Monday, December 9, 2013

16th and Final week of my Internship

The start of my final week began with a two hour delay. While growing up I always hoped for delays and cancelations, I found today to be crazy, and chaotic as a teacher. I was constantly having to redirect students, and had a difficult time accomplishing my plans. Some students did not even come for their scheduled pull out due to the change in schedule. I felt completely opposite about the delay than I would have if I were a student. I strongly disliked the change in schedule!

However, I am super excited for the upcoming week. I have been able to sit in on many IEP meetings as an active participator. I even will be given the chance to run my first meeting on Wednesday. Today, I witnessed an IEP meeting where the parent spoke up and voiced his concern for the change. The team responded well and worked together with the parent to satisfy the concerns and needs. I thought it was interesting that the parent didn't want the team to be upset, and voiced his opinion in a concerned way, instead of a stern way. The team worked together to come up with a new plan of keeping the times that were followed before, and to have an additional meeting in the spring to discuss how things are going in the regular education classroom with the students new assistive technology. I was very impressed with the overall outcome of the meeting, and was pleased that there was no hostile environment mood when a concern was voiced. I hope to conduct my meetings in a similar fashion if I ever was put in this same situation.

Friday, December 6, 2013

week 15 of Intern year

This week during an IEP meeting for one of my students, the parent began explaining during the math portion of the goals how much more fluent the student had become in math fact fluency. I was very excited because I had been working on this every day to help build his understanding. I felt so excited that I was making a difference. I explained to the parent that the main thing to help build this fluency is using hands on games, such as "I have..Who has..." The student loves participating in this game and even higher leveled students enjoy the game as well because they get to work together and build teamwork. I also told the parent I feel this was occurring because the students were participating in number talks. I try to have the student build the relationships of addition and subtraction by talking about how to get to the answer in a variety of ways. I knew the student was learning this more fluently through timed addition tests, as well as the student's quote during the meeting. Someone on the team had said, "For example, what is 5 + 4," to which the student jumped up and said,
9!" Everyone was tickled with how well he knew the fact, and the parent said this was a huge improvement from just the beginning of the year. It was an amazing feeling to hear that the student made a huge jump in just a small skill that will build the rest of the skills. I also feel that he has learned most effectively through authentic assessments using the Interactive Notebook. I thoroughly enjoy using this assessment in the class because the students don't view the assessment as a test! This was a very exciting meeting for me!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Week 14

The week before Thanksgiving is quite the opposite as a teacher vs. a student. I, for once, do not enjoy this week because I am rushing to get everything done and can't just push it back to Monday. The students have also been crazy with behaviors. They are excited for a week off, and to top it all off, they know my time with them is limited. They have all of a sudden taken an interest in everything about me. I am just not being bombarded with questions from my older students, and having them attempt to distract me in every which way. As much as I want to spend that personal time with each student, it is difficult because I have helped them learn so much that I want to keep that going. I am definitely starting to become sad that if I want to see their learning, I have to visit, and not just come in for another day at school. I had one student become sad and full of tears when I said I had two weeks after break left. As much as it hurt me to see the tears, I also felt happiness for seeing that I made such an impact on the student that he was sad to see me go.

The good news is (and they have yet to realize this) I will still be around and I will still be able to see them grow! My group of students and faculty members have become my family these past few weeks. They have been there for me through a family death, happy times, sad times, sleepy times, and many more. I never imagined my semester ending with a bond for people I grew so fond of. The students not only learned from me, but I learned from them. I learned to listen to what they have to say, even if it might be irrelevant because that may spark an idea to motivate a student to master a skill. I actually did this listening technique this week. I listened to my student week after week talk about this game, Minecraft. Well, I took this into effect this week by implementing a coloring exercise and math facts on a numbers chart. The numbers chart will eventually form into a character from the game. I also am using his passion for the game to teach him repeated addition/multiplication skills. When I said the word mine craft, I had him jump into a seat so fast, I wasn't sure how to react. It was so exciting to see that taking the time to listen ended up being successful for both of us. The student was engaged and I was teaching the student a skill that he is slowly beginning to master. It was a great week in the classroom, and I'm becoming more sad as I realize my time is slowly coming to an end with these amazing students.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Week 13 of Intern Year

The thirteenth week of my Internship has completed, and I have become more sad with the realization that I won't be with these students after a few more short weeks. This past week I had a few "teacher" moments. My one student became sad with tears when he was told that I was leaving soon. I wasn't sure what to do because at the time I didn't know why he was so upset. I had been able to have the student write to me on the board that he was sad that his sister was sick. I thought quick on my feet and had the student make a "get better soon" card for his sister, and I thought for sure that would do the trick.


