Sunday, December 7, 2008

Title I at Glen Alpine Elementary: 5th Grade

On my last visit to Glen Alpine Elementary, I followed a few of the students after lunch to their Title I class. All the students that worked together were in the fifth grade, and there is five students in the class I observed. The students work on reading sentences and paragraphs, and writing in cursive. The students go to Title I every day except Tuesdays. I went to the lesson with a girl from my class named Kayla. She told me that she really likes going to Title I because it help her to better in all her other classes. She also talked about how she liked how there were only five students and one teacher, and she thought it was better and that she learned more in Title I then in her large, regular class. Another student in the class where I did my practicum was in the Title I program last year, but wasn't invited to it this year. I was told by the other students in Title I that he wasn't aloud back into it because he didn't get enough work done while in Title I. I was a little concerned at what the student was given or put into in place of the Title I program. Obviously there was a reason this student was in the program, and he didn't leave the program because he was caught up to grade level. This particular child was pegged as a problem child, and I have to admit that I didn't view him as that large of a behavioral problem. He asked a lot of questions that seemed a little excessive, but he seemed like he wanted to know why he was doing what he was doing all the time. It seemed that when he asked a question he was regarded as a problem because he didn't listen rather than a student. I really enjoyed my time spend in the Title I program because it allowed me to see the extra help that some of the students needed and were getting. My concentration area is in English, and so Title I programs are something that I am very interested in. I possibly may get my masters in something related to reading. I could definitely see myself being a reading specialist, and this experience really gave me a much better view of what type of skills you need to do this type of job.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Classroom Management Ideas from My Glen Alpine 5th Grade Classroom

I really enjoyed my time in Mrs. Revilla's fifth grade classroom at Glen Alpine Elementary. I had a lot of fun with the students, and I learned more than I thought through teaching, helping, and observing. When I first got to the school, I wasn't sure how I felt about the teacher that I was placed with, but as I got to know her things got a lot better. Mrs. Revilla is an amazing teacher, and I think our first day was probably not the best behavioral day for the class. An idea I learned about for classroom management has to deal with daily behavior and walking laps. Around the outside playground area there is a track. Each day, each fifth grade class starts out with eight laps. If they behave well during transitions and certain parts during the day, then they can erase a lap. The students have eight chances to remove a lap, so if they behave then they will have their full recess time to play. If they don't behave, then they may have to walk laps around the track before getting to play. This type of classroom management worked pretty well. Students were able to line themselves up and stay quiet, most of the time. It seemed that the students made a clear, conscious effort to transition smoothly and quickly. When it was time to switch for math class from reading class, all the students put away their reading books and got out their math supplies and lined up in the hallway waiting to enter Mrs. Osborne's classroom. Some days the students were too excited, and the most laps I ever saw them walk in one day was four. I would definitely consider this type of classroom management if it was evident that it would have an effect on my class. Each group of students is different, and I think that I may have to use different classroom management techniques depending on the likes and dislikes of the current class. Another form of classroom management that the teachers use is signing the students planners. Every day the students write in their homework and important information into their planners. If a student gets in trouble, then the teacher will sign their planner and give he/she an extra lap to walk at recess. The parents have to look at the planner every night, and if your planner gets signed during the day, then your parents have to also sign that they read why you go in trouble. I do like the idea of signing the student's planner and writing what the student did wrong so that the parents can be informed. Sometimes I felt as though the teachers were a little harsh with their planner signing though. It seemed that if the teacher was in a poor mood that certain students were almost watched until they did something wrong. I'm really glad that I saw this type of behavior from a teacher who overall I respect because it makes me realize how hard it must be to control your subconsciousness. I want to be making a conscious effort to be fair to all my students even if they rub me the wrong way sometimes. I also realize that when I am in a bad mood in the classroom, I need to try and let some things roll off my shoulder. Teachers are human and bound to over-react sometimes. As a teacher, I will need to try my hardest to leave my personal baggage at the door because it isn't beneficial to my future students. I've done a lot of researching on many different types of classroom management ideas, and I think that classroom management is the key to a productive classroom. If the students are in order and managed, then as a whole we will be able to accomplish more in the time we are given. A well-behaved classroom can also participate in more hands-on activities, which I think can truly make a difference in a student's comprehension level. A few websites with classroom management ideas are listed below:

ProTeacher's Classroom Management
The Really Big List of Classroom Management Resources
The Teacher's Corner - Classroom Management
SMARTeacher - Classroom Management: Elementary