Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Final Blog Post!

It is hard to believe that my time teaching in the Summer Learning Place is just about finished. My experience at the SLP has been both frustrating and wonderful at the same time.  I was initially very excited about teaching a different group of children than I was used to and was looking forward to working with my co-teacher Leane.  However, my excitement quickly faded when I realized our children were not the most well behaved students in the program.  My excitement was pretty much nonexistent when I realized that I had no experience dealing with the types of behaviors that these students were exhibiting in our classroom.  Good thing I had a fabulous co teacher full of great ideas by my side.  

Despite the troubles we were facing, Leane and I did not throw in the towel!  We thought about all we had learned during our time at Furman.  We collaborated with our peers, and discovered strategies which helped to alleviate some of our behavior problems.  We had good days, and we had bad days.  But at the end of all of our days, I was delighted to see that most of our students had met or exceeded their SLP goals.  Seeing the post assessment results really made the entire experience worthwhile. 

I do not believe that I will quit my current teaching job and seek out a class more like the one I had at the SLP.  This experience definitely made me realize that I am pretty happy where I am at, and if anything my time at the SLP has reaffirmed my love for my own students.    

Monday, July 23, 2012

Reading Lesson

Today I taught a reading lesson in which our students were divided into two different groups of three.  During group time the students had three different centers they had to complete.  The centers for my group were:  the Ipad, a rhyming game, and individual teacher work time. Leane’s centers were:  HearBuilder computer game, “texting comprehension” game, and individual teacher work time. During each student’s individual teacher work time they worked on their individual reading goals. The students worked at each of these centers for 15 minutes (I used a timer) and then rotated to the next center. 

The centers work very well in our classroom and the individual time with the teacher allows the student’s to work on their ability level.  I felt that all of the centers today were appropriate and the students enjoyed rotating to each of them.  They did a great job of asking for help when they needed it, and staying quiet at each center.  Some of the students had a hard time with the sound on the Ipad, so I will be sure to have the volume on the appropriate level next time we use it. 

The texting comprehension game seemed like a lot of fun, but ended up be a bit too difficult for some of the students in our class.  Students were supposed to write text messages on a fake cell phone to demonstrate comprehension of a short story.  I thought it would be easy and fun for them, but it ended up being too difficult and time consuming for a short 15 minute time period.  Next time, I would only use parts of the texting comprehension game in order to make it appropriate for my student’s abilities. 

Overall I thought this was a good lesson, and the rotating centers are a great way to accomplish individual reading goals for a variety of ability levels in a short amount of time.  My coteacher did a fabulous job of teaching her group and scaffolding the lesson appropriately for each student.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Week two and math lesson

Math lesson:

Today I taught a math lesson on subtraction of two digit numbers using regrouping. Overall, I felt the lesson went well. The class was divided into two small groups which seems to be the most effective way to work with our diverse group of students.  For the lesson, the students in each group had to use a number spinner to come up with two digit numbers to subtract the numbers on their own worksheet.  I thought this was a good concept, and the kids really seemed to enjoy using the spinner.  One of the kids did have trouble using the spinner, and needed some extra help from me.  Next time I might pair the students in groups of two so that if one is having trouble, they can get help from their classmate.  The students who finished early played a self-checking game which I found very helpful to reinforce the skill that was just taught. 

Overall I though the lesson was successful, and I think I would use it again with a few modifications.  I think the use of spinners made the concept of subtracting more exciting and more motivating to our students.  It was a lot of fun!

Leane and I have been having a little bit of difficulty with behavior management of our students this week.  It was getting frustrating, but they pulled it together today.  I was so impressed with their skills!  Hopefully our chain of positivity will increase their probability for a pizza party.  They are very motivated to eat bacon pizza!    

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

First 2 days...crazy

The first two days with students at the Summer Learning Place have been very busy and chaotic.  I have been so happy with the students, and their abundance of knowledge, language, and problem solving skills.  They are quite different from my regular class of students with autism.  While I am admiring all of the skills being used in our classroom, I am also feeling slightly overwhelmed with the amount of work that is requred to teach these 7 students each day.  Materials are very limited, and it is difficult to determine the right materials for all of the various levels we have in our classroom.  I feel very anxious about this and the fact that I may not be able to accomodate all of my students various abilities.

While I am not excited about our lack of materials, I feel very greatful for the fact that I have a wonderful coteacher by my side.  I most definitely could not teach in the Summer Learning Place all alone. Leane is very supportive and innovative and comes up with great ideas to use in our classroom. Leane and I work together like a well oiled machine and this will benefit our wonderful students. 

I am looking forward to the coming weeks and anticipating the challenges and suprises that will come in the Summer Learning Place.  However, I am mostly looking forward to the pay raise that we will all recieve after these three weeks are complete :)