Still more tears came as the student finished up. Confused, I began having the student open up to me which then made me realize he was sad I was leaving soon. I had to explain to him that I would be back and I am touched that he enjoyed spending as much time as he had learning how to read. I found myself giving him the opportunity to let him eat in the classroom during our lunches. He loved this opportunity, and I think I will do this again before I leave.

In addition to this touching moment, I have finished my Inquiry! I have found that the iPad engages students more than I ever expected, and even if the apps are used only for reinforcement of skills, the iPad is a way to keep the students engaged throughout a lesson at the stations. I am excited to reflect on this with my paper.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Week 12

Friday afternoon, I had encountered students being dismissed from school, and being welcomed back into the classroom. Those two students were excited to be in the room to learn again, but also wanted to share their stories. On the spot, I thought of a brilliant idea. Writing is something the entire class needs work on, and they are constantly interrupting to tell me something about their days after school. I came up with the idea of allowing the students to write their stories to me in journals, and I would write back.

That being said, I can kill two birds with one stone by assessing their writing mechanics and making sure they are reminded how to write correct sentences. I hope to see this method through Tuesday and hope this helps increase my time of teaching. I look forward to reading and writing back to gain even more of a relationship with my students. I'm excited to see how this idea plays out.

Overall, I am sad to see my semester coming to an end. I love doing hands-on activities with my students, and seeing them learn at such great speeds. The students I met in August are taller plants that will just keep on growing!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Intern week 11

As my inquiry comes to an end, I have found that the iPad is much more than I anticipated. Upon analyzing pieces of my data, I found that while the iPad is a great reinforcer for skills, the engagement level is high thus making the learning more effective. Students enjoy working on the iPad and if they don't receive a chance during stations, I am constantly being asked if they can go next. I feel that having a set of iPads in the school would be great, similar to the computers. Teachers can find apps that correspond to the common core (I have found many free and paid apps). My favorite and most successful app so far is called Screenchomp. I use this app in the second grade to practice spelling. The students are able to choose a color of their choice, and use their fingers to write out the words. The students seem to enjoy this the most, since typically the spelling station is rewriting their words. I noticed one day that the students would even write the word a few times after discovering their mistakes.

Last week, I used a comprehension app. I feel that there could be an App out in the iWorld to use for tests on weekly stories yet, but I haven't found it yet. I like this app for my inquiry because there is different levels and genres of books for a second grader. However, I sometimes feel they are more interested in tapping the answers because it is fun instead of finding the correct answer.

The only negative I have found using this technology is that the teacher must constantly be checking for dead batteries, or app updates. I also had one iPad die completely, i.e. won't even turn on, and that made my four iPads for small group decrease to three. Therefore, I have two students sharing, which is not as effective as individually having iPads. I would recommend using the iPad to any teacher, as it is easy to find an app that enhances the skills being taught, and a majority of the apps are common core aligned!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Intern week 10

As the weeks fly by, I have overcome many obstacles. One obstacle I have had a rough time jumping over was how to have my one student learn the information consistently, and show that he understands it. I did some research on pinterest and other resources on the internet, and found a great alternative form of assessment. I found an interactive notebook for mathematics that is common core aligned. I was hesitant at first, since I don't have much materials for the student and develop almost everything on my own. However, I decided I would give it a try. All last week, I used the portfolio as a reinforcer to the skills that were taught. Typically, in a regular setting the student could cut and paste the individual pieces to the paper on their own. Due to limitations, I did that already, but the student was able to color and show the work on his own.

