Today was my first day instructing a class during my Student Teaching experienc eat Comal Independent School District’s Goodwin-Frazier Elementary School. After seeing my cooperating teacher begin a new lesson with the 1st grade students, I took the reigns as I introduced the lesson to this day’s class of 1st graders. The class began with my teacher introducing me as she had been out last Wednesday and hadn’t been able to before. Afterwards, she gave me the class and I started by reviewing the term, “landscape” which they’d been learning about before. The students were able to recall what a landscape was and the important features about one. I then showed an example of a landscape made from colored tissue paper and explained that they would be creating their own. I explained that the students would be using multiple colors in their grass and sky, then asked the students about what I had just explained.
“Can your sky be just one color?”
“Can your grass be just one color?”
I felt that the students understood the assignment and were ready to begin when I sent them to their seats. Before the students could begin, we needed to create the 3-dimensional tree from the brown paper lunch sack. Each student received a bag and I instructed them to open their bags and set them on their tables.
“Where should you set your bag?”
“On the table!”
After all the bags had been opened, I showed the students how to cut the corner of the bag to create a small hole, and then showed them how to put the scissors in the hole and cut the bottom from the bag. After the bottoms of the bags had been cut off, I demonstrated how to cut the vertical strips, and then how to twist the trunk and the branches. The demonstration seemed to run efficiently, however, I found it incredibly difficult to gain the attention of students who weren’t giving me their focus. Without knowing their names it was difficult to get their attention. “I need Red Table’s attention!” I would call out. “Red Table, there’s still some students not giving me their eyes. I need everyone to look at me. This is important.” My cooperating teacher agreed that it’s hard to manage the class without knowing names. She said that her first year was incredibly difficult until she mastered the names.
The rest of my class seemed to go pretty well. The students followed my directions for the most part, understood the concepts, and worked until the end of class. After the class ended, my cooperating teacher noted my success and I agreed that things seemed to go well. I still feel nervous about teaching at the elementary level, but at least I know that I’m not terrible at it.
Today, I decided to create a teacher-made example alongside the students. Although all of the students were starting new assignments this week, my cooperating teacher did allow her 5th grade students to finish their Aboriginal Australian Animal drawings since so many of them had not finished and because 5th grade students have art class twice a week every three weeks. With all of the Sharpies, colored pencils, gluesticks, and a papers out, I was too enticed and decided to make an artwork, myself. I love depicting animals and the Australian Aboriginal style intrigues me with its simplistic and stylized variety. I decided to create a kangaroo, an Australian classic, and began sketching on brown paper.
In my cooperating teacher’s lesson, students drew an animal on a small sheet of colored paper. After outlining the drawing in Sharpie and decorating around the animal, they then glued the colored sheet of paper to a white sheet of paper. On that paper, they added a decorative, patterned border in Sharpie. After finishing that, they then glued that onto a larger tan paper and added another decorative, patterned border in Sharpie. This created a decorative, layered look and really enhanced the piece.
I decided to draw my kangaroo on a brown sheet of paper to keep with a natural theme. As I was working on my piece, I found it challenging to stylize my animal in a way that kept it recognizable and detailed. I also really struggled to keep within the fine boundaries of overworking my piece and adding just enough pattern and variety. It took me a while to figure out what to do around my kangaroo in the extra brown space and I ended up changing my mind several times. In the end, I was pleased with my piece and really enjoyed creating it. I feel that this is a neat lesson.
Today I ended up staying about an hour after school ended to help my teacher change out the display cases in the hallways. After dismissal duty my teacher announced that she’d be changing the cases.
“Do you need any help?” I asked.
“Well, no, not really. I’ve got a system, I don’t really need anyone else…I guess you can come along to see how I do it,” my cooperating teacher replied.
Again, I felt that she had everything so organized that she simply didn’t need me, but I took her offer and followed her into the hallways. She showed me how this school has high quality frames in the hallways that showcase the artwork in a beautiful and safe way that is still easy to manage and exchange. She opened a case and took the artworks off of the backing. After pulling the tape from the backs of the artworks, she applied new tape to the new artworks and hung those up before closing the glass door and moving on to the next frame. My cooperating teacher has a wheeled cart that makes this process extremely efficient.
“How about I take all the artworks down, and you hang the new ones up?” I suggested.
“Oh, I guess that would work.”
It felt like we had finished hanging all of the work in no time at all. I really like the frames that this school has and so does my cooperating teacher. She noted that she would have to find out what kind of frames they are if she changed schools to see if she could get them into a school that didn’t have them. I also liked that she had the cart. It made things much simpler as we stored the art on it and rolled down the hallway. There wasn’t any bending over to pick things up off the floor and our arms weren’t full. My teacher definitely has a system for everything and she seems to have everything figured out.