Megan Feldmann
TEAC 297b
Journal Prompt #3
As I reflect on some of the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the semester, one of the goals I had was to ask more open ended questions. I believe I have done a good job reaching this goal because I have made the effort to ask more challenging questions to the students. I have been more careful in how I ask questions and make sure the questions I ask require the students to explain how they solve the problem. One of the questions I asked my students was how the students could change an array that shows 3x2 to 2x2. I had the students talk in their table groups and then had a few people share their ways with the class. In this way I was giving the students the opportunity to solve the problem on their own and come to their own conclusions instead of giving the answers to them. The students were doing the learning in this activity and I was there to listen to their answers.
Another goal I had was to call on several students to share their work with the class. I had noticed after teaching my first lesson that I had called on the same few people to tell me how they solved the problem but I wanted to give more students a chance. Therefore for the last two lesson plans I made sure I gave the students enough time to solve the problem and I made sure I called on people from both sides of the classroom. I tried to call on students who had a more challenging time with math first, and then I called on students where math came a little easier. I chose the students in this order because it would give the students who understood the math concepts a chance to teach the people where it did not come as naturally to them. In this way I was able to engage most of my students for the class period.
Throughout this semester I have learned many teaching strategies that I hope to use in my own classroom someday. One strategy I will use in my classroom is going over the school rules and expectations with my students. I believe this is important because the students will be reminded of how they should act in the classroom and treat one another. When the students are told the expectations in the classroom, then the teacher can hold them accountable for them throughout the day. Another strategy I plan on using in my classroom is stating the objective of the subject on the board. This is helpful for both the students and the teacher because the teacher can refer back to the objective while teaching the lesson and the students also know the purpose of the assignment. The students will be more willing to participate if they know the reason for the lesson and how it applies to their lives. Therefore I will make the effort to connect the lesson to things they can relate to. Another strategy I will use in my classroom is math talk. I will ask questions that require students to explain, reason, share, and clarify their answers. I believe it is important to ask students why they solved a problem the way they did and give them the opportunity to explain their answer. This allows me to see if they are understanding the concept of the lesson as well as it gives the students the chance to agree or disagree with the way the student solved the problem.
After reflecting on the semester evaluation form I have a better understanding of my strengths in the classroom. The strengths that I have demonstrated include teaching to diversity in the classroom, relationships with students, and relationships with other staff. I believe in the classroom I try to let everyone share their ideas and feel valued. I also think it is important to get to know the students and staff that you work with because you will be able to plan lessons that are most meaningful to the students. The goals I have for next semester include to continue to ask open ended questions to my students. I believe by doing this the students will be able to explain why they solved a problem and also understand the concept. I also would like to plan more engaging lessons for my students next semester. I will plan activities where my students can work with partners, in groups, individually, as well as a class to solve problems. In this way the students will be participating and growing in their learning together with their classmates.

Great work! I think that is so awesome that you took the time to listen to your students and see where they were confused. That is so great that you were able to help them understand the problem that was best for them!

My goal from my first journal was to ask more engaging questions. Throughout the semester I have learned what kinds of questions are interesting to students and what kinds of questions will help them gain a deeper understanding of the content. I have also asked my CT questions about how she keeps students engaged throughout the whole lesson. She has been a very helpful resource this semester. I have been able to ask deeper questions about how they are thinking instead of if they memorized a lesson. I have moved away from asking questions for a certain to asking questions to check for understanding.
Another goal I have improved on is handling an entire class at once. In the past I had done mostly one on one work and I wanted to get more experience working on whole classroom instruction. I think I have made progress towards this because I feel much more comfortable when in front of the class. I think this is I part because I have learned better classroom management skills and it no longer feels so overwhelming.
I have learned better classroom management skills this semester. I worked with my CT to figure out strategies for getting my expectations across better to the students. This has been positive because my students learned more when they were focused on the lesson. In the future I plan to use my CT’s positive feedback strategies. The students respond well to her being so happy about their accomplishments and it makes them want to keep working hard. I want to use her strategy when teaching math specifically. She breaks things down into small steps and then comes up with creative ways to help them remember challenging concepts. This was something I struggled with because it was my first experience with kindergarten.
One of my strength is giving behavior expectations for the students during the whole lesson. On my feedback my CT said that she liked that I gave multiple reminders about behavior because it kept the classroom manageable. The other strength I have is giving positive feedback. My CT has pointed out to me that she appreciates that I did this in my lessons because she believes that it is such an important thing. My strengths helped students stay focused on math because they weren’t worried about my teaching and were not talking to the people around them. The feedback helped the students because they wanted to keep working hard for me and they were proud of the work they did. As I prepare for literature block I would like to work on making lesson plans that incorporate technology because young grades get excited about using something that is different. If I am in an upper grade I want to work on analyzing more complicated text by using deeper than surface level questions. these goals will help the students become flexible in their thinking and help them remember concepts more because it is different.

