Today was a little bit different than our typical Wednesday in the classroom. We had a substitute teacher today because our usual co-op teacher was on holidays in Mexico for the week. We also decided to switch our day two schedule around by starting with Bellwork and then going into my lesson instead of the usual Literacy lesson.
Since today was the last day of school before Remembrance Day, we had a Remembrance Day service and therefore, some of the students had to leave before or during my lesson to practice choir or carrying in the poppy wreaths for the service. This was kind of unfortunate because some of the students missed out on my lesson about the water cycle. I was actually surprised that some of the students did not even know what the water cycle was until I taught this lesson. I think most of the students responded well to the lesson and once I gave them time to work on their written, visual or dramatized representations of the water cycle, I was able to see their understanding of what was just taught. They did seem to take a while to focus on the assignment, but once I wandered around to each person to see how they were doing, they seemed to appreciate the direction given to them.
My target this week was to move around the classroom during my lesson from the projector, to the board, and to each of the students individually. I think I did a pretty good job of this and our substitute teacher for the day even saw it as a great classroom management strategy. If you get rid of the “stage” at the front, the students are less likely to think they can get away with misbehaving in the back of the classroom.
During the work period during my lesson, there was one group that I allowed and trusted to be a group of five to do a dramatized representation. I think I should have thought about this a little bit more before saying it was okay for them to work in a group of five because once they started working, they were off task and a bit disruptive. So next time, I would stick with my “max 3 people in a group” rule. In the end, their drama and understanding of the water cycle was pretty good, but I still wouldn’t put them together in a group that big again. All of the assignments that the students handed in to me ended up being very creative in their own way. I loved seeing the different creative pieces come together. Seeing and reading the assignments at the end of the lesson was probably my favorite part of the day.
After my lesson was over and their recess, our school had a Remembrance Day Service. They had a few poems read, a skit, students carrying in poppy wreaths, a choir song sung called “Imagine”, and of course a moment of silence to remember the soldiers that were lost at war. This was a great service and I was happy to see that the two MC’s of the service were a grade 7 and 8 student from our class. They did a wonderful job.
Slowly, but surely I am building relationships with these students. I was able to play a different version of Dodge-ball with the students and also comment on their work that they did on the water cycle during my lesson. I also had a chance to talk with one of the students who usually does not want to participate in class. He had walked out of the room during one of the lessons and I simply went out to talk with him for a few minutes to ask why he was out there. He said he wasn’t interested in the lesson, so I asked him what he was interested in. He said he didn’t know, but I knew he liked basketball and said I liked basketball too. Then I asked him nicely to come back in and try to get something out of the lesson and he actually listened. I was surprised because my co-op teacher had mentioned that this particular student does not usually like women and that he does not usually listen to anyone. So it was nice to see that over the past few weeks I have been gaining his trust and that he is beginning to respect me more. I hope to continue to build good relationships with all of my students in the next few weeks.