The next problem we will try is moving and glueing different pieces of money down to show his understanding of coin value. This was a great form of assessment because he was able to show that he understood it and didn't get nervous about having a "test." I was so excited to have started such a successful way of assessment. My one concern is that after I finish full time teaching, the student won't continue this form of assessment and not necessarily show how well he is doing at the skills on grade-level. For now, I plan to keep this accumulating and even see if regular education teachers would want to place it in their lessons as a reinforcer. It's a fun, engaging hands-on set of activities, and if the student finishes early, they can color the whole page. Ideally, students won't just be sitting waiting on other students to finish.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Week nine of my intern year

I have become familiar with my relationships with the other personnel in the building. Throughout the day, I am encountered by numerous aids, and regular education teachers. I have found that it is specifically important to collaborate with all of these faculty members for a variety of reasons. I find that collaborating with aids lets the special education teacher know that they know exactly what process to use when helping enhance the learning for students, and what is to be done while in the classroom. The regular education teachers allow me to realize what is happening in the classroom, and exactly what I need to do in order to be on grade level for the students. The regular education teacher can also give me ideas on what books they could suggest, even if the regular education teacher is a different grade level. Discussing with the students' homeroom teacher is important so they know strategies that are implemented in the special education room that can be incorporated in the classroom when being included for inclusion. Collaborating with all faculty members is important for all members of the school, and I noticed when collaborating the aids, and other teachers are appreciative to know what is going on and how students are improving. Supplying teachers and aids with materials helps them stay on the same page as the students, which helps keep everything consistent for students (this is really important for my students from what I have observed).

Monday, October 14, 2013

Week eight of Intern Year

After the first week of my research was conducted, I observed that the iPad in the classroom had a variety of people motivated. Many teachers confronted me to share the results with them, and the students all seemed to want to attend that station. One group was unable to attend the station, and all members of the group confronted me showing their want to learn with the iPad. After conducted interviews at the end of the week, I observed that the students really enjoyed using the iPad, and I also concluded that the iPad would help enhance the learning by teaching strategies to use while reading, and enforce the strategies using the iPad. A majority of the groups needed minimal redirecting during the stations and on-task.

So far, my research has been exactly what I expected, and I can't wait to see where it heads in the future.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Week Seven of my Intern Year

This week, I became aware of the classroom interruptions that occur frequently. Unfortunately, it is out of ones hands. In the resource room I am placed, this does affect my teaching because the students are easily distracted. In addition to people coming in and out of the room, I have to deal with the construction occurring outside of the window. I am constantly prompting the students to focus. While I can't remove the construction, I have removed a group of students to the resource room next door. When the students become off-task, I have learned to either go with what is happening, or just redirect their attention. For example, this week the construction was very hard to displace out of mind for the students. Therefore, my teacher gave me the idea to have the students observe what was occurring outside, and then reflect on it/write about it. The kids loved this activity, and were very motivated to write their best. With a little bit of help, the students were able to construct a few sentences. If the classroom becomes too much of a distraction with the constant flow of people in the room, I will remove the students to the room next door, after the other students are told what they are doing that day. This seems to be the most effective, especially because one students' behavior is so high, the student is unable to leave the room. That being said, any therapy the student receives, comes to the room and distracts the others.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Week Six of my Intern Year

I participated in my first Eligibility meeting this past week. I was able to meet with one of my students parents' and discuss what we have been doing in the classroom. This entire meeting was exactly what I expected, and the parents seemed to be very supportive of their child, as well as what we are doing in school. I was able to tell the parents my transition plan I have begun with the student, and what I plan to implement in the upcoming weeks. I felt super excited to hear that the parents wanted any thing to be sent home to implement at home as well. I felt after the meeting that I am doing a good thing for the student, and helping the student strive for more. I also became aware that the student loves coming to school, even if misbehavior is high that day. The mother explained how he runs to the car every morning. After reflecting with my mentor teacher, I felt this was very exciting news because that is the first step in transitioning the child to the regular ed classroom. I have high hopes that this student will eventually transition to the classroom with an Aid, mainly because the parents are helping support what we implement at school in their home. The next step is writing the IEP and goals for the student. I look forward to this next step!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Week Five of my Intern Year

This week, I made a few discoveries towards my research. I downloaded a few apps on my iPad to use in a different class from where I plan to implement my research. I had a Kindergarten student use the iPad to work on phonics. Within two days, my one student completed the entire unit, and once reviewing the endings (i.e. "-ap," "-an," etc.), I observed that what he learned was retained. I had him review the endings by utilizing magnet letters to build the same words. Every word I instructed him to build, he did correctly and pronounced the word correctly. The app is built to build/spell words, and gives the audio pronunciation for the child to hear. This seemed to work well, and the student enjoyed working on this application. I plan to use similar, but a different application and can't wait to see how this plays out in the classroom with different ability levels.

