The thing I want to reflect on is how the change in weather apparently affects the students' behaviours and ability to focus. Monday was a little crazy, but that's to be expected because they just came back from a weekend of fun (I'm assuming...). Then today it begins to snow and is the first real cold snowy day of the season and they were just restless since they arrived in the morning. At the end of the day when I chatted with my TA, he told me that this is the worst time of the year, behaviour-wise, for all students, no matter what grade level. It makes sense, because it's getting close to Winter break and both the students and teachers are pretty burnt out at this point.
I've been trying to think how I can combat this lack of focusing....I think I might try to break up my lessons with some sort of physical activity so they can release some energy. To be honest, Social Studies has never been my favourite subject, but I do love stories. I was also apprehensive with introducing a unit on First Nations people because there is so much I don't know and I didn't want to tell the students something wrong. I tried to think of engaging activities but I still think my lesson today was a little on the boring side.
Another thing I found out after talking to my TA is that we assume the Native students in the class would be more engaged in a lesson about First Nations people because it's their culture and they have access to some knowledge that the rest of us don't, but what he found was those students he expected to shine in these topics often disengage like they aren't interested in their own culture or sharing it. It's rather sad. They have such a rich culture but after talking with them and asking some questions it doesn't seem like they know a whole lot about their peoples' histories. My TA and I were talking about potentially bringing in an Elder or someone from a local Blackfoot tribe to talk to the students about traditions, beliefs, stories, and histories. I really hope this can spark more interest in the students! Meanwhile, I talked to my TA about my concerns of not knowing much about the culture but I'm interested in the stories of the different people so he said it would be ok if I focus lessons around telling the stories. I'm a little more motivated to work on the next few Social Studies lesson plans now that I've narrowed down the focus for myself.
The focus of my TA's comments and observations this week is on questioning. I stayed up really late last night trying to think up questions I could ask the students to get them thinking on a deeper level but it just wasn't working today as they had trouble sitting still and listening. Am I not strict enough? I have trouble raising my voice or being angry but I feel like today I managed to communicate to the students that I was not impressed with their behaviour a few times. In the morning I managed to get the class quiet and had a little chat and told them I wasn't impressed with the noise level right now and that I need them to focus for me. It worked for maybe 10 minutes before they started getting off task again.
I feel like the health lesson I taught today (Sugar Shocker) went well considering I had to constantly stop and wait for them to be quiet. They were engaged and they got the message about how much sugar certain beverages contain, and why too much sugar is bad for the body. I showed them how many teaspoons of sugar is in red bull and because I hadn't tested it before hand, it shocked me to see that the amount of sugar in that little can....is almost enough to fill the can! 27 teaspoons of sugar...no wonder there's a warning that says you should not drink more than 2 cans of red bull... I'm proud to say I've never had to resort to red bull or other energy drinks though I sleep so little sometimes I'm not sure how I keep going....
Anyway, it's time to get cracking on some more lesson plan writing. I'm hoping that my TA's prediction is right: after 2 bad behaviour days, they should be better tomorrow. Tomorrow's a new day :) I was pretty stressed and frustrated by the end of the day but I'm too positive a person to mope for too long. Let's work hard with the lessons we learned today!
Also, current crane count, thanks to contributions of several students: 398/1000! Way ahead of my initial calculations!