Archived Posts from this Category
Archived Posts from this Category
Thunder, or not,
the children still have to learn
the lessons still need to be taught
but right now on the playground
the sun is beckoning
and Simon Says
Tom helped me set up anther computer for the room today.
And I finished rearranging the tables. It is looking better, hopefully there are some good improvements in my technique as well.
The last pic is of Mother and Grant with Tom in the background at the Solo and Ensemble day last weekend. He got a “Superior” rating… Not bad for his first time out!
I spent the last two days with a class of fourth graders.
First day: power flickered regularly for the first couple of hours, winds were strong and an announcement made AFTER students were in the building that teachers should have their walkie-talkies on standby in case the power went out… the kids were pretty on edge for a while.
Second day: At our house it wasn’t even sprinkling. By the time we reached the high school to drop off our son it was snowing lightly. By the time Tom dropped me off at my assignment school it was snowing heavily. So the kids came in (a little randomly as some buses hadn’t been on time/able to get to all their stops) already feeling a bit “off” — and then a special program for parents mid-day, with treats… the kids were pretty on edge (snow) and then very excited (performance), and then overly tired from adrenaline/sugar overload.
Fourth graders can handle the pressure!
Both days, I explained to the kids that I knew what we were doing, that I knew what to do if things changed, and then I set clear expectations that I enforced. A lot less enforcement needed on day two even though it was actually a more difficult energy day.
Both days, there were only minor incidents between kids, easily addressed.
Both days, there were only minor attempts to flout rules, which were easily addressed.
Both days, I had a really good time; and most of the kids had a really good time, too.
Both days, I actually knew what I was doing in terms of teaching, and I became a lot more comfortable thinking ahead and pre-addressing misconceptions. I am not “there” yet at this grade level, but I can see where I need to be, and think that with a week or two to develop a sense for where each and all students are I would be proficient at explaining tasks and concepts at this level. I think my biggest issue these past two days was just not knowing what vocabulary and prior knowledge were in play in the room. As I figured these two factors out, things got smoother.
My feet… today I stood and walked almost the entire time kids were in the classroom. My shoes aren’t bad, but I think when I have my own classroom I will definitely invest in a couple of cushiony floor mats for the places I stand while presenting.
I really love teaching. It’s a good week!
And that is what I have to say about the week so far.
I have added two pages, both are in the sidebar to the right.
Under "About" is a Page that reads My Online Resume. No surprise, but it has the basic text of the resume I walked in to a local district last week. I am going to add in some of the additional activities and training sessions I have attended in the last 7 months as well as some of my hobbies and skills — those would go on a second page, if I were to hand it in.
In the "Papers" section is my Master’s Paper. Titled, Access to Opportunity it is a cursory exploration of some of the issues surrounding technology literacy in schools. While the writing process was artificial and disorganized, I think there is information in this paper that could help other teachers who are also struggling with either how to articulate the need to take instructional time to support student use of technology, or how to understand the variances in capacity between students.
I will probably be spending time this coming summer organizing and re-arranging pages, to make it easier to navigate what is rapidly becoming a catch-all site. I might break out some of the functions again, and start maintaining separate sites for my professional teacher activities, storytelling and arts, and my random but hopefully fascinating observations on life in general…
with the student teaching for this quarter. So much still to do, but I am looking forward to being able to take a few weeks’ breather beginning the end of November.
The students are working on completing their final projects — a formal assessment consisting of a paper and a presentation. I am taking time to answer questions, keep them on track, and help them problem-solve.
I am also trying to keep up with my own paperwork (not quite making it, but definitely better than I was doing at the beginning of my solo teaching… and working on the final report I must do for the quarter.
Anxious about not being able to get it “all perfect” and knowing that “perfect” is such an illusive (and illusory) goal.
Wish I were still the parent-volunteer in my neighborhood school.
Meantime, the garden produced a good bit of squash this year, continues to have luscious swiss chard and broccoli and a couple lettuces. The figs are done for the year. As usual, dozens left immature on the tree. The quince were not as prolific as most years, the apple had a few small green apples that disappeared before we got to them, the pears had nothing we could see. Flowers are all but done for the year of course, so I am thinking about ways to enhance and move things around next year for easier upkeep (weeding).
The children are lively and well. The elder is enjoying his school, the younger is not complaining. The elder has a job doing yard work that he found through his school’s job placement office, so he is pleased about that. The younger is in the school play. Both are in a concert November 7, and will for the first time be in the Conservatory and Brass Choir together! We are very pleased and excited for both of them.
And Tom… Tom is pretty much managing the fort until I am done with the work for this quarter. I couldn’t be doing this without him!
and I am still here.
Student teaching is rougher than I imagined, but as I do more actual teaching (as opposed to observing and being the “extra eyes” in the room) I am improving. Somewhat.
It is clear I have a long way to go, in both developing lessons and delivering them.
On the other hand, I am seeing progress, both in myself and in the students.
Seven more weeks to go in this go-round, then a quarter of being just a student again, and one more student teaching in the spring.
For now, we’ll assume it will go as planned.
Meantime in the family, we have two students in the same school again, although the elder son is more than half-time at the community college rather than high school. It is nice, though, to have one bus schedule (and school schedule) to remember for a bit.
Both in the band, both considering debate this year, both enjoying being with their friends after a long summer.
Meantime in the garden, we have squash! and apparently pumpkins. And swiss chard and lettuce, cucumbers, potatoes, various herbs and flowers, and in the wings, if they can outgrow the hungry baby slugs that finally appeared in the last month, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages.