Madelyn Ausenbaugh
Journal #3
I set two goals at the beginning of the semester that I wanted to focus and work on throughout my practicum experience. My first goal was to become more confident and comfortable while teaching. For my second goal, I wanted to focus on learning and observing how teachers deal with behavioral issues. I picked these two main goals because they are things I think I could improve on. During my first practicum, I focused on being stern and discipline. This semester, I still worked to improve my goals from my 1st practicum, along with my other goals. I want to set and work toward goals that will make me the best teacher I can be.
Each day I spent in the classroom I became more comfortable being up in front of the students. I was very nervous to teach my first math lesson. I had never taught a whole lesson by myself before. The whole day I was nervous, hoping that everything would go well. During my lesson my heart was racing, I could hear myself talking fast but couldn’t help it. After teaching for about 20 minutes I found myself more comfortable. By the time my second lesson came around I noticed my confidence had increased. I was more prepared for student responses and teaching strategies. After my third lesson, I realized my confidence level would increase with more and more practice. I am not %100 confident in my ability at this very moment but I am confident that I will keep improving to become a great teacher one day.
My practicum this semester was in a first-grade classroom. In first-grade the students rotate to different classrooms for reading, math, and integrated studies. I got to observe many different types of students. When students are being disruptive in the classroom they are sent to the safe seat. The safe seat does not mean they are in trouble but it is supposed to focus their attention. The teacher records each time students are sent to the safe seat, if a student is sent a certain amount of times they get put on a behavior program. This involves the student taking a checklist to each subject and afterwards the teacher marks if they were safe and paying attention. Certain students had special checklists that were adapted to best fit them. One example where my CT adapted a checklist to best fit a student was making an extra column where the student could first mark how he thought he did, then the teacher would make the final decision. I learned strategies I could use in the classroom with my future students. Not one strategy works for every student, teachers must adapt to best fit the needs of their students.
I have learned a lot from working with my cooperating teacher and her class. My CT never raises her voice at the children. She stays calm and collective even during confrontation. I also noticed how if there is a conflict between students in the room she will take them somewhere else to talk about it, even off to the side, she does not call out students in front of the class. When I am a teacher I do not want to yell at my students, I plan to incorporate this teaching strategy into my future classrooms. I believe this benefits the class because yelling gets you nowhere. I think if a teacher earns his/her students respect there should never be a need to yell. When it comes to younger kids I have learned that explicit instruction is important. This behavior management strategy helps eliminate confusion and wasted time. This includes creating a highly-structured environment that uses clear and direct language. When teaching math, I want to use cooperative learning. This is pairing up groups on purpose according to ability. The goal of this is to maximize learning. When choosing these groups, it’s important to pair up children who are about the same level. Students learn more when they are teaching others what they know because they are caused to explain their thinking. kids who are maybe a little confused also benefit from this because they are hearing ideas from their peers. I have seen these strategies utilized in my CT’s classroom, they benefit student learning.
One strength I noticed from my lessons was math talk. I always tried to have students explain what they were doing and why. I also offered opportunities for them to add onto what their peers were saying. This benefits student because they are forced to explain their reasoning. As teachers, we can assess and evaluate a student’s thinking by their explanation to see if the learning goal is being met. Another strength was class participation. The students were excited to learn, during lessons they wanted to answer questions and come up to the board to demonstrate their answers. When students are excited to learn, it benefits them because they are listening and intrigued to know more.
I came up with two goals when looking through my feedback from this semester. One main thing I noticed was I need to work on smooth transitions. Students need clear instructions on how to transition from one activity to another. This benefits students’ because it eliminates opportunities for them to get distracted and talk. By eliminating these opportunities students are getting more time to learn. My second goal is to have lessons led by students. I have learned that students learn more from leading discussions verse a teacher talking at them. This can be a difficult task, I want to get more experience involving ways I can accomplish this!

