Sunday, March 24, 2013

2 Stars & A Wish: Appropriate Pacing

     My second week of student teaching has come to a close and we are now officially on Spring Break until April 1st; so we are off for a full week. I am hoping to utilize this time to further prep for my classes and possible interviews that can come up in the next few months. Two things I think went really well this week were:
1 ) Enforcing Accountability with my Students
- This week we had a few preliminary assignments that we worked
  on in my various classes. They were not extensive or time consuming,
  but I needed them to be completed before the students went into Spring
  Break. When assignments were not completed in class time, or for 
  homework, I had three students who had to join me at lunch so we could
  get them completed on time.
- I feel like this helped to solidify what my expectations were in regards to
  missing assignments; simply not doing them is not an option. I was able 
  to go into Spring Break with all my assignments in and students were able
  to have a week off knowing that they did not have any homework at all. 
- It is my hopes that after Spring Break my students and I will be on the same
  page in regards to expectations and that work will be completed on time.
2 ) Creating an Interactive Display of Student Work for Parent-Teacher Interviews
- One of the projects my students worked on this week in Grade 10
  Geography was creating infographics on various mineral resources that
  are used on a daily basis. They needed to research:
  a ) the top three locations where the mineral is mined
  b ) if it is a metallic or non-metallic mineral
  c ) if it is abundant or scarce
  d ) three uses for the mineral
- Once they were all completed we created QR codes that, when scanned 
  by a device, would take them to all of the written research that had gone 
  into the infographic. We attached the QR codes directly to the infographics
  and had a really neat interactive display to show parents during parent-teacher
  interviews.
- The students seemed to really enjoy the tech aspect of this and I feel like it
  reinforced the importance of citing your work and giving credit where credit is
  due. It can be really hard to include all your references on poster displays like
  these so by having a QR code that links to the research you are still able to 
  show all of the research while maintaining the aesthetic look of the poster. 

QR codes in the classroom, using QR codes with students

     One thing that I feel like I need to work on, however, is setting appropriate pacing for my Grade 8 Social Studies class. When I had planned out our unit on Ancient Greece and Rome I had tried to pencil in how many days I wanted to spend on the various outcomes based on what type of activities we had planned. Unfortunately, this week we only had ONE day together due to a snow day, me being away with my Grade 10 Geography class and parent-teacher interviews. Furthermore, when we return from Spring Break we will be missing additional classes due to a PD day, their band trip, science fair, and a guest speaker at another school in our division. With all this missed time, I know that I will have to spend some time this week going over my unit again and reevaluating what I want to accomplish and what can be done differently. My goal for Spring Break is to revamp my unit plan to ensure that I can still complete our unit appropriately while working within our time constraints and leaving enough time for portfolio assessment (which I want to work on during our last week together). I will keep you updated on how it goes!

Week 1: 2 Stars & A Wish Update
     Last week I shared that I wanted to work on establishing boundaries with one of my students in my Grade 8 Social Studies class. This week was very short for us as Monday was a snow day, Tuesday I was away with my Grade 10 Geography class and Friday was parent-teacher interviews so I only had ONE day of classes with them. Despite the fact that it was one day, however, I still tried to work on our goal. As per our agreement, I privately reminded him of the expectations before class started: 
- Not walk around the room unless it was part of the activity
- Not distract those around him during work time
- Not speak while I or other students were speaking
I did need to remind him one time about not distracting those around him when he restarted someone's iPad in the middle of their work, but overall I feel like it was an improvement. Our activity allowed him to interact with the other students and he was incredibly helpful in troubleshooting some of the technical glitches we ran into with our iPads. I am looking forward to more progress when we return from Spring Break. 

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