Saturday, January 29, 2011

Weekly Routines

My next attempt on covering the way routines were done in my classroom- Weekly routines!!

Weekly Routines: Classroom Jobs, Home reading, Spelling, Journal

1. Classroom jobs
The classroom jobs were jobs that students had during the week- there would be a chart to keep track on who had done which job, so that it was made sure that everyone got to do the various jobs. I announced the jobs for the week on the Monday morning- it would be an added routine for Monday during our daily routine.

The jobs:
- Teacher Assistant: responsible for handing out stickers in all students' agendas and other important documents/letters etc.
- Messenger: responsible for delivering attendance folder to the office and any notices going to the office or other classrooms
- Snack Monitor: 2 students responsible for picking up the snack bins in the staffroom and returning it when snack time is done
- Garbage Monitor: responsible for picking up trash and keeping the floor clean and emptying the recycle bin 
- Board eraser: responsible for erasing the board 
- Locker Monitor: responsible for making sure that the hallways are clean and organized- no jackets or backpacks on the floor
- Sweeper Monitor: responsible for sweeping

The children loved having the jobs and I believe it truly contributed to them feeling part of the classroom community. They had the same system in the French classroom. 

2. Home reading
Students always had the homework of reading 10 minutes whether they were in Grade 1 or 2. These were sight word books. 
Every Monday the books were changed- again, the class lists and book numbers were used to record which book a student had read and not read. 
Depending on the student's reading ability we also changed the type of book he/she brought home- we had one very advanced reader so for him we chose more complex books. 

I completely concur with my CT's belief that reading is crucial- reading skill is so beneficial in all other academic subjects. We were careful to choose books that students felt success with: where they could independently and confidently read it. 

3. Spelling
Spelling was mainly part of grade 2's routine. They were given a list of 12 words every Monday- the morning lesson would go over the words and they would also be given an activity to go with the words for that week. 

This is an example of one week's spelling: we would go over what the word means, and do interactive activities- finding words that rhyme, finding words within the words... etc

Their homework for the week would be to practice these words for the Spelling test on Fridays. 

4. Journal
Every Tuesday, the morning lesson included Journal. This was to ensure regular writing time- something I found very valuable. I saw an immense difference from comparing students' journal entries in the beginning of September and in December. 
The topic would be something quite open-ended and something everyone could relate to. We would always also start with reading a story. Then as a class we brainstormed the topic, to make sure that students had the support (key words they could use in the entry etc) needed before starting to write. Many of my students lacked the self-confidence and language ability such as vocabulary to be able to just write based just on the given topic. 

This journal lesson was based on the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

This is an example of an journal entry: for this one, students discussed Remembrance Day: what we do, what we see etc. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

A little bit of catching up: How Daily Routines worked

I was hoping to update this blog and catch up on all the things I wanted to write down DURING the winter break, but instead, here I am without having done that- I managed to fill my days in Japan with meetings with family and friends whom I had missed dearly.

I NEED to jot the things I wanted to write about before I forget about them, so here is my first attempt at catching up and expanding on the list I wrote previously.

1. Daily Routines: The routines were truly what provided structure in the classroom. I genuinely liked the way my CT set up the daily routines, and it helped me, as a teacher, to start the day. In fact, it may be one of the favourite parts of the day for me because it allowed me to touch base with the students, and share with them what was happening that day.
What is more, I saw that the children really appreciated it too. Since it is a DAILY routine, once they knew what was part of it, every student felt safe to participate. 

So now onto what the daily routine actually included (and this was how it was done in order from earliest to latest)-
- DEAR: "Drop Everything And Read"- students came into the classroom in the morning, put their things in their desks, picked a book from the front of the class, and literally, dropped everything and read. This was the time for silent reading, and as teachers, we had to emphasize to children to "read with our eyes, not with our lips". I took attendance while students read.

- Calendar: Up on the board, we had a calendar of the month. We always went over which month we were in (I added which month comes before and after too, after the first month of school), how many days are in that month, and counting the days together. We also went over which day of the week (which day comes before/after that day). 

- Weather: Talking about weather came right after discussing which day of the week we were in. Students were to look outside, and offer opinions about what the weather was like that day- one student was chosen to put the applicable label on to the appropriate day of the week. We also started discussing temperatures- they learned about what C stands for (Celsius), and practiced reading out the whole temperature. Students were encouraged to check in the mornings through newspaper/internet/radio, the temperature of the day. I think this could also branch out to graphing temperatures/weathers.

- Morning Message: Everyday, I wrote a morning message that included a greeting, the date/month/year, and what special events awaited the students that day. Since the sentence structure was kept the same (at least for the first month), all the students were able to participate and read out loud. They truly enjoyed it when I started changing some words: e.g. "Have a great day!" to "Have a wonderful day!"- they easily spotted differences! The morning message is a great tool for teaching language components as well, and have infinite possibilities of what can be done: purposely making a mistake and letting students find & correct them...etc etc. It also brought a great teaching moment of how to read times 9:00 (9 o'clock) and symbols 9:00-10:30 (- means to).

-Kind Hand of the Day:This routine was born from a lesson that I taught on power of words. Students were taught the effects of words on people, and as a task, created a hand-shaped paper where they wrote 5 nice things to a classmate. All the 'hands' were collected, and one was drawn each day, from the box. The students who made the hand came up and read it out to the student who he/she made the hand for (this was predetermined so that every student received a hand). A video of this is available on the blog somewhere. It was a great exercise, because students looked forward  to receiving a hand with nice words, and because it gave a chance for everyone to speak in front of the whole class- something that is sometimes daunting, but since this was something they made themselves, they felt pride and comfort in speaking up. 

