Week Five.

I much preferred this week than the past few. Year 3 was somewhat of a struggle in terms of being thrown in the deep end. This week I was placed in the MULTILIT program. I was given two students to work with and spent the time going through Sight Words, reading books and testing their accuracy and speed skills. The lesson started of by going through their sight words. This is where I would hold up one card at a time that each had a word printed on it. By this stage, the students were expected to say the word the moment they see them, instead of sounding them out; hence the term sight words. The students were very good at this and seemed to enjoy the process of saying the word as fast as they could. The next activity was their book ready. They chose a book from their personal library and simply read it to me. My responsibility with this activity was to ensure they were reading the words and using the grammar/punctuation correctly, but also to ensure they understood what they were reading. To ensure this, I would ask throughout the book questions such as, “wow! What do you think of that turn of events?”, “who is your favourite character?”. I would also ask the student to point out the introduction, climax and resolution of the story. And finally, the last activity was testing of accuracy and speed. This is where they would go through a list of words and read them aloud. I would first examine how accurately they pronounced the word and then how quickly the student can say the words after one another. The lesson ended with a reward system of a sticker, which was fun for them and allowed them to feel a sense of accomplishment.

 

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Week Seven.

This week I was thankful to be in kindergarten again. The morning was a day dedicated to art! There was a range of activities I worked with; Mother’s Day cards, Anzac Day colouring in sheets and making their own story books. My favourite part about the story-books was that all the students had one topic. The topic was “My dad is, my dad like to, my dad has”. Despite the same topic, it was lovely to see all the different creations the kids came up with. The students described so many different occupations, interests and funny things thing about their dad.

Then we did maths. The activity I witness was structured around ‘counting by twos’. The teacher had the students sit in a horse-shoe, where she sat in the gap and she brought out the blocks. This straight away had the students engaged in the lesson that was set out before them. As the students were already quite frequent in counting by ones, counting by twos was the next step. She lay the blocks out in groups of twos and started counting, “2, 4, 6, 8, 10!”. She taught the method of ‘checking’ to the students. This involved then recounting the blocks by one to see if they reached the same numerical result.

 

Week Six.

This week I was with kindergarten. This age group is very different from year three! It really showed me how much development happens within those two years. The activities I was submerged in varied from reading to maths, English, art, scripture, science and free-play. One thing I noticed that left an impact on me was the w ay a group of students responded to free-play. I saw a group of boys on the iPads, others playing with play dough, dress-ups and Lego. The group that stood out to me was a group of girls who had sat at their desks and started to colour in. One of these girls pretended to be their teacher and would walk around the tables in the same upward stance that their teacher did. She would make comments such as, “good work!” and “you have five minutes left” It surprised how these students considered this as their enjoyment and play time but also how much they looked up to their teacher. It can be so common to think that students only learn skills and content from their teacher, but these little kindergarten girls showed me how they are shaped as human beings by those that surround them. Just the way their teacher gave positive reinforcement is what they consider to be worth repeating.

 

Week Five.

I much preferred this week than the past few. Year 3 was somewhat of a struggle in terms of being thrown in the deep end. This week I was placed in the MULTILIT program. I was given two students to work with and spent the time going through Sight Words, reading books and testing their accuracy and speed skills. The lesson started of by going through their sight words. This is where I would hold up one card at a time that each had a word printed on it. By this stage, the students were expected to say the word the moment they see them, instead of sounding them out; hence the term sight words. The students were very good at this and seemed to enjoy the process of saying the word as fast as they could. The next activity was their book ready. They chose a book from their personal library and simply read it to me. My responsibility with this activity was to ensure they were reading the words and using the grammar/punctuation correctly, but also to ensure they understood what they were reading. To ensure this, I would ask throughout the book questions such as, “wow! What do you think of that turn of events?”, “who is your favourite character?”. I would also ask the student to point out the introduction, climax and resolution of the story. And finally, the last activity was testing of accuracy and speed. This is where they would go through a list of words and read them aloud. I would first examine how accurately they pronounced the word and then how quickly the student can say the words after one another. The lesson ended with a reward system of a sticker, which was fun for them and allowed them to feel a sense of accomplishment.

 

Week Four.

Mathematics has always and will always be such a low point for me. I have only passed very few maths exams in my life. This week, I was teaching maths! Despite it only being year 3 level where the content was all addition and subtraction, the method in which they did so was rather difficult to wrap my head around. I am not quite sure how to put it to words, but it was basically subtracting a small number from a big number by finding the nearest 10 based number and adding that number to the 1 based numbers. I was beyond confused and had to check my own work before checking the students. Later that day I was rethinking the math problem in my mind and found that it was a lot easier the second time round. This may as well have been a result of repetition but I also believe it was the result of not being under pressure from their teacher observing me as well as the student’s counting on me to teach them.

Week Three.

This week I was given the same year 3 class. Initially, it was easier as the students remembered my face and were happy to see me again. This time around I was once again going through the student’s stories and critiquing their work. My biggest challenge this time was that even though there were many grammatical mistakes within their work, they did not like to be corrected. I tried many different techniques to allow them to see the error, techniques like, and “lets have a look at this sentence again Now, I am going to read the same sentence out twice. The first time I will read it without a comma after this word and the second time I will read it with a comma after this word.” This was one of the few techniques I tried to allow the students to see the error without it being spoon-fed to them. It was a success in the sense that they saw the error, but they preferred it being wrong and thus refused to change it. Whilst this was quite comical to me, I did not know how to tell them they were wrong without being too harsh. But at least I have something to work on in the next few weeks to improve one area of my teaching application.

This week I also got to witness their teacher use negative reinforcement, “Charles, If you cant concentrate on this lesson there will be no Lego time after”. It definitely made Charles listen more intently.

 

 

Week Two.

This week I was designated to a Year 3 Class. As soon as I was immersed in the class I was already faced with a challenge. The students were set a topic of looking at a blank picture book (only pictures no words) and they were instructed to create their own story by first writing it down onto a piece of paper and then transferring it onto their iPad. The students also had to record their voices reading their stories to create an audio book.

I was given a student to work with by their regular teacher. The challenge I found here was that I was told to critique their work, that is, fix up any spelling mistakes, punctuation errors etc. however, I was faced with a new app on the ipad that I had never seen, I was told to look for specific sentence structures that I have not done myself since I was a year 3 student, and I was expected to work confidently with what was laid out in front of me with no prior demonstration. This was rather shocking as I didn’t expect to be a position to teach when I didn’t even know the material I was teaching.

This experience has taught me the value of lesson planning: to know what you want to teach so you don’t count the seconds dragging by when you’re stuck with no material to share.

One pleasant experience I encountered during this time was that the students didn’t want me to leave. I must have made some positive impact.