Current Crane count: 750!!! 250 more!
This week I had the chance to run Daily 5 and help the students start writing some short stories. There are a few students who really dislike to write but I still managed to get them to write down a few of their ideas. With almost every student, it was so cool to see their imagination slowly start to take off in the beginning and to witness that moment when it was like Pandora's box exploded open and they wrote furiously. As much as I helped them open their minds and tap into their creativity, their imaginations have also inspired me. I have so many more ideas for artwork and stories in my head after this week! We talked about "what if" questions to move the story along, story plots and problems/conflicts.
For the second math lesson this week, I got them all to sing along to a youtube video of the 3 times tables song (to the tune of She'll Be Coming 'Round The Mountain.) The voice was so goofy they really enjoyed it! Some kids asked if they could dance so I said sure! As long as they are singing along. Then I asked if there were volunteers who wanted to sing in front of the class and a group of 4 boys did a dance and sang along. On this day I decided to do a bunch of review and the song before giving them their speed tests in hopes that it will help the weaker students. As I was circulating during the speed test I noticed that everyone was improving and becoming more familiar with the multiplication facts. This is encouraging! I have another practice activity I want to try next week: folding paper fortune tellers and writing multiplication facts instead of fortunes so they can individually practice in a way that's hopefully more fun than a worksheet.
I was worrying about how to approach the heavier topics in my novel study (Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes) and I decided to get the students to write notes and words of encouragement as if they were friends with Sadako and knew she was in the hospital, sad and scared. Most of the students wrote really heartfelt messages such as "Dear Sadako, get well soon. You're a good friend. I've been folding cranes for you." One student wrote "Die when you're an old lady." I thought this was good and added that he could write "Don't die now," to make it sound less harsh. However, this boy dislikes writing so he didn't elaborate.
My favourite part of practicum is always when I get to teach art. This week I got to teach art on Thursday AND Friday! Thursday afternoon I taught them a bit about gesture drawing and then we spent the rest of the class practicing drawing different people who posed for 30 seconds, 20 seconds, 10 seconds, and 5 seconds. After everyone in the class had posed twice, I gave them 1 minute poses so they could try to add a few more details beyond just the basic shapes. I'm really happy with the work everyone did! They seemed to have fun. Having them each get up and make a pose gave the lesson a more active spin which they needed after spending the last period doing a worksheet for science. I was really excited for Friday's art lesson. I taught them a bit about Chinese Brush Painting, showed them some examples including my own work, and then demonstrated some techniques using the document camera. I was most worried about making sure they don't make a huge mess with the paint so I talked to them before I distributed materials and supplies. A few rules were they had to stay at their desk and their paintbrush only goes on their paper on their desk. One boy somehow got black paint on his face but other than that, I was pretty happy with the minimal mess we created. I was very impressed with a lot of their paintings too! Everyone did at least 2 paintings. A few ended up painting 5 or 6! I'm excited for the class to share their artwork with the other classes on my last day of practicum in a mini exhibit.
All this week I have been writing my lesson plans out by hand and not bothering with the formal write up version that has taken so long. I have to say, it works better for me because I need to write things down to remember. If I were to prepare for a substitute teacher I may do a more formal write up. However, my TA was away this week in Mexico and the write up he gave to his substitute was just in paragraphs. I guess we just need to figure out what works best for us. The lessons I taught this week were pretty good and didn't seem affected by the less comprehensive lesson plans.
There are only 7 more...no...6 more teaching days left in this practicum! I've got mixed feelings. I just hope I don't cry on my last day when I have to say my goodbyes.....the kids have taught me so much :)