One goal I had made for myself was to incorporate more math talk into my lessons. We have learned over the course of the semester how important it is to get the students to talk about their answers and be able to explain their reasoning. I also wanted to make sure that I had students come up and work out example problems on the board more often rather than just having myself work them out all of the time. I think as the semester progressed I became better at asking my students questions after they answer a problem. I asked questions such as “How did you know that was the answer?” or “How did you find that answer?” By asking these questions it got students to begin thinking about the steps they are taking to solve problems. When I first started incorporating math talk in to my lessons the students gave me really vague and short responses to the questions that I asked but in the past couple weeks the students are really starting to give better explanations for their problems.

Another goal I had was to feel comfortable planning my own lessons and presenting them without being nervous. I remember in my first practicum last year I had to teach my lesson to the class and I was very nervous. I talked way too quickly and could not think on the spot to answer some of the student’s questions. I knew that I wanted this to be a goal so that I could become more comfortable and fluent in my teachings. I really think that I achieved this goal this year. My CT allowed us to teach every day that we were in the classroom which gave us a lot of practice with getting up on front of the class. I eventually felt very comfortable teaching to the class and felt that I did a good job each time. I learned to relax when I was in the front of the room and just go with the flow. Sometimes students ask questions you’re not prepared for and you just have to go with it. I really feel that I grew as much as a future educator in my practicum classes.

My CT was really great this year and taught me a lot about how to be a successful teacher and run a successful classroom. He taught several good tips on classroom management and also allowed us to sit in on a parent teacher conference. He had several different instructional strategies that were effective in his teachings as well. He had a giant blue rug at the front of the room that he called the “carpet.” The kids automatically know that as soon as they enter the classroom they go to the carpet until he has given other directions. He also has the kids go to the carpet when he is teaching something new. I like this strategy because it allows kids to move around and be closer to him when he teaches. It also gets them into a routine so that they know when they are at the carpet it is time to listen. Another instructional strategy that I plan to use in the future is to have a different helper each week. In this class the helper gets to do their work on the ELMO and gets to be the leader for certain activities that they do each week. They are responsible to lead during calendar time as well. The students love this because they like to be helpful and be in charge. I think this is a good way to teach responsibility and allow the students to be in control of their learning. I also think that he does a great job of keeping the class calm and focused. I was a little worried about being in a kindergarten classroom this year but these kids were amazing. They are very good about being quiet and working when they are asked too. I think that part of the reason that they are so well behaved is that my CT has made his expectations very clear. He knows when the students need a break and when they need to be calmed down. I hope to one day have that kind of control in my classroom so that it can be calm and the students can focus on their work.

I think that over the semester I have really shown strength in my classroom management skills and my instructional skills. As a practicum student it is uncomfortable to teach students with their teacher in the classroom. At first I felt weird asking students to be quiet or to listen when my CT was right there but I eventually felt comfortable managing the classroom and I began finding my own ways to manage the classroom. I used several classroom management techniques that my CT uses but also incorporated other techniques that I have learned from other teachers. I feel that it is a strength of mine and that I can always get the students to be on task and not feel flustered. I feel more confident in managing my classroom in the future. I also think that another strength of my instructional skills. I think that I do a good job of explain instructions to my students whether that is directions on a paper or just instructing them through an activity. I think that I do a good job of clearly stating what it is that I expect the students to do. I think this is an important skill to have because students need that clear instruction so they don’t get confused.

As I go into the Lit block I want to set some goals for myself for the semester. One goal would be to incorporate more fun activities into my lessons. This semester my CT had clear expectations on how he wanted the lessons taught so it would be interesting to be able to me more flexible with the lesson plans. I think this will benefit the students because it might make them more interested in what they are learning. If every day the teacher just teaches straight out of the book it can be a little boring and repetitive. I would really like to be able to change things up and make them exciting. Another goal I have for Lit block is to be better prepared as a teacher. This semester my CT let us teach every subject on Thursdays so we had the opportunity to teach reading/language, math, and writing. We would just walk in the classroom and read the lesson real quickly and begin teaching. Although it was good to learn how to teach on the spot I would like to be better prepared in the future. I know that sometimes this is unavoidable but it is a goal of mine to be more prepared when I teach my lessons. As a practicum student this goal might be a little more difficult because I am not in the classroom everyday so I miss out on some of the things they are learning so when I come in to teach I have to jump around a lot. It is just beneficial to the students when you are prepared and don’t have to pause to look at the lesson every so often.

