I would deem my first day of pre-internship a success. It was successful in that I genuinely felt comfortable in the setting for the majority of the day, and after today, there is no doubt in my mind that this is going to be the most educational (practical) experience in my university career thus far. In my initial exposure to this Grade 7/8 classroom, I have become aware of some of the teaching strategies my coop teacher holds, the kinds of lessons that are taught, the nature of the students, the classroom environment and community , and my role in this particular classroom. Overall, it was a pleasant experience, and it was a good indicator of what is in store for me in this classroom.
As I walked in (initial look was a week ago when I went to visit my coop teacher), I noticed that the desks were not placed in any too particular order – some grouped together, some rows, some chairs beside desks, a couple larger tables, and a couple high tables as well as a couple low tables. I knew right away that my coop teacher has a very free spirited/free to roam philosophy. I respect that, and I think it works well for her because she is very well respected by her students. They talk and converse, and at times it got out of control, but the teacher was always able to bring the students focus back without too much effort. As the day went on and I observed the lessons, I tried to stay involved and walked around to helped students when they had questions or just to keep them on track. The students accepted my feedback, and I was able to point students in the right direction when they had a question in math, a social studies question regarding answering questions from a reading, or their literacy assignment (answering questions from an article). This was all happening before me and my partner’s introductory lesson.
We actually did not do our lesson until the last period, and by then we had already been briefly introduced and had developed somewhat of a relationship with some of the students. This is just what had worked out best with our coop teacher. Nevertheless, we began our lesson with the coop teacher announcing that “Miss Swanson and Miss Cruse will be conducting a short introduction activity.” So we began with just saying a little bit about ourselves (hobbies, where we are from, interests), then gave instructions to the yarn web introduction game. Students were to say their name and somewhere they would like to travel to as well as the person’s name and place of choice who went before them. At each turn, students were to hold a ball of yarn then, still holding a piece of the string, toss it someone else creating a web.
Overall, the activity went well and the student were engaged. There were a few times we had to control the noise level and some “sidetrackedness” going on with the string. With a few “Listening” and “pay attention to your classmates” comments, Kelly, my coop teacher, and I were able to keep the students focused. Something I would have done differently would have been our method of instruction. I wish I would have said my comments about being respectful of the classroom when throwing the yarn and remembering to hold on to the string before throwing prior to beginning because I find it looks and feels a little unorganized when you throw in instructions that should have been mentioned before. Also, we could have maybe had a method in collecting the yarn after the activity that would have involved the students in order for them to avoid playing with it causing them to get a little hyper. Again, overall it was a great first day, and I look forward to teaching a lesson in Social Studies next week!