Wednesday was my first multiplication lesson. Not knowing what level they were at I prepared a "Race Against Time" multiplication facts sheet which I intend to use in the first 10 minutes of each math lesson I teach. It's basically a speed test but I didn't want to call it a speed test. The kids have 10 minutes to complete 50 questions. My TA commented that the procedure was great. Since they were coming in from recess all hyper, I decided that they all have to put their heads down and wait for me to hand out the tests face down. After I've handed out all the paper and they've all been quiet, I'll say "ready, set, go" at which point they flip their papers over and do the sheet as fast as they can. When they finish, they'll put up their hand and I tell them their time. The next time we do the sheet all they have to do is try to beat their own time. I had drawn up another practice worksheet for them to do after this test but as I was circulating I noticed that most of them were struggling with their basic facts and probably would not have been able to complete the sheets. So I decided to do some review of strategies on the board. It was a challenge to keep all the students engaged as I was directing some questions at students I thought needed more help. Upon reflection, I should've asked them all to do the question on the back of their test at the same time so they were occupied. Thursday I started math lesson the same way again and everyone got a little bit better than the day before! We did some review of strategies on the board and I asked them to write it on the backs of their paper too. I also taught them to sing a song to remember the 3 times tables (to the tune of She'll be coming 'round the mountains) though we only got up to 3x5 because I was short on time and I wanted to get to the worksheet.
During novel study I taught them a little more Japanese and then we popcorn read a chapter. It's great to see their interest in Japanese and Japanese culture. I only wish that I had more time to share more of it with them!
Another opportunity given to me by my TA is the task of creating a new seating plan for the class. I put the 4 boys who are the most trouble roughly at the 4 outermost spots, and had a few of the weaker students at the front. I knew that one boy and girl had to be separated because of various reasons. It was actually quite difficult and required a lot of thought.
David also came for the second observation visit on Thursday so I arranged with my TA to teach art during that time. He said that he heard a rumour I wasn't sleeping enough these days and I should stop doing so much work. Both my TA and David gave me permission to not write full, extensive lesson plans. I think I will still end up writing quite a bit, but it's nice to know they aren't really worried about keeping to the format we had to do in class.
My TA is letting me fit in a few more art lessons before I leave too, which is great news! I have so many ideas and my time with the class is so limited. At least now there's more potential to create work for a mini-art show on Dec.10th.
Friday was such a nice day. I taught a Social Studies lesson that I thought went really well because all the kids managed to finish the worksheet I provided. I chose 4 relatively short Creation Legends from the Haida, Blackfoot, Cree, and Huron nations and distributed them to the students. At first I was thinking I'd distribute randomly but after looking at the lengths of some of the stories I decided to sort them selectively so the stronger students got the longer stories. After they all individually read their stories and answered 2 questions at the bottom, I separated them into 5 groups of 4 to share the story they read and fill out a chart to record the main characters and idea of each story.
The behaviour issues are still there but I think I'm getting used to being more firm and strict so I'm not as easily flustered or swayed by whining anymore. It was really neat on Friday when I sat up at the front of class before my lesson and students started telling other students to be quiet even before I said anything. It was nice that I didn't have to do anything and they became quiet for me! I told them that I was very impressed that they became quiet so quickly this time.
I'm way too tired to reflect further at this point. It's been a long day at work (really wish I didn't have to work but I must...) and now I must sleep. Tomorrow I've written way too many things on my schedule but I'd like to get lots of planning done, and the Curriculum & Instructions Assignment as well.... That definitely needs to be done.