This practicum has been a great learning experience for me as a future teacher. After observing how my CT goes about her teaching styles, I have learned a variety of strategies that I plan to implement into my classroom.
Two goals that I set for myself at the beginning of the semester include improving my classroom management skills in order to gain the respect from students and also to learn many new teaching strategies and skills from my CT in order to improve my teaching.
I believe I have improved as a teacher when it comes to classroom management. At the start, it was challenging to get students attention if they weren’t listening, but now I feel very comfortable when doing so because of the many opportunities I had during this practicum.
I wanted to learn a variety of new strategies and teaching techniques from my CT when it comes to classroom management and also teaching in general. She has been a great CT and I have learned so much from watching her teach and also talking to her one on one. I took notes on how my CT would do certain things in the classroom, discipline, manage her classroom, brain breaks, etc. I want to incorporate many of her teaching ideas into my future classroom in order to make learning fun and enjoyable for my students. I now have many new ideas to take into consideration when planning my classroom.
Three instructional strategies that I plan to continue include the countdown from 5 to redirect students who are off task or too noisy. Once students hear the countdown begin, they know they have five seconds to adjust and be ready to learn. Another instructional strategy that is more related to math includes the use of white boards. I remember having the opportunity to use white boards when I was in Elementary school for math, but most of us chose to use paper and pencil to show work and practice math. Each student in my practicum classroom has their own whiteboard, marker, and eraser that they are given at the start of the year. The class uses their boards everyday for math to do warm-up and closure problems. This is a quick and efficient way to see which students have the right answer and which students need a little extra assistance. A third strategy that I plan to use for classroom management that my CT uses in her class is passing out tickets to students who are on their best behavior, helping others, and staying on task. Once students receive a certain number of tickets, they are rewarded a prize or a free homework pass. This is a great way to increase positive behavior in the classroom. Each of these strategies positively impacts students in different ways. One strategy allows more time for instruction, another allows students to share their answers and work with peers to gain more knowledge, and the last strategy uses motivation in terms of reward.
Looking back at my lesson feedback, I have grown in many areas. The first area of strength I have improved on is classroom management. I feel very confident when redirecting the students to make sure I have everyone’s attention. I use the countdown “Give me 5,4,3…” and this works very well for me. All of the students are very respectful and listen right away to their next set of directions when they hear the countdown. Another area of strength I have improved on is feeling more confident in front of the class. At first, I was very nervous and worried that my lessons wouldn’t go as planned, but now I feel comfortable and relaxed when teaching. My strengths benefit students because my ability to control the classroom decreases the amount of distractions and redirecting during the lesson, which allows the students more time for learning. Also, when a teacher is confident in front of the class the students will listen better and respect you more.
Two goals I have for myself as I start literacy block in the fall include to continue bettering my classroom management abilities and also strengthen my tech skills. If students aren’t focused or listening, it can be very hard for a teacher to get through lessons. I also feel by incorporating more technology into my lessons, students would be more actively engaged and willing to learn. Technology can be an enjoyable way for students to complete an activity or assignment.
I chose each of these goals because classroom management is extremely important when teaching. Being able to control students within your classroom is critical as a teacher. Without control, the classroom environment would not be safe and there would be many distractions going on throughout the day. This is beneficial to students because classroom management allows more time for instruction and less time for misbehaving. I chose the goal of using more technology because it makes learning fun for the students and it also serves as a motivator to complete tasks assigned to the students.

Tye Chapelle
Journal #3

One of my goals at the beginning of this semester was to learn a variety of strategies for mathematics instruction. I feel like I’ve experienced a lot of growth in this area! I knew very little coming in (outside of a few types of manipulatives, worksheets and drill practice). From my both my CT and our TEAC308 class, I have learned several techniques that can be used in the mathematics classroom to support student understanding of math. Modeling, using math talk, predicting strategies and misconceptions students may have/use, and incorporating technology have all been strategies for mathematics instruction that I’ve learned and even gotten to practice this semester.

