The second week is when I officially picked up the subject areas of Health and Career Education. The first few lessons were quite simple and mostly to get my feet wet as well as ease the students into the unit. The lesson based on defining terms that will be used in our unit did not go over so well – the students could not find the best definitions in dictionaries and I decided I would need to replan for the next lesson period. This was a good early experience as I was immediately able to see what the students are capable of, what their prior knowledge is, and make basic anecdotal diagnostic assessment for the classroom as a whole.
This week I learned more about how the upper elementary students can still effectively use Daily 5 in literacy. The students are building their stamina (how long they can maintain their round without becoming distracted by other happenings in the classroom). This is important because once the teacher becomes more involved with small groups, the other students need to be independent enough to stick to their other rounds (Read to Self, Writing, Read to Someone, etc.). I am so intrigued by how well Daily 5 works in this school and amazed by how all teachers integrate this in their classrooms to keep that consistency throughout the students’ years at the school.
On September 11, we discussed the events of 9/11 with the class – none of the students were alive during the actual event and some did not have much background knowledge. I am continually amazed by how many of these students are interested in current events, social justice, and political issues. I do not remember much of this from my own experience in elementary school (I don’t think I even knew how government worked) but some of these students even know the platforms of political candidates for the upcoming election. This is part of the reason I was so intrigued by teaching middle years students – you can really set up the foundation for lifelong learning and curiosity. These years are really all about identity, figuring out who you are, and a time when you can be easily influenced by others. They can be negatively influenced or positively influenced – as teachers, we can act as guidance counsellors in regards to the negative influences in their lives as well as introduce positive influence.