All posts tagged: Class notes

Writing Narratives

Today was an amazing day, although it didn’t start that way. I spent most of the morning struggling through a medium level panic attack where I couldn’t even eat breakfast. Not exactly the way to start school in the morning when you have a ton of work to get done. Fortunately for myself, I have two amazing co-teachers who had already made the plans for each of the classes. In both classes, I didn’t have to do much except get them started. This afforded me time to focus on calming myself down. As the day wore on, I was able to regain a normal heart rate and get some work done in the process. Although, I can still feel the residual effects of being severely drained and completely unmotivated to finish work for tomorrow. While the work day was great, technology was not on my side. I spent about 15 minutes trying to get the tv up and running this morning during first block as it was not connecting to the correct channel for AirPlay. Effectively, this …

Grammar Lessons

Today I am all out of sorts. The classes went great and I was able to get a lot of work done today, but I have other things on my mind at the moment that make thinking critically difficult to accomplish. This will probably be short. EL 200 went exactly according to plan. The students were engaged and worked hard. I wonder if this has something to do with the way that the grammatical lessons are structured from the textbook. They seem to be in a much more linear format compared to the other lessons from the text. I also think that the lessons are much more selective in how they work. Just when I think I have a great idea to tie in something else, I read that idea in the text as a recommendation or a next step. I think this also makes it easier for me to flow with the lesson. I was also able to come up with a game on the fly. I had already intended on doing some sort of …

Always Follow Your Own Rules.

As I was writing the title for this post today, I realized that the sentence has some semantic ambiguity that should probably be clarified. Well, let me clarify the clarification first. If I put the emphasis of the sentence “Always follow your own rules” into the word “own” then one interpretation is to not follow the rules of other’s. However, that is not my intention. My emphasis is on the word “always.” When I make a rule for myself, I need to follow it. Here is why. If I am not following my own rules, I am not using what I have learned and being better. This is especially true in teaching. There are many things that I have learned over the years, and I’m sure that I will learn many more in the years to come. One rule that I set for myself a long time ago was to test every lesson plan before bringing it to students. Like a dry run or a field test. This is where you catch hiccups and problems and loose …

Student Transfers

I think one of the things that is often neglected when teaching as a profession is described is the total amount of tasks that you will be expected to complete on a daily basis. Today I really thought about this as my schedule was completely changed due to a new student arrival. I was supposed to check in with 3 students during my case managment time. Yet, here I am marking notes and shifting the schedule down a day because of student testing. This morning I had to check in with one of the SpED teachers about accommodations for testing in early spring. I still have 3 more teachers to connect with. Sure, this may not sound like much, but when I started actually thinking about my day, I wondered what a list would look like if I wrote down everything that I do in a day. I know that there are some articles online that have compiled all the tasks expected of teachers, but I’m pretty sure that these lists are not comprehensive to …

Calmness

Right now I am trying to come down from an uncomfortable conversation that I was having earlier. It’s one of those weird things where it starts with question and everything spirals out of control. It’s honestly got me pretty bummed out and tired. It’s really annoying having someone come in and talk about things that they have no idea about. It’s annoying. What is more annoying is when someone takes a question and turns it against you. However, it’s at this point that I need to carefully think about what I want to say. Not because I am worried about losing my job or anying. It’s just that our brains have a way of defending ourselves no matter what we were doing. We as humans have a way of looking over our own faults and focusing on everyone else’s. That’s the fatal attribution error. Plus I could even be having erroneous memories or remembering them incorrectly. Writing is calming. Thinking about how my brain may be twisting my words and actions is even more calming. Today went …

The Little Details

The idea for using the block lesson plan template seems to be working in the class. The students really appreciated the independence that it afforded them and all were engaged in the activities. I can still see some struggling students who are having a hard time comprehending based on lower level grammatical knowledge. They are not always able to identify the subject or verb in a sentence. I understand that some of these readings they choose were difficult and included a high need of background knowledge to truly understand the text. I may need to continue to curate stories for those students. On the flipside, the student groups did an excellent job of negotiating meaning and sharing understandings. Each person in the group was able to understand what the news article was talking about by the end of the group session. It was very exciting to see. I even took some pictures.  One thing that I would add to these sessions of group work, beyond curating sources for students with limited background knowledge of the topics, …

Cherish The Funny Moments

Today was another great day on all counts. I can’t complain about a single thing today. Co-teaching is definitely going smoother now that my colleague and I are planning regularly and working together. Math went fairly smooth once the students were engaged in an activity. Motivation is a huge factor in that class and must always remain a part of how we plan our lessons. In EL 200, many students still struggled to summarize text. I can see some progress, but we will clearly need to keep working at the strategies. Also, during my prep, an interesting idea was brought to my attention. We have been pushing the workshop model for all teaching. I realized that perhaps there isn’t enough evidence out there for this model to be used in more than reading and writing. It took me a little bit of searching, but I was able to find some sites that gave more explicit instructions in the model. However, I still have yet to see solid evidence for its use. I really don’t have time to …

Fired Up

I’m pretty fired up right now and honestly, I’m not sure why. I mean, I do understand what is running through my head that is making me run arguments in circles, but these things are not necessary at all. It’s all just a part of the OCD and trying to get out of the loop. Today went well on all counts. I think I have found my pacing with my classes and can continue to safely navigate the path forward. In economics, we are seeing a lot of growth and hard work. Tomorrow will tell for sure if what we have set up is working, but I have a few more tricks up my sleeve to ensure that our small discussion will run smoothly. I created a talking card for each student that gives the students examples of how to begin when addressing other students. Many students struggle with having an academic conversation. Last quarter, out of 33 students, only 2 used evidence from their articles to support their claims. Therefore, I have added that to …

Experimental Update

Today was great. I honestly had one of the best days in the classroom that I can even remember. Each of my hours went well with only minor bumps in the road for 3rd block. First of all, I can’t even tell you how much difference is made when you and your co-teacher have a chance to plan together and work out who is going to do what. For so long I was walking into that class without having a clue what was on the agenda. While this is only day two of the new quarter, I can immediately feel the differences since our planning session last week. I do realize how far behind I am in creating things for Thursday, but I am able to contribute in class instead of just standing around. Plus, I added an extra piece to the lesson today that I think went really well. We were having the students find a current event article and think critically about the content within it. Where did they find it? Is it credible? …

Take a few steps back

Today was another one of those days where I realized that what we were doing in class was far too much for my students. I am very glad that I decided to push them today and make sure that they were keeping pace, but I also could not see evidence of them processing the information because we were moving so quickly. What I realized is that we need to step back even further to summarizing text in order to build up to taking notes. As with my last post about how we truly need some needs based assessments to guide our teaching and even grouping of students, this is easily reflected in today’s lesson. One students out of 11 was able to answer questions from the reading. Many students struggled to keep the pace of writing as quickly as I needed to go. The negative side of this is that there was no time for reflection on what we were reading or writing. However, the positive side is that it is setting the pace of the …