My other goal for this semester was to learn to write an effective lesson plan. I feel like this goal was harder to accomplish, and I can definitely still grow in this area, but I can also see how I’ve made progress in lesson planning this semester. During my first lesson I felt that I needed to make reference to the plans I had written fairly often while giving instruction. During my second and third lesson I had made some notes, but felt I was able to teach without having to constantly reference the lesson plan I had written. While lesson planning never became a fast or easy process, I felt as I continued practicing lesson planning, the better my lessons became and the better teaching the lesson went. By my last lesson I was able to plan and get through the entirety of the lesson I had written, as well as predict student responses and misconceptions much better.

I have learned a lot from working with my Cooperating Teacher this semester. I think she’s a great example of “going with the flow.” Things rarely go as planned, and she always handles those situations well and is able to be flexible with her plans. This is definitely something I need to practice as a teacher! I feel like I do an okay job at going with the flow when things don’t go as planned, but I can get flustered. The better you as a teacher are able to change plans when things go wrong, the better your students will bee able to handle the situation and keep learning/being productive. Being flexible is a great instruction strategy I’ve seen my CT use, and I plan to use it in the future as well. Another instructional strategy I’ve seen used in my mathematics classroom is math talk. This is a great strategy to use in math! When students are able to discuss and clarify these concepts, the better their understanding of them becomes. We’ve learned a lot of great math talk strategies in TEAC308 that I’ve used during my lessons and plan to continue using in future mathematics lessons that I teach. Not only does math talk help your students’ understanding, but it helps you to see what your students truly know and understand when it comes to mathematics concepts. Another strategy I’ve observed in my classroom is letting students pursue topics that they are interested in. Right now my CT is allowing time for our class to do research on Greek mythology, which they LOVE! Every student is engaged in the activities and stories. Students benefit when they are learning about something that they are actually interested in or invested in. It really increases their motivation to do their work. Last week, we needed to do a TDA (which no one enjoys doing). When my CT told the class that they were going to compare Zeus and Poseidon, a few students actually cheered!

One of my strengths while teaching math lessons this semester was providing opportunity for math talk. Math talk, as I mentioned before, really helps students to understand the mathematics content that is being taught and that they are learning. In all my lessons I have planned for and used various math talk strategies to facilitate conversation among students. I also feel that students are more likely to remember important information when they are the ones discovering it and talking about it, rather than just listening to a teacher lecture the information.
Another strength that I’ve shown in my lessons this semester is being prepared to teach a lesson. I spent quite a bit of time on each lesson plan and made sure I had everything I needed (including materials, homework, etc) ready to go before I taught. I also made sure to prepare right before teaching all of my lessons. I came in early and wrote opening questions on the board for students to start on right away. For every lesson I felt prepared enough to confidently teach the content material. This is important, since you really need to be prepared for a lesson in order for your students to get everything they need to get out of it. Even something as simple as having a question ready to go on the whiteboard can help with time and classroom management.

Two goals I have for myself during Literacy Block are to model/explain activities thoroughly to students before they begin the work themselves and to work on time estimation/management while planning so that it is possible to get through all the necessary material and close a lesson. I feel like these are good things to work on based on feedback from my first and last lesson. During my first lesson, I had a recording sheet for students to use. I didn’t adequately explain or model how to use the sheet, and some students had trouble or confusion with it. In my second lesson, I had asked my students to use a technology that they were not completely familiar with, so explaining it more may have helped students use it more successfully. Explaining/modeling prior to setting students loose on an activity or assignment eliminates confusion. Students can then take the time they need to actually complete the task, rather than simply trying to figure out what they are being asked to do. Time estimation and management will also be an important goal to work on. The only lesson I actually got to close this semester was my last. I found it very hard to plan activities and accurately estimate how long each piece of a lesson would take to complete. Closure is an important piece of the lesson so that students can connect everything we’ve done during that time and understand in more depth.

