On Tuesday my stomach was feeling a little upset and I didn't have lots of energy, but it was still a good day. I added a second lesson to follow up on Lesson 2: Gesture Drawing, and taught the Grade 5/6's an alternative way to draw the human figure by examining where the joints of the body were. It was a little difficult to maintain the class's attention and my UC pointed out that there were 2 boys in particular who I should keep an eye on. She gave me lots of useful time management and classroom management suggestions which I tried in subsequent lessons throughout the week and things seem to be going a lot smoother. Another comment was about focusing exit slip questions to relate more to SLO's and possibly take them in for marks. I really liked the suggestion to introduce the concept of effort/work habit ratings and get students to mark themselves out of 5 in terms of how well they listened and stayed on task that lesson. I have to think about this a little bit more to see if I want to add that to a lesson in the next little while. She also gave me suggestions for a follow up lesson that talks more about movement and how the body can form dynamic poses. I had intended to move on to Lesson 3 with the 5/6's in the next class, trying to move ahead in my unit but this feedback made a lot of sense and it would have been a big jump to just move on so I added another lesson (I'll explain this lesson below.) In the second lesson of the day I taught the grade 3/4's and asked some more focused questions to assess their understanding of what was learned in the previous lesson. My TA commented that it was really positive I took my UC's comments and adapted it right away. Because I still don't have a good grasp of everyone's names, she suggested that I take some time to do attendance at the beginning of each class. The lesson was on Gesture Drawing and she said it was good that my final 5 second poses pushed them beyond their limits a little bit.
Wednesday was my first day teaching 3 lessons in a row in the afternoon, and I had to teach Lesson 1 of my comic unit to the Gr.1/2's and then the two junior high classes (Grade 8/9 split, followed by Grade 7/8/9 split.) I was a bit nervous about teaching the junior high students because I've always been teaching younger students, but it actually went really well and I was pleased that they were all engaged and liked learning about drawing comics and anime. As my TA suggested the previous day, I spent some time at the beginning of the Gr.1/2 class to take attendance and create a cheatsheet for myself by drawing the tables and writing their names where they sit. I'm not entirely sure why I hadn't thought of that before because it would be such an easy thing for the first lesson. I know the junior high students' names because I observe my TA teaching them every morning. The computer in the classroom decided to stop working and has to be replaced so I couldn't project my powerpoint onto the Smartboard so I had to adapt my lesson and take a bit more time to get the students to gather around my laptop. Luckily my new laptop has a pretty big screen and I made sure all students could see from where they were sitting or standing. I decided to show the students more of my own artwork as an introduction because one comment from the very first lesson I taught was I should share more about myself since the students are always interested in seeing you're a real person with interests and talents. My TA commented that I'm very flexible and adaptive, which is a necessary skill in teaching. Technology malfunctions happen quite often and it's good to be able to go with the flow and have a back up plan. She also suggested that having students gather their work in the middle of their tables might be a good clean-up routine, which I adapted in my lessons on Thursday. For the junior high students, I was pleased that they really liked the unit and a lot of them have seen various anime cartoons. They asked some really good questions and gave me some good answers to my questions as well. It was really interesting to see the differences and similarities between drawings of anime faces from grade 1 to 9!
