Saturday, November 28, 2015

Collaborative Teaching

This semester I have been mentoring three clinical interns, or student teachers, as they still may be commonly known. Yes for those that are wondering, I have three interns, all day, every day, from September until December. This unique collaborative approach to student teaching, although time consuming, comes with wonderful benefits for the interns and the elementary students in my classroom. My students have had four teachers throughout the school day. That means small grouping and more direct instruction. 

In the best interest of student learning, this co-teach model is a valuable piece. A colleague of mine that had three interns last year gave the suggestion of having each plan and instruct solo, allowing the rest of us to simply facilitate. Once each intern had planned and instructed in a subject, they began collaboratively planning and instructing. I felt that this process gave them a better understanding of co-teaching and they could see the benefits in this model. 

With all these positive characteristics, there have been multiple discussions regarding working together effectively. In a collaborative model multiple personalities come into play. It is easy to take things personally and to behave defensively when conflicts arise. These are issues that I struggle to overcome.

Investigating the concept of PLCs, I came across an article, which describes a structure that should be in place in learning communities. Of the structure, the authors mention standards that team members must remember. These include speaking from the heart and assume good in each other, but also recognizing that the process can get messy (Adams, A. & Vescio, V., 2015). I've used some of these standards when coaching the interns. I would love to see this collaborative model to expand to other schools but will not work without the understanding that these learning communities will have issues. Ultimately the desire for student growth is what we are most after. 

Adams, A. & Vescio, V., 2015. Tailored to Fit: Structure Professional Learning Communities to Meet Individual Needs. Journal of Staff Development. 36(2) 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

My newest unit... Halloween Mash Lots of fun activities

Halloween Mash Unit

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tell Me Something Good

I am linking up to Rowdy in First Grade's Tell Me Something Good because let's be honest, we all need to hear something good.

Something at work: Yesterday I was in a low mood and had that feeling we all get. You know it.. Why aren't they listening? Is it me? Today however... was a HUGE improvement! They chatted less and got more done faster. Double bonus: The activities I created in my super hero unit have been helping me tip-toe into the school year while having fun.

Something at home: I am hanging out with my whole family this weekend. Saturday we are going to a theme park and Sunday we are taking my gram to a Yankees game, her favorite baseball team.

Monday, September 10, 2012

So I am only two days in but I feel slightly accomplished.

I L-O-V-E my theme of superheroes and am so happy I decided early last year to go with it. The kids seem to enjoy it, too.

I have completed a lot of the activities from my Superhero Unit and the kids have been doing such a great job with the activities I created. BONUS- I have managed to get through most of the things I planned. That is a first for me! Could it be that I am getting a hand on this teaching thing after 7 years? Nah. Couldn't be!

Roll a Superhero activity

Hope all your school years are going smoothly, as well!

Monday, July 9, 2012

MIA and Superhero Unit

I have been MIA for the whole year and I apologize!

I had the most awesome class ever and was enjoying every minute of it. They were fun, empathic, and hard-working. We were able to get to so much and more because of their amazing behaviors. I was so proud of everything we learned together.

That being said, I will make more of an effort to post next year. I pinky swear promise!

This upcoming school year I am planning on doing a Superhero theme. I looked on TPT for some ideas and when I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for, I decided I'd make my own. After some planning I was set to work. It is my first attempt so be nice but I am uber-proud of myself. It is available on teachers pay teachers under my name.
Superhero Unit

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I think I am in love

First sorry for no pictures. My camera is dead so no pictures yet but I have some and they will come.

Seriously though I think I love my class this year. The last two years I have been shall we say challenged by the majority of my students. This year I am the only ELL teacher in my school, so more than half of my students are considered ELL. That means that genuinely they are quiet and polite. I am so lucky! I only began school this past Thursday so I have only been with my loves for two days. That means they could still be in the honeymoon period. Also I had 29 students last year and this year I only have 20!!! I have never had this small of a class. So excited!!

In the short week we have had I feel like I got some important stuff done. Thursday we had an assembly at 10 which really made the morning difficult to get anything done since the students stopped arriving by 9. (The assembly was for service dogs since we have a 4th grader with diabetes who has a service dog this year. Quite important assembly to teach the students not to interfere with the service dog.) I am eternally grateful to the blog world for all their A-M-A-Z-I-N-G ideas. I am doing a space theme this year so I purchased Abby's Astronaut Packet. My students made the most adorable astronauts and then wrote 3 sentences why they were stars. I was super impressed with their writing, too. Most remembered capitals and periods and some began their sentences with "I am a star because..." instead of "Because I am nice." We also made her Spaceship glyphs during math. Really showed me who can trace, cut, glue. This glyph even reviews tally marks and graphing.

Additionally we read "The Monster Who Came To School" to discuss rules. Afterwards we came up with our rules and they did a wonderful job trying to make the rules positive instead of saying "No hitting" they said "Keep hands to yourself." Next we made clouds with our hopes and dreams for the year. I got this wonderful idea forever go and I can't remember who I got it from. I apologize because it is my favorite. I would say the students favorite is singing "Tootie Ta". If you don't know it, look it up on youtube. It is hysterical! We do a song/dance break at least once a day and they crack up whenever we break. We always discuss beforehand that after our break they have to get right back to work when we are done.

I am excited for the year and hope that this honeymoon period lasts a lifetime :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

One VERY small step

Today was the first day for teachers. Today was the day to begin the year with a smile. Begin the day with excitement for the new year. I walked into my classroom, hoping that at least my furniture was out, ready to begin the cleaning process. When I saw that the room was the same as I left it, not started, the tears began flowing. It was quite pathetic, but completely unavoidable. As of Tuesday there were about 6 of us whose rooms had not been started. Today there was one; me! I tried my best to smile in fear that tears would appear if I didn't and I helped everyone else whose rooms were JUST finished. The reason I write this is not to complain, because that is not me. I am writing to say how much I L-O-V-E the people I work with. They were there with hugs, smiles, and support. So many people offering their free time and labor day weekends to help me when my room becomes ready. I can't even begin to say how nice it is to feel supported.

And my small step that you are wondering... That came at 3:30 today when the most apologetic custodians (Who are not to blame) began moving things out my room to begin the cleaning process and vowed to stay until it was finished tonight. (There was minor construction done in our school that ended later than planned which pushed the cleaning back WAY late)

PS- For all those Dunkin Donuts fans, I had the world's longest order this morning. I swear! Think food shopping receipt. But hey we needed our coffee :)