At the beginning of the semester on the attendance form, I had written one of my goals for this semester to be to develop a relationship with all the children in the class. Obviously when I started my practicum this semester, I did not know any of these students. However, there has definitely been growth in this area throughout the semester. I feel as though I know all of my 23 students very well. I know all their names, I know their personalities, and I know how many of them like to learn. I think that getting to know my students and building those relationships with them has definitely helped them respect me when I teach, or help them see me as someone they should listen to when it comes to classroom management. I have definitely seen growth as myself as a teacher this semester and my ability to truly get to know my students. This is something that will definitely carry over into my own classroom someday. I want to truly know my students, and not just know their names.
I have never been one of those people that gets extremely nervous when it comes time for me to teach a planned lesson. However, at the beginning of this semester, I was not very comfortable standing up and teaching something on a whim without writing a lesson plan and thinking about it before. My second goal on my attendance form was that I would feel comfortable teaching whenever my CT asks me to jump in a teach. I set this goal for myself because I wanted to learn so much throughout this practicum, and I knew that teaching whenever I had the opportunity would give me this great experience. I have really felt growth in this area throughout the semester. At first, my CT would have me just teach a little bit of the lesson, however, as the weeks went on, she started to give me more and more to teach. She scaffolded me through the teaching process. About halfway through the semester, I would find myself in the middle of a lesson that my CT asked me to teach, 5 minutes before it started, and I was not even nervous. This would always put a smile on my face because I knew that I had reached this goal of mine for the semester. I was able to take a lesson my CT handed me right before the lesson started, and teach a great lesson.
My experience with Miss Hames this semester has been way better than I ever could have imagined. She has taught me so much for the short amount of time I have spent with her in her classroom. She never tried to pretend teaching was always amazing just because I was there. She wanted to give me the real experience. She was always so willing to give up her class and give me the experience of teaching and hand over so much of the teaching to me at any time. She always told me that the best way to become a better teacher is to actually teach, not watch her teach. Three instructional strategies that I will definitely continue in my own classroom that Miss Hames uses in her classroom is Call Backs, strategic grouping, and student goal setting. I think she does such an outstanding job of implementing these into her classroom and all three of these have such great benefits to not only the teacher, but the students as well.
Two strengths of mine that were touched on in the feedback of my lessons were that I am extremely comfortable in front of the class teaching and I have very clear and careful instruction. I was so happy to see these on my feedback because these are both things I work very hard at and think about when I am teaching. Being comfortable in the class helps the students becuase if i was always nervous and questioning myself, they woudl haev a hard time trusting what I am teaching. Also, having clear and careful instruction is beneficial to the students because they will have an easier time understanding if the instruction is clear and careful. Two goals I want to set for myself are to keep working on my classroom management skills when I am teaching my lessons and to not have my higher level kids get bored while I am teaching. Sometimes throughout this semester, I felt like I lost the attention of some of the higher level students while teaching because there were some of those lower level students that needed the extra explanation. I know that this is a common goal for many teachers, and this is something I want to work on as I further my experience as a pre-service teacher.

