Today I had a rocky morning. I was up until midnight last night working on lesson plans and my Student Teaching reflections and was woken up at 4:40am with incredibly terrible abdominal pain. Thankfully I was able to get back to sleep, but when I woke up for Student Teaching, the pain was still there. My stomach area was hurting and I felt unable to eat. I also felt weak and had a bad headache. Unfortunately, because I have hypoglycemia, it is incredibly common for me to wake up weak, with a headache, unable to move. I could not figure out the abdominal pain, though. After waiting about 20 minutes for the pain to subside, I ate breakfast and, thankfully, felt much better. All of my symptoms began to subside, so my issues this morning may have simply been blood sugar-related. I finished preparing for Student Teaching and left my home.

When I got to the school I found out that it was a good thing that I had decided to come. A 3rd grade teacher and the gym teacher called in sick today and weren’t going to be in attendance. Because they called in this morning, the school was unable to get substitutes for them. Thankfully, as the day progressed a substitute was brought in for the 3rd grade teacher, but one was never called in for the gym teacher. That wasn’t ideal as today was Fitness Friday, the day where all music, library, and art classes are turned into gym classes. Because of the gym teacher’s absence, the music teacher ran the gym classes while my cooperating teacher and I assisted.

The schedule was the same today as it was last Friday. The morning began with a Friday assembly. I actually really like the Friday assemblies as they’re high energy and exciting. Loud, upbeat music is played during transition periods and the principal speaks about upcoming events, student accomplishments, and things to be excited about. She seems like a nice person and I like the way she interacts with the students. The next batch of P.R.I.D.E. Leaders received their badges and a music video was played to allow the students to dance and get hyped about the upcoming S.T.A.A.R. tests next week. Apparently, the S.T.A.A.R. tests will not affect our art classes.

Friday Assembly

Photograph by: Goodwin-Frazier Elementary School

After the assembly, the music teacher, my cooperating teacher, and I hosted a gym class for each grade level. The students were instructed to walk/run the track for about 7 minutes and were then allowed to play with the different gym stations, such as the mats, puzzles, and building supplies on the stage, basketballs, or wheeled vehicles. This was the schedule for every single class, and just like last Friday, it was quite boring and tiring. It’s so draining watching people have fun and having to address any issues that arise. I tend to monitor the stage area where the students can partake in gymnastics, and it’s always a chaotic mess. Students will be jumping and falling all over each other, moving the mats around, and not taking turns or giving each other space. No matter how many times I stopped all of the students and told them how to appropriately act, it would quickly become chaotic again.

There was one student in particular, today, who openly defied everything we told him to do. He did not join the other students in walking the track for 7 minutes and instead ran about the gym crawling on the storage bins, entering the storage room, dangling from the basketball hoop, or even starting to play with the gym stations. When he began riding one of the wheeled vehicles outside, many students started riding them, too, because they thought it was time to. While I was able to get the other students to go back to the track, I could not control the problem student no matter what I did. He would not listen to me and if I took something away from him, he would just run and get another one. Finally, the class was done walking the track and returned to the gym to begin the stations. The music teacher saw me trying to control the student and told me to just leave him alone.

At the end of class, this student was again not listening at all and wouldn’t put away the basketball that he was playing with. The music teacher was calling students who were well-behaved and had cleaned up to line up for recess. When the homeroom teachers walked into the gym to take the students to recess, this difficult student immediately put the basketball away and ran to the front of the line as the teachers took the line outside. Nothing seemed to be done with this student and he seemed to be able to do whatever he wanted without any real consequences. Even though all of the other students had to be well-behaved to get their rewards, such as lining up first, this student just ran to the front of the line and was the first one on the playground. I was upset by this unfairness.

