience into my own classroom one day.

This classroom did remind me a lot of my school and my classrooms when I was young. It basically had the same layout to it, and other aspects such as the décor and the seating arrangements were a lot alike as well. I did notice that this classroom, however, had more technology than we had in our classrooms when I was young. For example, this class had a new projector on a cart, 2 iPads for the students to share, and this magnifying thing that the teacher could use to project a magnified version of text on a screen.

This classroom made me feel welcomed, included, and ready to learn and be a part of the class! Overall, I had a great morning at this school and I’m very excited to go back again next week.