Maria Casey
Charissa Widman
Teac 297b
Journal 3
One of my goals that I mentioned in my first journal was that I would enjoy the lesson that I was teaching. I wanted to do this because I think teaching goes both ways. I think that the students will have interest for a topic if the teacher shows interest. I think that students really see the passion a teacher has for the subject they are teaching which can interest them to the subject as well. I think a teacher that is passionate and knows a lot about a topic is something really special to witness and learn from. I also wanted to make myself more comfortable within the classroom. I think that when I enjoy what I am doing, than it benefits the way the students will learn. I kept this goal in mind throughout this whole semester and hope to continue thinking about it even when I am graduated. I think that I did grow from my very first lesson with this goal in mind. My second lesson was a review which let me have more freedom with the way that I planned the lesson. My CT suggested that I use QR codes as a review. This was new to me, but I could not think of something else that I wanted to do and this ended up working great! I was able to incorporate a different kind of technology that was fun for the students and also covered the content for the lesson. The students were excited about it and I think really enjoyed doing something out of the ordinary from the normal math schedule. For that lesson, I learned that experimenting with new technology can be fun. For my third lesson, I felt like I had more of say than my first lesson about what I was planning for the class. On the first lesson, I was not sure about what I should change from the lesson treatment and what I needed to keep, but by the third lesson, I think that I learned what I should change or do differently. So, for my third lesson, it felt mostly like I created it with the objectives and less like teaching using someone else’s words. I also used Kahoot for my third lesson which turned out great. I did not realize the students would love it so much. It turned out to be a great review and assessment of the lesson that I taught that day.
Another thing that I mentioned in my first journal was how to use classroom management tools. This is something that I think I will continue to fine-tune as I grow as a teacher. From the very first lesson, I do not think I really used any method of classroom management. As my second and third rolled around, I implemented the clapping/ “if you can hear me clap once” method into my lessons to corral the students’ attention back to me. I still need work on this, but after using that method, the students would refocus. I think that as I grow, I will find what methods work best for me and create expectations and rules to go along within my own classroom.
I really enjoyed observing and working with my CT this semester. It is interesting to also be with another practicum student and see the strengths they have that I can personally work on for myself. My CT has taught me that using technology can be very useful in a mathematics classroom. He uses Explain Everything everyday and displays the students’ notes on the screen. I have learned that he prefers this over other methods because it allows him to write neatly, walk around, and allows every student to see the board. Being able to type certain things or highlight with different colors over different shapes is very helpful for the students to see. The slides allow him to do things electronically that he can not do by hand as easily. The one time that I did write on the board for a period of time in my lesson, he commented that I need to walk around more. I have learned that walking around is a good way to keep interest of all the students and also is a way to quickly assess students by noticing the work they have on their papers. It is a way to make sure each student is following along. Another thing that using technology allows my CT to do is to not be in the way of the students. When I was writing on the board, he said that I was covering the notes. This makes total sense. I think at times the board is what I will want to use, but I have to remember that when I am writing, it is hard to let all the students see what I am doing. It kind of creates a barrier from what I am writing and seeing versus what the students are seeing. I will try to incorporate technology in the my classrooms.
Another thing my CT does that I think is really great is that he moves the seats around multiple times. I think this semester the seats have been rearranged three or four times. I think this gives students a chance to work with different people which can let them learn more as well. It is not fun when the seats stay the same the entire year. I think arranging the seats is a way to strategically group students together where it is possible to pair students together who will benefit and learn from each other and help one another grow.
Another thing I will take away from this practicum is the way my CT works towards the goals that are set during PLC meetings. It has been interesting to see the teachers collaborate and all set a goal for themselves and their classes which I think is a great thing to take away from this semester. It is important for teachers to collab and work well together and I have definitely seen that with my CT and the other fifth grade homeroom teachers. We got to experience them chatting together, discussing what their goals were last year and how they have come to decide that focusing on writing this year has been their goal. It is also great to see each teacher volunteer themselves to help make this goal a reality. For example, they each had a certain role they were playing in order to accomplish their goal. I think these are three instructional strategies that I will take away from this practicum.
You have told me that I have scaffolded the lessons well so that the students start with something basic in order to connect what they already know to the new information I will be teaching them. This is something I did not necessarily think was a strength, but have found that it is a fairly natural thing for me to do while creating the lesson. I have found that it is indeed a strength and allows my students to notice relationships between math concepts easier. I also think that a strength of mine is ending the lesson by summarizing the material. I think that this is another thing I have naturally included, even though it is a requirement, in my lessons. I think this allows students to remember the important aspects of the lesson. I think that even simply going over the beginning of the homework together is helpful for the students.
I do not necessarily know much about what to expect within the literacy block. From what I have seen within my practicum, the literature and reading classes are structured differently than the math classes. It will be interesting to see what my strengths are within those classes. From taking Children’s Lit, I know that I want to remember to use books within my classes as a way to teach the students information. I think learning more about lit circles will be beneficial for me as a teacher. I would like to really see how the small groups operate and so a goal of mine is to incorporate books and learn how to best use literature circles.

Two goals that I had set for myself earlier this year were classroom management and discipline. Like I had said before, there wasn’t the best classroom management in the classroom I am in right now. So it made me pretty intimidated to try to set boundaries for my lesson.

As far as discipline goes, I defiantly saw growth in this area. At the beginning of the year, I felt so uncomfortable to discipline the students when they were not listening and following my directions. Many times the students would not give me respect when I gave them a direction. So throughout the year, I tried to set my boundaries at the beginning of my lessons. For instance, I would ask the students what are some examples of what a classroom should look like and what good listeners look like. After they would give me some examples, I would give them reminders throughout the lesson if they were breaking the rules from the examples they gave. Another strategy I had used was mentioning goals I had for the lesson. One major goal I wanted to focus on was blurting during the lesson. So before the lesson would begin, I would inform them of my goal and that there would be consequences if students couldn’t follow directions. I felt as though I was pretty successful with this. I have noticed such a difference with the amount of respect I receive from the students. During group work, for the most part they follow directions and understand that I am a teacher as well.

