Thursday, August 23, 2012

First Week of School

This week  has been very exciting for me! It's the first week of school and my first week as a student teacher as well. I'm teaching 2 periods of biology with my cooperating teacher and 1 period of ELD with an English teacher. So far, this week has been awesome! The teachers and students have all been very courteous so far, and I've been really enjoying myself. My days are flying by very quickly, and I'm always exhausted at the end of the day. However, I absolutely love it so far.

Monday: My first day as a student teacher. My bio classes have 40-45 students each! I hope they open up a new bio section soon. I'm tripping over myself trying to circulate the room, and remembering everyone's name is a real challenge! Everyone was very well-behaved, but I've been warned that might change after week 3. Today was pretty simple. We went over the syllabus (briefly), broke the students into their lab groups, and had them work on a cool problem-solving activity (about polar bears, fish, and dice).

Tuesday: We went over lab safety today. I told the students they could not use the fire extinguisher...except if I was on fire. They have permission to save my life! Using humor in the classroom is key to get everyone to pay attention. Students took a quiz on lab safety and had to pass by getting 20/25 questions correct. Students who didn't pass the first time simply re-took the quiz after we went over the answers. Only 2-4 students per period had to re-take the quiz. Everyone passed the 2nd time.

Wednesday: We finally started getting into material today. It takes awhile to reach this point, simply because students need to be instructed very clearly with simple, broken-down instructions. We spent time going over our expectations, how to set up their spiral notebooks, how to take notes, and how to study. Especially since these students are freshmen, they need to be taught these important tools. In addition, they will use them for the rest of their lives. Never assume your students know how to do something! Anyway, we started going over their vocabulary for unit 1 on the scientific method. I showed them how to make their modified flash cards, how to be resourceful in finding definitions, and how to come up with a definition in their own words. They also were instructed to include an example, a picture, or a sentence with their definition. After modeling the first two, relying heavily on class participation, they broke up into groups to collaborate on the rest of the definitions. Anything they couldn't finish in class was assigned for homework. I love teaching them in groups! Much more productive and a great way to get to know each student personally.

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