I also made progress with the transition plan I began implementing. Halfway through the week, I decided the student was ready to take the next step. From the beginning, the student was to go to the regular education room, move his name to hot lunch, or cold lunch, say hello, and leave. The next step we took was to sit in the seat he was assigned to, and complete an activity. He did very well with this step and left with no problem at all. My mentor teacher and I were very excited! Finally, I implemented a spelling lesson plan with my second grade students to practice using a variety of letters. For example, magnet letters, wipe off boards, bean bag letters, or paper cut letters. I had one student come up to me and ask me if we were going to do that activity again, and explained it was a lot of fun. I noticed that using hands-on activities with students with disabilities is a great way to help them learn/retain the information. I plan to create more creative lessons where they individually build, and repeat the spellings for them. I also created a lesson for the same students for mathematics. Instead of eating their snack, I used their snack to practice addition and subtraction. Once the student subtracted the correct number of snacks, they were allowed to eat them. This gave the students motivation to correctly spell in order to eat the snack. I'm having so much fun making creative hands-on activities, and while I can manipulate to make the lessons better, my first try typically works.

My last thing I want to reflect on is my first differentiated station lessons in the regular education class. Each station was designed around second grade CSOs and the Johnny Appleseed Unit. My students loved the stations and I even reflected after the first day, and adjusted two stations to meet their needs. Instead of plain worksheets for those two stations (we did the first day), I took those stations and created games with foam cut outs. I also incorporated a science station and they made apple cycle trees. The stations were fun, and the behavior was okay, but could be better. I wonder if going over correct behaviors as a class would help. I know second grade is just beginning to go over these correct behaviors, so it may take a while to adjust to.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

week four

During week five of my internship, I overcame many obstacles. I have learned this week to always believe in the students and to push them to their greatest capability. For example, my one student is at a higher level than the other two at his grade level. However, he is still not on grade level. The more I push him, the more confidence he has. Sometimes, sitting with him and giving a pep talk works really well to keep him motivated. I discovered on Friday that he passed his general education reading test by only missing one point. I was so excited and felt very accomplished. Another example this week was finding a transition plan for my one student with Autism. Once I figured out that counting to ten in beats worked, transitions became a little more easy. I also spent a large amount of time working with him on sounds for the alphabet. The next day, he surprised me greatly by reading and sounding out words with a first grade level book. I decided to try a few apps on my iPad with him since it appeared he enjoyed working with technology. These lessons worked so well and he was able to practice reading and making words accurately with the -an ending. Another surprise I came across was he correctly completed math problems at the second grade level on the iPad app, Math Splash. Finally, the last surprise I had was during a melt down he had while trying to transition. He was laying on the floor and saw sign language for the alphabet. He then began teaching himself, and I jumped in and helped him. He remembered most of the letters the next day. Pushing this student to transition back into the general education setting has been a challenge but is a great experience, and seems to be working.

Overall, this week showed me believing in your students, and finding creative ways to practice content has been very successful. I've been able to connect with my students better, and gives me more ideas every day for my action research. I am excited to see how my research goes utilizing the iPad in the classroom. The students seem to love when I bring the technology out and they become engaged almost immediately. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

week 3 of my intern year

After reviewing my portfolio with my mentor teacher, we discussed what I felt was great aspects I included. I felt that a great strength was the variety of examples I included, and it showed the effort I put into each project. My teacher said that she loved that I could use these projects and implement them into my instruction. She also said she really enjoyed my CHPR unit because I could effectively implement this into a resource room for students that don't have those general skills. She especially liked that the worksheets for the unit plan were already included.

