Friday, August 28, 2009


This is a great website for the curious kids in your life. It can be used when kids ask random "why" questions, such as 'why are banana's curved?'. You simply type the question in the search engine and it tells you: bananas grow in bunches up towards the sun, creating the curvature during their maturation time. They go a little more in depth than that, but still in easy enough terms for the average guy or gal to understand.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Back to School Night/Morning

Last night was back to school night (two sessions), along with this morning (one session). Our room was set up with 5 stations, all with purposeful activities. I liked this set-up because it allowed my mentor teacher and I to roam the room: helping out where needed, answer questions, and converse with both the parents and the students. All but three families came, which I thought to be a fairly good turn out.

When the parents and students came into the room, there was a sign in sheet for both of their names. I found this to be a very good idea, as oftentimes the parents and the child do not have the same last name. next to the sign in sheet was a brochure that went over the stations and what was at each one. Station one was the red folder stations. Inside the red folder was all the informational sheets that the parents needed to take home with them, as well as forms to fill out (emergency numbers, internet policies etc). By doing it this way, the forms get completed at school and there isn't so much stress with trying to get them back to school in a timely manner. Station 2 was our welcome brochure scavenger hunt. We had made a handout with our names, school rules, classroom supplies, about the teacher and assignment notebook procedures. There were 4 or 5 questions the parents and children worked together to fill out. This ensured that the brochure was actually read, and gave an opportunity for questions to be asked about simple procedures, classroom supplies, etc. Station 3 was an example of the assignment notebook and the first assignment. Station 4 was bus sign us. Station 5 was a matching activity that was associated with the school rules-a great introductory for the 4th graders (since the building is 4-6 grades).

Overall, it went well. I got a feel for what students were really excited or fairly shy. I am looking forward to tomorrow and my first day in the classroom with the kids!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Setting Up

This week I attended classes (in which I was a student) and helped my mentor teacher set up the classroom.

It is amazing what six years of teaching will do for you! She had an abundance of information on how to do little everyday things. Her classroom library was amazing. It had lots of different books in several genres. She did mention that she would like to get more non fiction, but that the school library had a vast variety of non fiction, so the students still had access to books of that nature.

I am excited that we are going to incorporate mini lessons and writing workshops for reading and writing into the curriculum. My C and I 208 and 209 teachers would be proud :D

I worked with another intern to put up our first ever bulletin board! We even came up with the design ideas ourselves. We ran into some space difficulties, but three tries later, we finally got something that would fit. I was shocked at how much time it takes to make a bulletin board, but perhaps the time decreases with practice and preset ideas. I will post a picture of our board when I get one.

Coming up next week: district retreat and back to school night!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Wong Wonderings

I was assigned to read a section of Harry Wong's How to be an Effective Teacher: The First Days of School prior to school starting. The section we were to read was on how to set up a classroom, which makes sense, since we (as student teachers) will take part in this activity.

But if you know me, I tend to get a little excited when it comes to books and teaching (and especially books on teaching!), so I read the whole book. An interesting idea was brought up in the section about effective testing. Harry Wong states that the steps to writing a test are as follows (paraphrased):
Look at the concept (key idea of the information being covered), double check your objectives (what did you want the students to learn, what objectives did you set for them? Testing should ultimately be in line with your objectives), questions (should directly reflect the objectives), and remediation (test as a corrective tool-I will further explain this in the next paragraph).

The first few steps are common sense, but I had never experienced in my time as a student a test as a corrective tool-or remediation. Wong goes on to explain that as part of the test, you should indicate where the information can be found (a textbook chapter and section, if you are testing on textbook material) in parenthesis near the question. This way, when the students get their tests back, they can look up the correct answer and correct their tests. This increases learning, because the students go back and look over the parts they did not get correct on the test. While this idea is a good one and seems to go beyond the "testing because we have to" method, I wonder how practical it is in the classroom.

I would love to hear feedback from teachers (or parents who have children in school) to whether or not you employ this method (or have seen this method in action). I guess my questioning lies mostly in the time constrictions placed on teachers: you only have so much time in a day to get everything done. Is this method a practical one, or is it ideal only in theory? Any opinions and experiences are welcome!