In the morning I went upstairs to tune the ukuleles right after announcements were over and discovered that there were a few ukes which have some issues with the upper frets. When I asked the students to just grab any uke (they all had assigned numbers since last class,) I asked them all to pluck each string so I could check that they were still in tune, and then to strum a D7 chord so I could check that they don't have a weird sounding uke. Yesterday, one of the boys had come to me and said he didn't know if he would be able to play uke because he and his brother crashed on their bikes and he hurt his thumb really badly. Today he was happy to tell me that he's feeling a lot better :) I'm happy too. He was the student my UC and TA had identified in my art class as a "problem student" but he is fully engaged in learning how to play the ukulele and I feel like he has been behaving better in art class as well. I printed out lyrics to Blue Moon/Santa Catalina and The Lion Sleeps Tonight this morning. After reviewing the chords we learned last time, I taught them the last chord they need for these songs. They found it difficult, and it is quite difficult for beginners but I was impressed they could all play it. They just need to practice switching between this difficult A7 chord to the other simpler chords. Speaking to the other student teacher, it seems that at least 3 of the students have got it already because they stayed in to practice at recess. I was planning on getting them to strum and sing today but I didn't want to overload them so I focused on getting them to just sing the song first. After they seemed to get the verses, I asked their teacher and the other PSII student to sing the accompaniment part while the rest of us sang Blue Moon. After they got the hang of that, I asked them to sing it again while I sang the third part, Santa Catalina at the same time. They're sounding really good! There are 2 more practices next week and then it's performance time. Although I know they will be awesome, I still wish there was more time...
After lunch I taught the Gr.1/2's. I remember on Monday I was super tired after teaching the 1/2's followed by the 2 junior high split classes, but today was actually really good! :) I showed the Gr.1/2's the second way of drawing bodies, looking at joints and connecting the joints. I was really impressed that they were focusing quite well and understanding where joints were. They were so on task that a lot of them even had time to colour their pictures.
My UC came to observe the first junior high split class today. I was a bit nervous because I found myself raising my voice a lot on Monday, but at the same time I was excited to see what this grade level could do with the Power Ranger poses. They came in a little noisily as usual after coming from gym class, but it didn't really bother me. My UC suggested that when they come in, I may greet them and initiate some small talk. It seems I always forget to do this! I just focus on what I have to convey in my lesson and get straight to it. I did talk to a few of the students individually as they came in and sat down because I was interested in what they were doing. One student draws a lot in his free time and while he may not be considered an academic student, his drawings are amazing. Because the students were quiet for me as I explained what we were doing, I just went ahead and told them all the directions even though in the back of my head I knew they wouldn't remember or they may appear to be listening but their mind might be elsewhere. I've done that before while a professor is lecturing at the front of the room. In PSI I wrote the lesson agenda on the board at the beginning of each class so I'm not sure why I didn't think about trying this until my UC wrote it in her comments today. It makes a lot of sense. I remember all the steps because I've taught the lesson before and I've spent lots of time visualizing the sequence, but if I were the student, I know I wouldn't be able to remember every step either! My UC commented on loud off topic discussions but I didn't really feel like they were unacceptably loud considering they were quite loud on Monday. There were a few students I talked to if I was rotating and saw that they were a bit behind in their work. One student asked me if he could listen to music as he worked on his drawing and I said it was fine. My UC wondered if I had established the "rules" with regards to listening to music. I was thinking of preparing a playlist of anime/animation music to play while they worked but I haven't quite finished compiling a list. It doesn't bother me if students are listening to music while they draw because I find listening to music helps me draw at times too. In hindsight I could have clearly stated rules such as you can only have one earbud in so you can still hear me if I start talking. With regards to evaluation, this would be a good mini assignment to give marks for, but I wanted it to be the last formative assessment before they do their first assignment for me the next class. However, I think if I started giving marks for the gesture drawings, and the Power Ranger poses, then marks for the subsequent assignments could be weighed less heavily if I were calculating a percentage for the unit. I think it still works if I use the gesture drawing and Power Ranger exercise as formative assessment and give more marks for the mini-comic book assignment because everything they've learned will lead up to and culminate in the final product which will show their understanding of all the concepts I taught them. As part of the development of their final project, they need to show me some quick sketches of poses their characters may use, different facial expressions, and experiment with hairstyle, clothes, costumes and accessories. These sketches will all be required and each would have some mark attached to them. Because this was the way I planned it in my head (and partially on paper now,) I thought it wasn't totally necessary to mark them on these first few foundational lessons.
In the second junior high split, the crazier one in my opinion, I was impressed they were mostly working well. I did move one student at the beginning of class, and later on another student got to work by herself at the back table. The place I moved the first student was probably not ideal because he was a distraction to the two students who were there. My TA suggested that a seating plan may be necessary for this particular group and I agree. It would be tricky because I feel like all these kids know each other so well that no matter where I put them, they will be goofing off a little bit. I might get them to draw sticks with little numbers on them and sit at the specified table number so each class is different and then I can see which students and groups of students may work well together, and which students should definitely be separated as far from each other as possible. This may work, or it may be a complete disaster. I'll have to contemplate the placement of each student over the weekend!
All in all, I was pretty satisfied with today's lessons. The majority of students handed in some really great drawings. The Gr.9 student who challenged my TA the last two days was pretty good for my art class. He has a good grasp of body proportions and is quite skilled with his drawings! At the beginning of class he helped me get the class's attention with his loud voice, and I thanked him because I really didn't want to yell. At the end of class, I had the students pack up and get ready to leave but there were still about 5 minutes before the bell rang. They all waited around the door and were being a bit loud so I told them I'll dismiss them a little bit early if they can be completely silent for 1 whole minute. They were pretty good for about 45 seconds so I restarted the time and when they were finally silent for a minute, it was already almost time for the bell to ring so I said they could leave. A few students stayed a little longer because they still wanted to work on their drawings more. Again, I was really impressed by a lot of the students' work! I can't wait to see their finished comics!