I think for my year five portfolio, I will use pieces of my education experience that reflect my educational philosophy, just like my fourth year portfolio. My research I plan to conduct will also be a great piece for my portfolio because I am centering it around my philosophy by implementing technology. I also plan to use videos that show my creative lessons and variety of techniques that attempt to reach all learning types. Making sure my lessons are diverse is important to me, even if that means that some lessons may fail by bringing in new ideas to the classroom.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Week Two of Intern Year

My second week of my internship went really well! We began pulling students out of the classroom after finalizing the schedule for special education services. During the inclusion settings, I began to get to know the students better, and adjusted to the different classroom routines. In the mornings, I am in a second grade classroom for Mathematics and Reading. I am also in a fourth grade class for Reading. In the afternoons, I am in the resource room with four students for reading. I was able to conduct a baseline test for the students site words. At the beginning of the week, one student struggled with pre-primer words, and I implemented a reward system to motivate the student. By Friday, the student missed less than five words and improved drastically. I'm so excited to work with this student this semester to help him get to grade level.

I am beginning to get ideas on what to do for my research, which will be conducted in an inclusion setting at the second grade level. I was able to go over time, the calendar, and money. I was able to connect these items to real-life and help students at different stations. Overall, I am looking forward to working with these teachers and students all semester.

I also found out this week that one of the special education teacher positions was filled, and I am excited to see/meet this teacher because she is from California. This semester has been so far so good.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Week One of Intern Year

During my first week of interning at Bruceton School, I observed how teachers prepared for the school year. I had many obstacles leading up to this week, including receiving a new host mentor teacher. I adjusted well and quickly as I sat through professional developments and staff meetings. I was surprised to see how informational the meetings were, discussing all the policies and changes that would be occurring. Unfortunately, many teachers at my PDS are severely disappointed with some of the changes and I was able to see how the teachers collaborated with the principal to make best of the new school day changes. It was interesting to see ideas bounced around to find a solution that was best for the students.

One thing that I learned that will benefit me during my education career was how to create a schedule for the special education resource room. I was able to help create the schedule and found it was much more challenging than I anticipated, but eventually I accomplished the mission and figured out the schedule. During the first two days of school with students, I witnessed how the teachers went over classroom rules and routines. I thought this was a great experience so I knew how to do this when I had my own classroom. Having the students get use to the schedule and routine is definitely crucial so they know what to expect throughout the year. I loved getting to know the students during these days, especially the students in the classrooms I will be conducting inclusion in. Overall, this first week was a great experience and I'm glad I was able to see how typical preparation days were conducted with the staff, as well as setting up the classroom and routines with the students.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The inquiry celebration on April 19th was very informative and helpful in guiding me on what to do during my own internship. I learned a lot about the different reading techniques you could implement into the classroom also. The first thing I learned about was literacy workstations, which I also learned in education 461. I found this presentation very useful because I was able to see the different techniques used in the workstations and how it kept the students engaged. I think that I would use this during my internship year because it gives the teacher a chance to individualize instruction, while giving students the responsibility of finishing the work given for that day. I also found that the inquiry taught me about literature circles, which seemed to be effective in understanding text. I am not sure I would use this in my internship year, but seemed like a good idea to implement if I could get a better understanding of how this worked. Each presentation I saw was helpful in seeing what the interns did during their action research and how they gathered data on a set amount of students and their learning. The presentations also helped guide my thinking for my action research to gain a general sense in how to map out my research to gather the appropriate data, thus creating a visualization of a timeline.

During my second session, I learned all about positive discipline that is implemented at East Park Elementary. I found it very useful hearing about how to discipline a student positively and that it shows effective results in the number of referrals students receive. Being a special education specialization, I have to understand that discipline is going to be a major part of my classroom, and implementing discipline in a positive way will help keep the students in the classroom and engaged. I find it hard sometimes to keep my tone in a positive voice when students misbehave, and seeing the different strategies that are used was helpful. For example, the wheel of choice seemed like a great technique to implement into the classroom because it gives the student a choice on how to react to a situation or how to behave appropriately. I also learned that using simple things such as keeping down time to a minimum and keeping a consistent routine helps minimize misbehavior. As we have learned this in multiple classes, the presentation showed me and enhanced what I was learning that these simple elements are crucial pieces and helps the overall classroom environment.