And for my second goal I wanted to work on was classroom management. This goal kind of goes with the first example, however, I wanted to really work on other classroom management skills as well. One of the biggest things I had trouble with at the beginning of the year was thinking of different phrases I could use to get their attention. I felt so out of place trying to come up with phrases, so I decided to listen to more of my CT’s phrases and which ones had more success. I noticed a major difference when I had used some phrases because it got their attention and silence. I definitely know this is something that will come with experience, but I did see a lot more improvement towards the end of lessons. Another example of classroom management I wanted to work on is waiting for the students to be quiet. A lot of the times I felt awkward and felt like I was waiting too long for them to be quiet. But what I ended up finding out is, the longer I had waited and used different strategies, the more effective it was. Some strategies I had used were waiting for silence, shutting off the light, having them put their heads down and rest their brains, and reminding them that friends are being way too loud and that it is not ok.

After working with my CT, I have learned both positives and negatives. For positives, I loved how much she incorporated literature in a lot of her lessons. Her class loved books, which is a great thing to have students love. I also love her creative projects that go along with holidays and different topics they are learning about. Some of these ideas I definitely would want to use for my future classroom. One thing that I also learned from being in my CT’s classroom is the organization I want to have someday. The practicum classroom that I was in was very cluttered and unorganized, which made me and the students feel overwhelmed. I also want to make sure I have good discipline in order to gain their respect. I have noticed the students struggling with respecting their teacher. It was hard at times to be part of an environment like this, but it was a great learning experience for what I don’t want for the future.

I definitely have three instructional strategies that I plan to continue with teaching math and classroom management. My first strategy would be having clear instruction. This is huge in order to create a fully effective learning community. A lot of times I personally get frustrated when there are not clear instructions on what to do. And with little elementary students, it might get very confusing if the instructions aren’t clear, especially when learning a new topic. I think having clear instruction can have positive effects on students and really help them have a clear and conceptual understanding on not only the math concepts we are learning about, but also just about any activity we do in the classroom as well.

The second strategy I would use would be organization. Organization to me plays a huge role in the amount of success within a classroom. Not only do I want my classroom to be organized and neat, but I also want my lesson plans to be organized as well. I believe organization plays so many roles on this learning environment. I believe that having an organized room will help the students be more efficient and with less distractions. I also believe that having organized lesson plans will give students a very effective and thought out lesson, which will positively effect each and every student.

And finally the last strategy I would use would be discipline. I think this is one of the biggest classroom management skills a teacher could have. I always get advice from experienced teachers saying to be strict right off the bat of the year. To me, it is very important to have a class that respects me just as much as I respect them. I believe this could create a very positive and healthy learning environment for everyone. Having respect within the classroom will be more effective for learning. I feel very strongly about this strategy because I have seen the effects discipline can have on classrooms. I have seen teachers who have great discipline and control with their classrooms. Seeing those types of teachers has definitely had a great impact on how I want to be someday. However, I have also seen classrooms where the teacher doesn’t have strong discipline and the students lack respect.

After reading through my CT feedback, two of the biggest things that I have improved on are confidence and classroom management. Although there are still lots of room for growth in these areas, these two strategies are examples of areas in which I really have improved on over this past semester. For my first lesson, I was so nervous and didn’t have much confidence in myself or in my lesson plan. Even though I tried my best to hide it, it probably still showed to the students. For my last lesson plan, I felt very confident with the work I was teaching and being confident with standing in front of the room. That was one major thing my CT had told me that I had improved on. And because of my confidence growth, the students were able to have a more effective learning experience. I also had a lot of growth with classroom management. For the first lesson, I couldn’t think of phrases to get their attention and I didn’t know ways to keep them quiet and engaged. However, for my last lessons, I practiced phrases that my CT had used and I was very patient with the class on being quiet. I let the students know I would not move on until I had their full attention. I definitely think these strengths benefited the students because they were able to understand the content better, and build respect for me as a teacher as I waited for them to be quiet.

As math block is coming to an end, I have thought of many goals I have for myself for literacy block. One goal I have for literacy block is to make sure I help all of the students be on the same page. Even though there will be students who struggle, I want to take the time to help the students’ strengths and needs. I think this could really benefit students who are struggling and help them be more confidence in their learning abilities. I chose this goal because I had seen many students struggle with math in my practicum classroom and they did not get the extra help they needed. They continued to struggle and doubt themselves. And finally my last goal would be to continue improving on my classroom management skills. I believe that becoming a successful teacher all starts with these practicum experiences. I want to be able to improve my classroom management skills now in hopes that I will be a successful teacher in the future. I believe this could benefit my students so that they can learn life lessons and have an effective learning experience as well. I chose this goal because I believe it’s a goal that all teachers should continue to strive for.
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