Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Field Blog-HB (day 4)

    Coming into my final day of observing at HB, I was anxious to see how the day would go because we were supposed to go to Squires Valley again. When I was walking towards the classroom, I saw one of the teachers coming from the opposite direction, walking towards me. Something looked a little off I thought... She soon told me that she was going home sick so we were not going to Squires Valley and would just stay at school. There were a few kids who were out sick that day, so the other teacher said she'd be fine by herself. After Julie (Mrs. Harris) left, it was just Marisa (Mrs. Haverlock), me, and the students. I am glad I was there to help her out so she didn't have to be alone with them the whole time.
   We stayed in the classroom the whole time, which made the kids go a little bit crazy. We played with these bead type things that I did as a kid, so I really enjoyed doing that with them. I was really surprised as to how well they did with this activity. The beads are so little and you have to put them on tiny posts, I struggle with it a lot of the times, but they do have smaller fingers than I do.. I helped them pick out the colors they wanted to do, but mainly let them put them on their shape unless they really needed help. While we were doing this activity, Marisa left the classroom for a little bit to go grab a coffee, leaving me in charge of the kids. I liked that she was able to trust me with the kids for that short period of time, it made me feel more grown up... She soon returned and then it was time for lunch. They had lunch in the classroom because they had their individual lunches because they were originally supposed to go to Squires Valley. After lunch, they played for a little bit more and then they had a rest time, which was a nice and well-needed break.
    After a nap time, I helped the kids get up and get ready to go home. I also left around the time that they went home. I really enjoyed these field experiences and am excited to see where else JCU will take me.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Field Blog-HB (day 3)

    Today, we weren't going on a field trip so I was excited. I knew I wasn't going to freeze and that it would be has hectic as last time. When I got there, the kids were just getting ready to eat snack. They were all sitting in a circle on the carpet, playing a game with Mrs. Harris. It was called the Memory Game. There was a pan, and in the pan were five objects. The children were given some time to look at the objects and memorize which pieces were there. After looking at them for a while, Mrs. Harris put a cloth over the pan and took out one of the objects. She then took the cloth off of the pan and the children had to guess which object was missing. They had to raise their hands to guess and not scream out the answer. Immediately, almost all of their hands flew up and they were all so anxious to answer. Mrs. Harris chose one of them and he or she would guess but if they didn't get it right, she'd move onto another person. After they guessed, she put the object back and this time took away two. She repeated this same process, but as the game went on, she would take away more and more pieces until eventually all of them were gone. I really liked this activity that they played. It taught them patience and self-control (having to wait to get called on and not yell out the answer), and they were constantly thinking. Even I had a little bit of trouble the first time figuring out which piece was missing. At the end of the game, the children were called, one by one to go wash their hands and take their seat for snack.
   There are three different tables that the children sit at for snack. They put a pretend candle on each of the tables and a placemat at each spot before snack. I chose to sit at a table with two little girls. They were so excited that I chose to sit with them, it was so cute. I really enjoyed talking to them while they were eating. Adelyn was a little shy at first, but quickly warmed up. I asked them a bunch of questions to keep the conversation going and they loved having someone else to talk to while they ate. After snack, we just played in the classroom for a bit and then they had dance class. I sat in on their dance class and watched them gallop all around the room. They all have such wild imaginations and they use them a lot during dance class. After dance, we went back into the classroom and played up until lunch time. When they were going to lunch, I was going to head back to campus. When I was leaving, two of the girls ran up to me and attached themselves on my legs, begging me not to go. This class is so fun and I love to be around them.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Field Blog-HB (day 2)