Overall, I felt that the Inquiry celebration was very useful and I learned a lot about different techniques to use in the classroom to keep the student engagement high. I felt that the celebration also helped me better understand what I will be doing next year as an intern, and gave me a general idea on what I may want to do within my classroom. I enjoyed the presentations, and while the PDS presentation on positive discipline was helpful, I wish I had signed up and participated in other intern presentations to see what type of research they conducted and other techniques I could use next year.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Characteristics of a Novice Teacher #1 and #2

The first characteristic of being a novice teacher I chose was characteristic number one, which states a novice teacher should have a commitment to and skills for life long learning. I believe this characteristic means that a teacher should always be willing to grow and learn throughout their career, and to never stop at a dead end. Teachers should never look at a lesson and think that the lesson was fine and can not be improved. That being said, an artifact that could be closely connected to this characteristic would be the website Pinterest. The education category on Pinterest displays unlimited resources that could be used in the classroom to enhance the learning for a student in fun, unique ways that teachers have already previously tried. If a lesson hadn't worked in the past, or the students seemed disinterested, a teacher can turn to this page and see what other ideas teachers across the nation, or world used. This helps a teacher grow because even if they only use an idea from the website, the teacher is still learning and growing to become a better teacher for the students, as well as the teacher themselves. Pinterest also connects to this characteristic by giving and receiving ideas for lessons that may have not be thought of before, but was successful in the classroom.

The second characteristic of being a novice teacher I chose was characteristic number two, which states that a novice teacher should  be an effective communicator. The main idea of this characteristic is that the teacher should be communicating with all people involved in the education world, whether it be the other teachers of a team, the administration, the students, the parents, or even the community. Without effective communication, there could be a misunderstanding, which could effect the students at one point in their life. The artifact I chose for this characteristic that connects well is parent/teacher newsletters. I have seen this used in classrooms at my PDS semester after semester, and it's a great way to let the parents know what is going on for that week. For example, when I began in my class this semester, my students were allowed to eat a snack and a few students brought in peanut butter the first day I was there. Being that I'm severely allergic, I informed my teacher and she sent the memo in the following newsletter to not send peanuts/tree nuts on the days I was there. Had the effective communication not been there through the newsletter, I could have been placed in a situation that would have been unavoidable and dangerous. The newsletters also help effectively communicate to parents what lessons are going to be learned, and if it's a complex concept, the teacher could include how to complete the concept (especially in Math) in the correct way to help the students at home. Being an effective communicator to everyone involved in the educational system is important for many reasons, and without the communication, those people involved would never know what was happening in the students' life. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Characteristic of a Novice Teacher #7 and #8

         The first characteristic of the novice teacher I chose was characteristic number seven, which states the novice teacher will effectively integrate content and pedagogy. The main idea from this characteristic is to have different content areas integrated within one lesson plan using a variety of sources. Having main concepts that can be applied over at least one other area will benefit the students when transferring their knowledge to the real world. For example, one artifact that can be connected to this characteristic is the technology special education toolkit that was created fall semester of the participant year. This artifact connects to this characteristic because the toolkit is integrating several content areas, as well as integrating five different pieces of technology. For example, Prezi is an online source that can be used to introduce new materials, and there are many websites that allow students to use clickers to complete surveys/gather data. Gathering data shows students how to graph data in other areas, thus implementing mathematics in another core content area, like English.

        The second characteristic of the novice teacher I chose was characteristic number eight, which states the novice teacher will be a reflective partitioner. The main idea of this characteristic is that a teacher should always reflect on which lessons work well, and which lessons could be improved. In addition to improving lessons, reflective on classroom management strategies, and other theories utilized in the classroom is how a novice teacher exemplifies this characteristic. One artifact that would address this characteristic would be the inquiry of context project that is completed the participant year. This artifact is greatly influenced on what goes on in the classroom, and how one perceives the context in the classroom. The inquiry project completed for Education 410 and 411 connects to this characteristic because the project entails observing the context of the classroom and reflecting on what works and does not work. For example, how the classroom is set up, and the people in the classroom greatly influence how the students learn. Reflecting on the set up, and changing when one thing does not work will exhibit the novice teacher characteristic of being a reflective partitioner.