At the end of my lesson today, I shared my "super awesome art plan" with the class and they seem pretty pumped up! A few asked if they could make some at home. Of course! Here were a few of my favourite questions and comments from my students during my introduction to the new novel study and mini Japanese lesson:
1. "Wait...are you Chinese? or Japanese? I'm confused...."
2. "I didn't use to like pandas, but now I do!" (I heard him say it once but he apparently said it a few times, according to my TA.)
3. "If I make 2000 cranes does that mean I get 2 wishes?"
4. "Do we each have to make 1000 cranes to get a wish?" (I replied no, we will collectively make 1000 and then we'll all get to make a wish) "I'm going to save my wish."
5. "Kao sensei, you're sometimes crazy." Me: why do you say that?? "Because you draw crazy cool things like dinosaurs with flat bottoms."
Today I asked my TA to focus on giving me feedback about classroom management and timing. Carrying over from yesterday's lesson, I initially had some trouble cutting off questions and blurting out. My TA did a tally of how many blurt outs there were and in the first 5 minutes, he counted 8 instances! The good thing was that there were only 2 more blurt outs for the rest of the lesson. He told me that once I got one particular student under control, the others usually follow suit. After that student realized I wasn't going to acknowledge or comply to his blurting out, he started raising his hand and waiting for me to call on him. The feedback was valuable because my TA pointed out specific students who are normally hard to reach as they lose focus. It was encouraging to hear his observations that I managed to reach all those students with my lesson. There are also 4 students who will always ask to leave during popcorn reading because they don't want to be chosen so I need to think about what my rule will be. It might be that you can't go for a drink during popcorn reading, or it may be that you can go for a drink but I'm going to call on you to read when you return.
I put in estimated times for each part of my lesson, but I tried to go with the flow of the students' interests because it was a new topic they are totally not familiar with (Japanese, Japanese culture.) I felt a bit rushed in some parts and I didn't dive too deeply into the background of the story, although I included extra information just in case.
Two big areas I need to focus on now are transitions and formative assessments throughout the lesson. I liked my TA's suggestion to use the agenda I write on the board with my transitions to check for understanding and make sure we're all still on the same page. Asking the students if they think we're finished each task in the agenda and checking them off seems like a good way to transition to the next activity.
After I finished teaching the lesson, I wasn't sure how to feel because I did manage to get through all the items but some parts were rushed and stressed me out a little bit. Having a conversation with my TA afterwards helped put things into perspective and it was really encouraging to hear that he thinks I'm one of the most prepared PSI students he has had. He said there are just little suggestions and things he finds to talk to me about and if he's talking to me about transitions and assessment, it means he feels my classroom management and some other things are alright. He said he's going to steal one of my tricks of getting their attention. It's nice that I am learning lots from my TA and that he is also gaining something from me in return! Learning is a two-way street after all!
Time to do some more lesson planning! Tomorrow I'll be teaching math and something for DPA (Daily Physical Activity.) I'm hoping to sleep before 1a