Today was also a fire drill which caused some issues. The fire drill was held 15 minutes before school ended and we escorted all of the students outside. After the drill ended and we were allowed back inside, the music teacher told all of the students to run to a distant fence, come back, and then line up to go back to their homerooms. The students normally return to their homerooms 15 minutes before the bell rings, but because of the fire drill, two minutes before the bell was about to ring, we were still trying to line students up in the gym to return to their homerooms. There were even some students who were still returning from the fence, too out-of-breath to run. I was asked to escort the students back inside, and the bell rang while I was gathering them. Because of the fire drill, after-school dismissal was also pushed back a little as it took the teachers and students longer to get outside. I’m still not sure why the music teacher asked the students to run to the fence and back before lining up in the gym.

One major highlight of the day, though, was the fact that my cooperating teacher had an extended lunch period. We used this time to discuss next week’s plans, to come up with new lessons, and to just chat in general. I learned about how my teacher writes lessons, comes up with plans, how she fills time, and even how she grades. We talked a lot and I felt more comfortable afterwards. I’m really hoping that our relationship will continue to improve.

STAAR Test Funk

<< Thursday, March 26, 2015 | Student Teaching Reflections | Monday, March 30, 2015 >>

1 reply
  1. EK
    EK says:

    “I still am bewildered at how I’ll be able to learn all of the students’ names over the time I’m Student Teaching here,”
    Most teachers just carry a seating chart so they can call students by name. Each year you learn some more because you already know many returning students.

    “It seems that second grade students may need more instruction on actually using the paint.”
    Absolutely! EVERY grade level, even high school also need age appropriate instruction on how to and how not to….

    “Maybe if the water wasn’t changed so often they wouldn’t have the chance to create so many new colors.”
    Every one of my painting lessons – K – 8, began with experimentation with color mixing. All students need to play at first. But the more experiences they have at an early age, the more they know and the less they need to experiment – so the more ready they are to work. There is MAGIC in color mixing that they just can’t skip.

    “Even after my cooperating teacher and I addressed these students personally, they still continued painting “things.” They didn’t understand the concept, which made me wonder if this activity should be pushed up a grade level.”
    No need to push it up a grade level. I told students up front if they painted things, I would take the paper away and they would start over. I told them if they did it a second time, they would stop painting. I don’t recall every have to make anyone stop painting but I did have to make students start over now and then.

    “The students were shown several examples of O’Keeffe’s paintings and were told to pay attention to how the flowers were drawn incredibly large with parts of them going off the edges of the page.”
    Explanations and examples are NO SUBSTITUE for an actual demo. Also – I required a preliminary drawing before students could start painting. Usually they gave up on small stuff as soon as they saw some students with large work getting to start with the paint. It is very hard to change to something large after paint has been applied. So the teacher needs to be the gatekeeper of the materials as a way of assuring that all students will be successful.

    “I feel that this particular assignment should be assigned to a higher grade level in which they can try stylizing the animals like in the original caves”
    Instruction and demos help take up time and increase student understanding and success. I would have had students identifying shapes and trying to figure out size, shape and position to draw from observation of line drawings of animals. Of course, most of the Kindergarteners are not able to draw from observation but it gets them to thinking about it and identifying shapes is one of the things in the K curriculum. Also – there a a number of children’s books on cave painting I would have read – or at least shown pictures and talked my way through it.

    “Why doesn’t my cooperating teacher demonstrate for her students or walk them through the beginning steps of a lesson?”
    Again, there is no substitute for a demo that involves students. Your CT may have had difficulty keeping students involved and gave up on doing demos. Don’t you give up. Train your students and involve them at least several times per minute.

    “How does my cooperating teacher determine what grade level a lesson plan is appropriate for?”
    I don’t know how she does it, but I focused on learning first – if students were suitably mentally advanced to understand and apply the concept, and then on physical development of manipulation skills. I tried a lesson at one grade. If 6 students didn’t “get” it, I tried it at the next highest grade level. If all students “got it” with no trouble, I tried it at the next lower grade.

    “Why are the students called “friends” by the staff?”
    I don’t know but my daughter, the AISD Kindergarten teacher, does it, too. I think it is more professional than “kids”, and more personal than “students”.


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