GRR. I meant to post this so long ago.. well. about 4 weeks actually when I was ACTUALLY doing my full control. The last leg of this trip has flown by and now here it is 7 days until I fly out… My last day at Frimley was on Friday so I have the week to get myself organized (or ‘organised’ as they spell it here) with laundry and job applications…. but also of course blog updates. I just wanted to give you a little taste of what my time as teacher in Room 8 was like- way back when.
The kids were great and my host teacher Adrienne was super supportive so it was overall really fun. It was almost like team teaching. I also would use her methods of classroom management already in place- like marbles in the jar for good behaviors and her “Apple Tree” where each children has their own apple and have to move themself down if they don’t follow the classroom rules after warnings.
(Once at the bottom of the tree, they had to write/draw a problem solving “what did I do” and “what should I have done” sheet…. but the whole thing reminded me a little bit of saying that kid is a “rotten apple” or “bad seed….” I don’t know… Anyways.)
The kids would start the day with story writing, which could be about thier weekend, something we’d done in class recently, etc. At this age we were just hoping to get them writing, and we’d go around monitoring
and providing more support to those who need it.
After the brain break we’d get into our reading groups, but with Adrienne and I splitting them it was seamless to rotate through them al in the 45 minutes and hear them all read. Here, Adrienne tries to hear each of her reading groups read everyday, which seems overwhelming for me as a new teacher. I would be happy if I heard them twice/three times a week.
After reading was morning tea. I’m glad to say there was never a photograph taken of me in the lovely duty outfit, which consists of a neon yellow vest (and in Term 1/4 a floppy bucket hat!)
We went on to maths- again with Adrienne splitting the math groups with me so we’d get to work with all levels. Blake is trying to decide if he really needs to learn how to tell time. I’m doing my best to convince him.
The neat part was that I got to plan and teach the whole math unit on time and temperature. The kids loved the clocks we’d made and would frequently interrupt our lessons or activities to tell me what time it was. “Look Miss H! It’s 11:00!” (Maybe not quite grasping that it was something that happened everyday?)
Handwriting was something very new to me having to teach, but I got the hang of it.
After they do their date and goal (size or shape or ligatures, etc) and whatever letter we’re working on, the teacher goes around marks their best one with gold highlighters (yellow) and ones they need to improve with pink. (it’s pink to “think about it”) It’s a system theh whole school is using for formative assessment and it works well. I think it especially works well with the young ones, who can’t read any real comments you’d write anyways but know if something’s pink they have room to improve. Of course, conversley, the “pink for think” marking I’d sometimes see has the same connotation as getting a paper back with red pen all over it, and instead of being looked at as a growing tool or something is now a dreaded form of assessment by some kids.
After lunch, I’d initiated a read-aloud of a chapter of a novel every day and had choose Charlotte’s Web- mainly because Heidi already had it.
On certain days the kids would be antsy and restless but overall they enjoyed the readings, and it was something I continued to do even after my full control was up. It was also great because when we’d go to the library for them to check out books, some would start choosing short novels, and said they wanted their parent to read a chapter to them everynight. (Caleb was raising his hand at that point to tell me what day is was in England. We’re still working on ‘relevant connections.’)
Another new thing for me to teach was phys ed, as I was used to schools that have their own pe teacher. The unit for the term is decided by the team, and ours was ball skills. At this age, the kids are only taught the skills to play certain games later, so I was for bounce passing and kicking. We’d go out to the cement basketball courts to use the lines already in place, and I’d have my whistle around my neck.
PE time could also be very hectic if you didn’t have it strictly organized— which I’d learned the hard way a few times with children and balls going in everywhich way. From then on, I was strict.
Finally, I’d had blast planning and teaching the Sir Edmund Hillary unit that whole school happened to be doing during my time in control.
I promise we had the last column completley filled out at the end, and I never knew so much about Sir Ed as I do now, but the kids really enjoyed the unit and what they would remember and take away from simple stories was really interesting to see. Also, the facts that are just assumed were also interesting- when we learned that Sir Ed put three flags in the snow, it was assumed that one was a New Zealand flag. Of course, being a commonwealth for Great Britian at the time, there wasn’t. The neat thing that I enjoyed was that this one topic could be dealt with at deeper levels all across the school.
Then, we also had Sir Ed Day Challenge, where each class would do something of thier own decision- we had children do relay races with a backpack about half the weight of what he carried, and some other classses had thier children drag tires, try and breathe through straws, etc. It was a really fun day to be a a part of.
Overall I had a great time in Room 8! It’s funny if you think that my presence in that class probably won’t be as memorable as their presence will be to mine, but it was still worth it. We had an amazing experience together
and some fun along the way!