    After spending my first day with the children, I was very excited to come back. They are so warm and welcoming and seem like they will love you no matter what. I was anxious to see how the day would go because we were going on a field trip to Squires Valley. They go there three times every month just to get them out of the classroom and get some exercise. Before I observed this day, I had one of the teachers give me a link about the positive effects of nature on children. As a kid, I was constantly outside playing. I loved being outside and still do to this day. Now a days, children are staying in more and more because of the technological advancements. There are now so many game systems and television shows and computer games to play that the children stay in more and more. The technological advances have led to many positives but also caused many negatives.
    The children ate lunch in the classroom before we left and then began to get ready to head out. Getting ready was so very chaotic. I was helping the kids get their snow suits, coats, hats and gloves on and it was just so crazy. They weren't listening very well to begin with and then they were hitting each other and throwing things every where. The teachers warned me that getting ready usually gets hectic, but until I was in it, doing it, I didn't realize how crazy it could get. They were like trying to tame wild animals. It took us probably ten to fifteen minutes to get ready and start heading out to the buses. The teachers had to pull aside a few of the kids and have a talk with them about their behavior and what they need to change. Loading the bus was also a very difficult process... You had to help every kid get into their seats and make sure they were buckled up properly. It also just wasn't one class going on this field trip, but three pre-k classes, even more hectic. The whole bus ride the kids were yelling across the way, trying to talk to their friends. I remember my head pounding because of all of the noise.
   We finally get there after fifteen to twenty minute bus ride of screaming and kicking. It was freezing out. I wore two pairs of pants, two pairs of socks, a long sleeve shirt, sweatshirt, coat, a hat and gloves, and rain boots. I thought I was pretty well prepared, but I was still cold. The kids were running around, so they weren't cold. But just standing there, watching them play was freezing. We hiked in the woods a little bit and the children loved being in nature and exploring everything. There was a creek, which of course they all ran straight to. The teachers just stayed back and let the kids interact with each other. They were able to work out arguments and eventually get along pretty well. They absolutely loved this experience and being able to be outside. After a little over an hour of running around and playing, it was time to start heading back to the bus. Loading them up again wasn't as much of a struggle because they were all tired out. The bus ride back wasn't nearly as noisy as before, thank God.
     I really enjoyed being able to go on a field trip with these classes and watching them interact with each other without a lot of adult interaction. They are such a good and fun group of kids and I loved spending time with them.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Field Blog-HB (Day 1)

     For my ten hours of observations, I chose to go to Hathaway Brown and observe a Pre-K classroom. When I walked into the classroom, I was warmly greeted by the little girls and boys. A bunch of the kids ran up to me right away and gave me hugs and immediately grabbed my hands, wanting me to come join them and play. The majority of the children weren't shy at all and the ones who were a little more shy warmed up to me right away. I already knew a few of the children in the class from working at the infant and toddler center at HB; some went there as babies and some had siblings who went there. I also knew one of the teachers prior to coming in, so I wasn't very nervous and had an idea of what to expect. One good thing about this classroom is that there are two teachers, and also the students have an option of half day or full day, so a decent amount of them went home early, giving the teachers a break and less to worry about.   
     When I first got there, the kids were all playing together nicely, and a few were playing individually. The classroom was a pretty good size and there were many different stations for the children to play at, such as a sand table, a kitchen area, a reading area, and much more. At first, when I walked in some of the kids didn't notice me or just chose to continue playing with their toys, while others ran up immediately, curious to know who I was. Mrs. Harris introduced me to the class, they all said "hello Miss Musso" which sounds so weird to me, and then they all came over to play with me. After playing with the children for about a half hour, they had snack. Prior to snack, they all washed their hands in the bathroom and sat down at their assigned tables. Each table had a pitcher of water and three of the kids had the responsibility of bringing it to their tables. They poured their water out of the pitcher and after they were done eating, they put their plates and cups away. I like how they weren't reliant on their teachers to do everything for them. 
     Then, they all went and sat on the rug and did an activity with one of their teachers. They took a vote about what the name of their bakery should be and one little girl who voted for the name that lost became very upset and threw herself on the floor, crying. Mrs. Harris brought her away from the rest of the class and sat down and talked with her. A few minutes later, she was back playing with the children, about to head off to dance class. While they were at dance, I had the chance to sit down with the teachers and talk about why I was there, what I wanted to get out of it, and other things. The children cam back after about 20 minutes and I played and interacted with them the rest of the time. I read them books, they made a "movie" for me, we colored pictures, and I made sure they didn't get too out of hand. If they were arguing a little, I sat back to see if they can work it out, but if not, I intervened and helped them come to an agreement. Overall, I really enjoyed being in this classroom and am excited to go back. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Field Blog-The Agnon School