- Write in Agenda: Next came the agendas- students opened up their agendas to today's date, the teacher's assistant walked around and put a sticker on the date (so that all children knew where to write their homework), and after going over reading the homework, they wrote it in their agendas. In the beginning, extra care went in for teachers to check whether this was done properly. Also, emphasis was put on starting the sentences with a capital, and ending them with a period.

- Snack: Since the school I taught at was a region 1 school (poorest in the Montreal area), they received a Snack Program where snack was provided for the children together with the milk program. We often asked students what the snack was, which food group it belonged to (I also taught a lesson on it) and other interesting or nutritious facts it had. Then, the snacks were distributed, and they ate it while finishing their agenda writing. 

That was basically the daily routine, and now that I have written them out, I realize that it is a lot! It did actually take up to 40 minutes to complete: we started with attendance and DEAR at 8, and finish snack around 8:30-40, and could proceed with the lesson. 

Next to catch up: WEEKLY ROUTINES! pictures will be added later on this post too!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Another list of things to write about...

- Lockdown drill November 10th, 2010
- Report cards and evaluations

and some photos of lately since I haven't been the best at writing online. I hope to change this when I have more time on my hands during the break. 

and trying out whether posting videos work: this is one of my students reading out her kind words to her friend- based on a "Kind Words" lesson taught previously. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Things I need to write about... when I get the time!

This is just going to be a list to myself of what I need to write down from during this experience.

- Daily Routines: DEAR, Calendar, Weather, Morning Message, Kind Hand of the Day, write in Agenda, snack
- Weekly Routines: Classroom Jobs, Home reading, Spelling, Journal, Spelling Test
- Classroom decorations: seasonal, bulletin board, seasonal words
- Lessons
- Dealing with students' disputes
- Consequences

Will write more... again, when I have more spare time!

Friday, October 1, 2010

AHHH it's been a month already?!

It has been so super hectic the past MONTH, I do not know where the time flew!
There has been a LOT going on, I don't know where to begin but will try my best :)
All I can say is that everyday is packed with things to do, faces to see, things to say, but I have been enjoying every minute of it. I feel like I am learning so much by actually experiencing all kinds of situations. Everything I do and learn is applicable so it makes sense and I see an immediate result to what I am doing.
Here are some highlights!

1. Morning- Grade 1/2 split class English
- There are two grade 1 students and sixteen grade 2 students
- We have the students from 7:50am-10:45am, then they go to French
- Me and my co-operating teacher are responsible for Language Arts and ERC: Ethics and Religious Culture
- Student population: the area is one of the poorest in Montreal, and the majority of the students are immigrants from southeast asia/middle east.
It is an amazing bunch, and I feel very lucky to spend time with all those wonderful children. I don't want to think about leaving them in December :(

2. Afternoons
Since our class moves to the French teacher, we have the afternoons for resource teaching and teaching ERC for the other grade 1 and 2 classes

For people who do not know what resource is, we go around and offer extra small group help for the students who need more attention and help. Many of the children in the school have different learning and other needs, and sometimes, being in a different class and having one on one or a small group situation can have a very helpful impact.
I have three students from grade 2 coming in- In the beginning of the year these children did not know the names, sounds and words of the letters of the alphabet. We have been working on writing and sounding out each letter, and we see a huge improvement already.
In grade 1 we have had different students coming in: mostly for catch up work and during those times, students seem more focused just because we can give more concentrated attention.
We also do resource for grade 3- it has mostly been helping out children who has trouble in spelling or need to do catch up work.
Twice a week, we also cover some of the Kindergarten class time. We have been doing Fall activities and will be moving on to Fall Celebrations, such as Thanksgiving...etc.

It has been really great to see all these different ages, because the way of instruction/talking to the children, the content and so on differ slightly. I also feel that I have gotten a good balance of doing both full class instruction and small group instruction.

ERC- Ethics and Religious Culture is a new component in the Quebec Education Program. It intends to present an overall open mind about Ethics and religion. From the very beginning, my teacher has asked me to cover it, and although it has been a challenge, it has certainly been a good experience.
In the beginning I was very much caught up in the title of the subject, and found myself struggling to find out HOW to teach these matter to 6/7/8 year olds. I still need to improve on making things more hands on, interesting and enjoyable while learning about having an open mind.

Some of the routines:

 Some of my lessons:

Will write about them next :)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

First couple of days!

First couple of days: preparing preparing preparing!!

1. staff meeting
First day first thing in the morning was brunch and a staff meeting. We met the staff at the school and they were all very warm and kind, made us all student teachers feel more at ease. The meeting consisted of the Principal going over the rules and regulations, registering for committees etc etc. It went on for 3 hours!

2. classroom
Then came the main task: cleaning and preparing the classroom!
As my teacher got a very late notice about staying at the school, we were given a classroom that was not fully cleaned. I had to throw away hundreds (and this I mean literally) of ancient old books, posters, teaching material. It was tempting to save some, but my teacher went right ahead to get rid of them. I realized that's cleaver: things are going to pile up during the year anyway, and you might as well start off with the things you know are yours and know where they are located.

After a long process of cleaning, I was given the assignment of putting up bulletin boards. with borders of course!

I did the same thing for the outside bulletin board: it took so long but I finally finished!

It's time to Learn in Mrs. Kornitzer and Miss Monica's Class!! :)

The children start Tuesday, will write more then!