The hours of the school days are long, starting early and ending late, but it's a good trade off for now having school on Fridays!
Today was just an observation day for me as I try to learn as many names as possible. I think I remember most of the junior high students' names because I met them at orientation a few weeks ago and took notes. The only other group I saw today was the Grades 1/2 art class. Many students and staff were sick today. I asked all my students to write down their favourite animal and character (cartoon, video games, books, movies, etc) because I want to know a bit about each one and incorporate their interests in my lessons. I also want to draw little personalized cartoons to give to each student for the end of practicum and since there are about 135 students, I will need to get started right away.
I am still unsure whether I want to eventually end up teaching Elementary or higher grades, but I can tell after the first day that I'm a lot more comfortable with the younger kids. I'm not quite sure how to deal with junior high students who are closer in age to me, but still young enough for me to call them "kids." They're a good bunch, but I'll have to get used to teaching this age group! This is a brilliant opportunity and I feel really lucky that I got another great practicum placement.
The Social Studies 8 and Language Arts 9 classes were doing review today for tests that will be happening soon and my TA used some interesting and fun review games. One was Jeopardy, and the other was sort of a race to choose the right answer for a series of questions. It's hard to summarize in words, but I think it was really great! These are two tools I'm going to use in the future.
I will begin teaching my Comic unit to the grade 5/6 art class tomorrow afternoon, and the grade 3/4 class on Thursday afternoon. The grade 1/2, grade 8/9, and grade 7/8/9 classes are still working on completing their projects so I will start the unit with them next week.
Through my brief questioning at the beginning of their classes today, I was trying to gauge their interest level in comics. The grade 7's seemed somewhat excited, one student was particularly excited as I noticed he was already working on a comic book in his spare time. The grade 8's seemed a little indifferent but maybe they were just really tired and/or ill. The grade 9's were somewhat excited, and the grade 1/2's were pretty enthusiastic.
Again, I feel much more at ease with the younger grades. Today was my first meeting with the 1/2's and I already feel like I've made a connection with them. With the junior high students, there's a thin, invisible barrier that hinders the same level of connection. It'll take some time but I'll make sure to break down that barrier before the end of practicum! That's all I'll write for now. I'm sure there will be more to reflect on after I teach my first lesson tomorrow.