     Going into Agnon School, I was really exited. It was a private, lower school which is exactly what I want to teach. I want to teach first or second grade, and I was placed to observe in a first grade classroom. Before we went into the school, we were told that the students refer to the teachers and all of the staff by their first names. At first, I wasn't really sure what to think about this. It could be seen in a couple of different ways; some people may think that it is disrespectful to their teachers, their superiors or some may view it as a sign of comfort. At my high school, I would sometimes call my teachers by their first names but not often. It never really felt right to me; I feel like it should be Mrs. or Mr. so and so. The students were very comfortable with their teachers, which is a very good thing. They share a bond and the students are able to be themselves around them and trust them.
     In the first grade classroom I sat in on, there weren't very many students in a class; there were maybe 15 or so. I think that smaller class sizes work much better for both the students and the teachers, especially for the students at a young age. Each week, the students will take home their "homeschool journal" and write a note to their parents about what they are doing in school. When they take it home, their parents will then write a note back to them, responding to their message. I love this idea. I think it is a great way to keep the parents informed on what their children are doing in school and also helping the students practice their writing skills. 
     In this first grade classroom, the students seemed pretty responsible. If they had a question, they first have to go to three of their friends or a different group for help before they go to their teacher. I think this is a very good and effective rule. It teaches the students to try things on their own first and if they can't figure it out that way, then go to their friends for help; they don't have to immediately go to their teacher when they're stuck. The students are often placed in groups, teaching them to work together. The teacher placed two students in a group to work on their packets, one of a higher reading level and one of a lower reading level. This way, the students were ensured of finishing the packet. It helps the lower reader learn to follow along with the higher reader, and the higher reader is able to help teacher the lower reader. While groups are working together, the teacher will pull aside one group and meet with them individually. She goes over their packets with them and instructs them on what else they need to do and what they can do differently. When she meets with the groups individually, she meets them at their individual needs, giving them different work than other groups sometimes. Some of the students are held at higher standards and are given higher levels of readings then the others. One thing that stood out to me was the "whisper phone". This phone has a hole by the mouth and one by the ear -- it ejects the sound from their mouth back into their ear so they can hear exactly how they sound. I think this is such a cool method of learning for the students.


Monday, November 3, 2014

Blogpost 9

Based on your reflections on this week’s readings, the in-class school design project, and your thoughtful consideration of your lived experiences, what do good schools look like?  (~ 250 words). 

Good schools, to me, are places where the students can be who they want to be and aren't afraid, where they can learn to their highest abilities and the sky is the limit. A good school consists of teachers who care and are willing to go the extra mile in order to make their students want to learn and become good and thriving students. The teachers act as role models and genuinely care about teaching and do what is in the best interest of their students. The teachers will treat each student as an individual and are able to meet each and all of their needs. They know what each student is capable of, therefore they hold each student at a different standard. They will make the classroom environment enjoyable and a place where the student truly wants to learn. The teachers have their own teaching style/method that works for their class and they know how to keep the students engaged. The teachers will have a relationship with each of their students by finding common interests and getting to know their students. The students know exactly what is expected of them and will try to fulfill their responsibility to their best ability. They will always try their hardest, which is what is expected of them. The students know their boundaries; there will be consequences if they go against the rules and they know what is expected of them. The teachers are able to teach what they want and what they think is best for their students. There will be core classes, but they are able to teach it the way they please and are able to tweak it. A school should be a place where the students are free to be who they please, where they are interested in learning and becoming the best of who they are. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Blogpost 8

 "Building Bridges" to me means building a student-teacher relationship. In order to do this, the teacher must find common interests with the students and really get them to trust him or her. The students have to feel comfortable with the teacher and feel like they can go to their teacher for help no matter what. I think that it is good for the teacher to have a relationship with the students outside of just classes; find common interests with them, such as sports, music, television shows, etc. and get them to trust them. When I was in high school, I had relationships with my teachers outside of the classroom setting and I felt very comfortable with them and knew I could go to them for help. I wasn't shy in asking for help because I knew that they were always willing to help me succeed. I also went on a trip to Italy with three of my teachers and 15 other students, which helped make my relationship grow with them. I really enjoyed getting to know them outside of the classroom where they didn't serve as just our teachers. It was interesting to see how they acted differently out of the classroom setting. 
     The teacher must make it known to the students that they are here to teach them and help them grow as students, that they only want the best for them and that they are willing to do whatever it takes to help them succeed. Yes, they will push you and set up many obstacles, but once you overcome those obstacles and know you can do it, you will feel much better about yourself knowing that you can do it. A teacher, you can think of, is like a coach for education. Your coaches will push you and help you become a better play, just like your teacher helps you become a better and well-rounded student. Bill Ayers gives us a few examples of what it means to "build bridges". One example, is giving the students a challenge to actually build a bridge for their class pet, a turtle. The students all work together in building a bridge for this turtle and the teacher is there for support and to help them when need be. The other example was the adult literacy class. This class empowered the adult students to change the community they live in to better their lives and the lives of others in the community. They all worked together to make this possible, just like the students did in the turtle example. The pattern, by making small changes in ourselves to benefit the class as a whole, motivates everyone to work for the common goal. It is essentially teamwork. As simple as that may sound, it is not. They all have to work together and bond in order to make something possible, which in both of the examples, they did. Just because there are more people working together doesn't mean that it will be easier to accomplish the goal. Working with other people can sometimes be very hard and frustrating. You all have to agree on what to do, but everyone has a different opinion. It is very hard to work in groups sometimes, but that is just a part of learning.