On Thursday I taught 3 lessons in a row again, and it was my first day with the Kindergartens as well! So far, I feel like Thursday has been my best day. I started off each lesson by taking attendance and making my cheatsheets, and because the classroom computer still wasn't replaced, my TA needed the information as well. I taught the 5/6's their 3rd lesson on figure drawing, building upon the lesson on Tuesday. As suggested by my UC, I asked the boys with their backs to me to turn around while I was talking. I thanked them for doing so promptly and they seemed to turn around more automatically afterwards. I decided to print off pictures of all the series of Power Rangers/Super Sentai and gave one to each student so they could identify all the joints, and connect the joints with lines representing bones. Because Power Rangers tend to make epic hero poses, I though they'd be a great example. The students loved the Power Rangers and found it really interesting how they all got different ones, and I was pleased that I could use one of my favourite groups of super heroes growing up in my lessons. Everyone successfully identified and drew the joints and lines on the pictures, and I made a new discovery. I initially asked students to draw on them in pencil, but some students pointed out it was hard to see and asked if they could use pen. Some of the pictures were darker than others. As I was walking around I noticed one student used highlighter to draw on top of the pictures and it made the joints and lines stand out so clearly I thought I should get the next classes to use markers/highlighters as well. The foreseeable problem is that not all students may have highlighters or thin enough markers, but even the black pen or a contrasting coloured pencil crayon may be better. The pencil works too, and if you really didn't have any other drawing tool, you could hold up the picture with your pencil marks to the light and depending on the angle you'll see the reflection from the pencil marks. In the second part of the lesson I asked students to choose their favourite pose from the picture they studied, and draw an enlarged version that fits their sheet of 8.5x11 paper. Instead of drawing the Power Rangers, I asked them to draw an anime face and give their person an outfit or costume. I was really impressed with their work! One thing I found is that the class size is quite large and the lesson time short, making it difficult for me to spend enough time with each student. I noted a few students who may need more help and guidance, although they ended up doing a good job anyway.
I loved teaching the Kindergartens. I told them to call me Miss K, something they could easily remember and started off by taking attendance and then asked them to tell me their favourite shapes. I told them we would draw some people today using shapes and handed out paper, realizing they didn't have any drawing tools with them. Luckily there was a bucket of crayons so each table got a bowl of different colours to use. I started off asking them to draw a circle on their papers and drew one on the board. I noticed that a lot of them were drawing small circles so I took a piece of paper and drew one so they could see what size I wanted them to be. All the students did really well and they even experimented on their own. I finished my lesson way ahead of time so I asked students to fill their pages with other stick people so their first drawing wouldn't be lonely. Then I thought it was about time to clean up but they were so quick, there was still time to fill before the bell rang for recess! I asked them to tell me some of the things they learned today. There was still time after this, so I asked them if they wanted to see my panda. I drew Panda on the board and we talked about the shapes, then I drew Dino and a student commented that dinosaurs were his favourite so I asked the students their favourite animals. One student told me they liked penguins so I said Dino & Panda has a good friend named Penguinnie and drew him on the board as well. Then I realized most of the shapes I use were circles and I hadn't drawn any squares, so I asked the Kindergartners if they thought I could draw a square penguin. Some said no, so I said I would try anyway and they really liked it and thought it was funny. Finally the bell rang and my TA said I did well in filling up the time because she finds she always has to have sponge activities for this age group because they finish earlier than expected. She said she usually has a short 2-5 minute video to show them or a quick activity ready. I wouldn't have been able to show a video because the computer wasn't working, but there were only 13 kids so I could have showed them one on my laptop if necessary. I hadn't even thought about the need for extra sponge activities though. Now I know! Kindergartners need more sponge activities!
The last lesson of the day was taught to the grade 3/4's who seemed more talkative than the 5/6's. Most of the students understood where the joints were and how to draw them in a static figure. There was just one student who had trouble understanding the abstract image of a joints-and-lines figure representing a real person. I'll go over it again next class and ask her to tell me how many joints are in each arm. I talked to her one-on-one about it, so hopefully she remembers. I think after the next lesson (drawing joints and lines on the Power Ranger pictures), she will be able to understand the concept a little better. The students didn't have quite enough time to finish their drawings so I asked them to complete them and bring it to me next class. I'm not sure if this will work very well because they will probably forget over the weekend...A lot of the students tell me they go home and practice drawing on their own even though I hadn't assigned it though, so I have some faith that most of them will bring me back work on Tuesday.
I also decided that I can probably combine the 2nd and 3rd parts of the Gesture Drawing lesson for the Junior High students because they will grasp the concepts faster. They're also easier to refocus so lessons can go a lot quicker. I was feeling nervous about how the junior high students would react to my teaching but they are all really respectful and engaged in my lesson. They also show interest in my work and converse with me a bit more after my first lesson with them, so I feel more calm about their next lessons.
When I have a bit more time, I'll add a slideshow of my students' drawings so far in a blog post, but for now, there's more work to be done!