All is I can say is that I tried! I set out to blog daily about my teaching experiences. This would be my time to reflect on my teaching, a practice rarely afforded to any teacher when speed is God and time is the Devil. It was the first or second day of school. I sat down at home to put finger pad to keyboard, but this blog site, wordpress.com was acting up so I could not blog from the beginning. So today, I figure is as good a time as any, to get back on the horse and try to do this thing. So here goes…
This is day 15 in my teaching odyssey! I have 23 souls in my class and 3 that “push in” for two hours a day. Because these 3 push in kiddos have learning disabilities, I have a co-teacher who comes to my class to provide support, not just for these kids but an additional 4 kids in my class who also need accommodations. I have 19 regular education students. I really do love my class. I have many high achieving readers, who read well above grade level. As is the case with most 4th graders, I am training them on how to be responsible for their own education by following the rules and procedures of the class as well as being conscientious about homework, classwork, studying, etc. When they walk into my classroom every morning, they have what I call the anchor, a list of things they must do to get ready for the day,i.e. unpack all materials, copy down homework in agenda, file agenda and reading log in their number folder, complete math and literacy morning work, and read silently. Shut the front door because following these directions are extremely difficult for them. OMG! Gag me with a spoon! Who let the dogs out! (sorry) This is almost the hardest thing about 4th grade if you compare how long it takes them to get this with how long it takes them to acquire, say the ability to summarize a story. I tell them, “My class room is a stormy sea. If you don’t use this anchor, you will drift to and fro all day, left out to sea fighting for your life.” They are slowly but surely getting it. This is only one of the tens of procedures they have to learn.
Now on to content. Teachers are required to work miracles, but we do it! Now back to time and that danged devil. At my school, there are no excuses for anything. No matter what the situation is at home, we still must ensure that each student meets or exceeds standards in all subject areas. Because I only have a small window to teaching anything, I am always teaching all the time. My students or any students for that matter experience glazed over eye syndrome when they are lectured to or given any knowledge explicitly. As a result, I use music, movement, drawing…all the multiple intelligences to teach my kids. I am an advocate of the oral, formative assessments. We do something called “X says.” Insert, my last name for the X and it’s like “Simon says. This is basically an activating strategy I use to get them ready for learning. I start with movements and then I add content. So firs it is, X says, raise your right hand or do a full turn, or cover your eyes. If students do the wrong thing or do it without hearing X says, they have to sit down. I add content, like “Jenkins says what is a landform or what does the prefix, com, col, or con mean. I end with fact fluency questions, like 5 x4 or 20-16, etc. They love it! It also is a great formative assessment.
Okay, I have to sign off now because I have to prepare for tomorrow’s Curriculum Night! More reflections tomorrow. I didn’t getting around to actually reflecting yet, but I will get there!