So after lunch I was teaching art and I hadn't thought of an attention grabber so it was a little difficult to draw them into the lesson initially. Reflecting on it now, I could have started by showing them some of my own artwork to get them focused and interested more quickly.
It was hard to keep them focused on their work when they wanted to talk and show their friends what they were doing all the time. I started with the "if you're listening touch your nose" which worked well and I'm not sure why but as they started losing focus again, I brought out my friend, the "Quiet Coyote." It worked magically for about 4 seconds in which they were completely silent and still watching me....and then they started giggling, because let's be honest, quiet coyote is pretty silly. I'm glad I pulled that out though because it really helped me determine what method of getting their attention works best for me. After the quiet coyote fail, I went back to "if you can hear me touch your left ear."
Last night I was thinking of another method I wanted to try (besides Quiet Coyote) and I'm really happy to say it works for me! As the noise level is increasing to an almost unbearable volume and I am not the type of person that's capable of yelling, I said very quietly, "If you can hear me clap once." The one or two students closest to me got it and clapped. Then I said "If you can hear me clap twice" and so on. By the time we got to clapping 5 times I had the whole class listening to me again.
Now that I'm slowly getting to know the class through interactions, observations, and conversations with my TA, I need to factor in the amount of time it takes the students to do work. It took a lot longer than I had anticipated!
One question my TA suggested I reflect on was whether I got what I wanted in terms of quality, pace, and behaviour. I think for this first drawing project I wasn't too concerned with quality because I just wanted to see what level they were at and to gather some information about what they would like me to teach them to draw so I can incorporate their interests into my subsequent art lessons. In terms of pacing and behaviour, it was a great learning experience and I found that the behaviour issues directly affected the pacing of my lesson. Classroom management is quite the challenge! (At least I know Mr.Quiet Coyote doesn't work now, unless I want them to laugh....) Another challenge my TA shared with me is how to move to the back when he has strategically placed most of his students with behaviour issues in the front row. He said he purposely put them there so he could be close to them most of the time. It's true, I did end up spending a lot of time at the front trying to keep students on task.
We had our Remembrance Day ceremony today as well. This was interesting because there was no gym where everyone could gather (school is under construction!) so each class was given a DVD which was to be played all at the same time. Of course, it's almost impossible to be that synchronized so we had an interesting echo effect going on....
The video was great though! I struggled a lot because I am quite an emotional person who cries easily. It was great to hear the Gr.4 and 5 choir sing. The class worked on writing their own acrostic poems with the word "REMEMBRANCE DAY" which were shared at the end of the class. I was really impressed with what they came up with! I almost cried while listening to a few of them share their work. My favourite was the first little boy who read out his poem. All the lines were so beautiful and serious about remembering those who have fought for our freedom, and then for the last line he couldn't think of another word that starts with 'Y' so it became, "Yams were what they ate."
That's quite long enough for today! Time to do some more planning for next week! I'll be teaching a math lesson, a mini language arts lesson, perhaps starting a new novel study, and starting a new art project. I'm still thinking about a feasible mini-exhibit I can do at the end of the practicum. I'm close! On the verge of a breakthrough!
Tomorrow I will experience my first PD Day as a (student) teacher!