I was fortunate, the day after I wrote the previous post to have a lovely warm afternoon. I remade the scarf that didn’t turn out and improved the design as well as the color. Constant refinement, in arts as in life, provides both variety and opportunity. I didn’t take any pictures, though. Not enough time.
I am sure I am forgetting something.
The beautiful goldfinch that sat in the medlar last weekend while I worked on lesson plans?
The mists that hang heavy in the morning and many evenings already?
The long commutes most mornings that get me up three hours before the school I am teaching at begins? Or the long commutes most evenings that see me home sometime after everyone else is long ready for evening recreation?
It’s raining again, more than 6 inches since it began earlier this week. Soon the boggy area down by the road will fill with water and the frogs will stop singing. The maples will turn a brilliant yellow and the (non-native but now ubiquitous) sweetgum an eye-popping scarlet.
If we are lucky, there will be a few days of glorious sun while the colors are on the trees.
And then the landscape will rest, and bid us do the same.
Meantime, there is research to do, lessons to plan and deliver, and a family to tend.
Okay, so I walked through the garden yesterday and today. ALL the plums are gone from the plum tree. All of them. I harvested two (of the several dozen that were there) a couple weeks ago, and now ALL of them have been eaten. Presumptive culprits: deer, raccoons, crows. I am not a happy camper.
Other losses: the large sage plant that I had in a planter next to the driveway has also died. I believe it is due to getting too dry, even though we have had more than average precipitation this year and I didn’t water it much last year. So it’s possible that it’s just old. I have a new one I bought from the local school’s fundraiser down in the veggie garden. Will transplant that one up to the planter in the fall. I will MAKE time. An advantage to being a student teacher is that for a few of the weeks at the beginning of the year I am NOT the one in charge.
Other things of note: we have a LOT of figs on one tree, a few tiny ones on another, and nothing discernible on the third. The hazelnuts are almost ready, I am sure the squirrels will get them before I do, as usual. The pretty yellow wood rose that was by the pond is gone, but there are two very anemic-looking gladioli in evidence. I have one dahlia already blooming, and several plants managed to survive the long wet winter, so I am pleased. I very much hope that I will be able to lift them all in October and let them dry out over the winter for a change. Otherwise, I will need to just purchase a whole bunch of new ones (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing…
On a personal level…. I played in the back yard for a little while on Wednesday and Friday, running around a bit. AND went for an hour-long walk with Tom last night. I think my hip is back to (my) normal. And it is sooooo good to be mobile.
Tomorrow… I plan on a leisurely day, some garden, some berry jam making, and in the evening, going to a performance of The Sound of Music, at which the elder stidkid is playing in the orchestra pit. I am completely in vacation mode.
Posted by stidmama on 05 Jun 2010 | Tagged as: Babble, children, education, Family Matters, fun, garden, Gardens and Life, grad school, health, Making a Difference, parenting, school, teaching, Uncategorized
Well. It was a LONG school year for me. And now it is over. I am apparently continuing in the program, and have a student teaching assignment lined up for next year! I will meet with my mentor teacher next week.
The end result of the actual teaching in the school I was doing my practicum was positive. Not only did we all survive (always my first concern), but more than 95% of the students managed to turn in work that demonstrated an engagement with and understanding of the idea of adding description to writing to enhance meaning! A few students even chose to continue to refine their work after I returned it to them. Most students seemed to find either poetry OR prose engaging, but a few enjoyed the whole shebang. I was able to demonstrate improvement in writing for many students, although in the future I need to refine the actual points I document.
The best parts of this school year were definitely the work I did IN the actual classrooms; the hardest and least satisfying were the “lessons” I had to write up and “teach” to my peers — who don’t interact with materials at the same level of interest or ability as real children. Also, most of those lessons provided anywhere from minimal “good job” feedback to none at all from my instructors. What is the point of assigning work that isn’t monitored, and letting students continue blindly in a path that may or may not be profitable? At least now I know from a student’s point of view how that feels (not good).
I have a couple weeks now to relax and recoup before I begin the summer session — five weeks, but devoted to the reading endorsement that so interests me. So it won’t seem onerous. And it’s with the same teacher I had last summer, someone who is engaging and gives good feedback.
The “free time” I will have will be devoted to the garden and house, and to working with a stidkid on refining some skills that his school has (again) dropped the ball on. *stern mama look* No excuse to let a student’s performance not meet their ability!
And in August, just before I dive into the student teaching, there is a Babblers meet up here in Olympia! We are very excited about this. Will get some folks from the local area as well as some from as far afield as Canada and the East Coast of the U.S.!
For today, however… I am resting and getting over a late flu bug that hit this week (yes, I missed my final day of class for the program), and getting my bearings on the tasks ahead for the summer. If the sun comes out, I might even spend time in the garden!
The “first significant snow” in the mountains.
A lot of rain down near Puget Sound.
The leaves on the trees, that were so bright this past week, that covered the ground with a warm quilt of color, will soon turn brown and the light will filter through the bare branches. Except for the evergreens, which this time of year seem nearly black, silhouetted against a silvery sky.
The children’s routines are well established, and mine is coming together. Expectations have become clear, and a pattern has developed. I have odd, irregular hours, but overall my days now flow well and most of the workload, while heavy, is now manageable. The weekends are lovely, as I set my own time for “doing” and my own time for “resting.”
I am starting to look around and consider which box I shall empty next… but I am not yet at the “emptying” stage. Perhaps next week. Or over the week-long Thanksgiving break? One thing about time, we always have it. At least these deadlines, for home-centered tasks, are truly flexible.
Not so, my reading for this program. And so…
[the author vanishes behind a stack of books and papers]