Archive | March, 2013

Recess Dilemma

15 Mar

Hope everything is well Section 20! I am having a blast at my school and the kids are great, but I do have a bit of a dilemma that I would love your imput on.

As you know if you have read my blogs or talked to me in class, I am doing a grade five unit on treaties in social studies for my three-week block. For one of my first lessons, the activity was to make our own classroom treaty. The students together as a class had to come up with three rules they would have to follow for the remainder of the unit. They thought of great ones that involve respecting others and working together in class. The other part of the treaty was to think of a reward and a consequence to go along with the rules. They all agreed on having a classroom pizza party if they followed the rules for the next three weeks. Then came the consequences. There was a variety of suggestions but what they settled on was taking away recess minutes when they did not follow the rules.

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Photo Credit: gunnisal via Compfight cc

Now I know what you are going to say. “How dare you take away those children’s recess minutes! They NEED those!” I totally agree; there are students in our class that cannot concentrate without those fifteen minutes of fresh air and play. But I wanted to make this treaty as a class with everyone in agreement, and this is what they agreed on.  Was I supposed to tell them their decision was wrong? I just hoped they wouldn’t misbehave so that I wouldn’t have to use it.

So the next day they as a class were not being respectful. I told them that as stated in the treaty, they owed me one minute of their recess. They all complained but agreed it was fair because of our classroom agreement. They sat silently for the one minute and then ran outside to enjoy their fourteen remaining minutes of recess. I felt terrible, but the next day there was a big improvement on the respect scale. Was it really that bad that I took away one minute of recess since we decided on it as a class? Let me know your opinions and what I could do differently next time.

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It is Great to Be Back!

13 Mar

WOW! I feel like I have so much to say! These last few days, although they have flew past, have been so jam-packed with information that I feel like it has been a century since I have seen everyone! I hope that everyone’s three-week block is going well and that you are overcoming any challenges you may be facing.

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Photo Credit: SwEeTcHy via Compfight cc

First off, I want to say my day was made both yesterday and today by some amazing kids. Yesterday, the first child to walk into our classroom got wide-eyed and sprinted over to me and my teaching partner to give us huge hugs! Seeing that we are in a grade five classroom, this means a lot! Today my day also got made when I received a note from a student that stated how happy she was when she saw me and that I was the best teacher ever! She also included a candy heart in the note she had received as a prize as a present to me. It definitely put a smile on my face!

There have, however, been some challenges the last few days. Our cooperating teacher refers to our class as “a great learning experience” based on their need to talk, walk and throw things every two seconds. They are an amazing group of kids that have an amazing amount of energy! Some of these students feel that because they haven’t seen us in three months, they need to show off this amazing amount of energy while we or our co-op is teaching. It gets frustrating because as soon as one student gets off topic, the rest are soon to follow. This makes teaching a lesson very difficult. My co-op told me and my teaching partner that we need to be super strict at first and then ease off towards the end. It is so hard though when the students who are acting up the most are the students that I feel need the most attention!

That was the first day. Then came today. The students were acting up all morning, some more than others. When one student continuously tried to pick a fight with my co-op, she looked at him and said, “I will not argue with you because I like you. I do not fight with people I like.” The student looked confused at first but it really worked! I think all he wants is to feel important and wanted in the class. By the afternoon when I taught, the kids were FANTASTIC! They all loved creating their own classroom treaty. If they follow the rules, a pizza party is soon to follow! The student who was misbehaving all morning was even my top participator! I thanked him at the end of the class and told him that I would love to see him work as great as he did this class in every class. That put a smile on his face!

I have a feeling that this will be the start to a great three weeks 🙂 If you have any suggestions of some great classroom management strategies that work to get and keep the attention of your students in your class, let me know in the comments below!

Three Week Block

3 Mar

I am both quite excited and quite nervous to go back to the school I am pre interning at for my three week block. I have been working extremely hard on planning my unit for my grade five students on treaties and their relationship to the Canadian government. I was thrilled to get this topic as I am passionate about including Aboriginal content in schools, however this unit did not come without its difficulties. Even though I have been trained to teach treaties in the classroom last semester, I still felt that I had to teach myself a lot of this information because I was never taught it in school. This makes it very hard for me to teach it to my students. That is why I have been doing a lot of background research to try to get the best grasp on the topic as I can. This is one reason I have been nervous to teach.

The second reason why I have been nervous to teach is because of the topic content. There is so much to cover in such a small indicator. The information is so important and I do not want the overload of information to make my unit boring for the students. This is why I tried to include going outside or being active as best as I could in this unit. For my first lesson, the students get an introduction to the topic of how treaty land is sacred by going outside for a lesson. In other lessons I have tried to include getting up and walking to centres or stopping lectures for an interactive brain break. I hope that these little tricks will be effective in keeping the student’s attention.

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I feel that a lot of teachers feel that physical education has to be done strictly in the gymnasium. This is not true at all. We can keep out students active in all subjects and still teach what we want to teach. My lessons above are just one example. What are some ways that you are keeping your students active in the units you have planned for three week block?