My seventh lesson at Ruth Pawson was quite enjoyable and fun – for myself and the students. I was scheduled to teach Arts Ed. during the last hour of the day. This meant I had to prepare for some hyper students – they always seem more talkative near the end of the school day. My co-op teacher asked me to plan a visual arts activity that incorporated a Christmas or winter theme. I decided to plan a “3D Snowflake” activity which would allow me to demonstrate the steps involved through direct instruction.
Photo credit: http://justbyjosephine.blogspot.ca/2012/01/paper-3d-snowflakes.html
Overall, the lesson went well, aside from running out of time. A few of the students struggled to actually make the proper cuts in the paper – this ended up turning into somewhat of a math lesson – parallel lines, measuring, etc. The students really seemed to enjoy the activity. It was quite obvious because so many of the students were looking for positive reassurance from me when they completed a portion of their snowflake. Most of them knew if they had done it correctly but they still wanted to “show off” their work.
The hour-long period flew by and we were unable to completely finish the snowflakes. I left my decorating tools (glitter glue, stickers, markers, sequins, etc.) at the school and they are going to work on them during the week. I hope to take pictures of the completed snowflakes next time I am at the school!
In regards to my teaching, my co-op teacher had great overall feedback for me. I have definitely improved my method of using direct instruction in the classroom – I can now recognize when students need some repeated instructions and further demonstrating. I have learned that it is better to continually repeat instructions, using different ways to explain, before moving on with the lesson. I could have ignored the fact that several of the students did not know the proper way to cut out their snowflakes and moved on with the lesson, but this would have left these students confused and behind, which would have resulted in bigger problems.
One thing I learned: As the teacher, it can be overwhelming to individually help each student when they are struggling. I was receiving quite a few questions from the students and many of them were seeking attention during the work period. Next time, I could ask students who had completed their work properly, and if they are comfortable enough, to help other students who are struggling. This can create a sense of community in the classroom and also relieve some pressure on me as the teacher.