Alex has a learning disability – I’m not exactly sure what it is but he has a personal aid in the classroom. This aid is only there for two hours at the beginning of the day and then Alex is on his own.
After she leaves Alex gets visibly different – he is less focused and disrupts his classmates more. This past week, during one student’s computer time, Alex kept going up to the monitor and turning it off. Then eventually he just put his hand on it and never let it go so the girl on the computer started to ask him to move his hand. Alex wouldn’t. So I went over and said, “Alex, Grace is using her words and asking you to stop, did you hear her?” No response. Then I said, “Alex you need to listen to her and take your hand of the monitor. Lets go together and find another lesson to do.” Nothing. Then a teacher came over and physically moved Alex by pulling his hand down and then picking him up and moving him to the other side of the classroom. While this was clearly effective, it is not the first thing I would think to do – in fact it was probably the last.
When is it okay to physically move students from doing something? I always thought that physicality was reserved for dangerous situations. Does this change when a student can’t process words? By moving them are we demonstrating that communication doesn’t work?
While the students have “free lesson time” they can chose to do their lesson at a table or on the big carpet in the middle of the classroom. If they do the lesson in the middle of the classroom, they have to grab a small individual carpet to put their lesson on – so the pieces of the lesson don’t get lost.
This past week, two boys, the oldest two in the class at 6yrs, were doing a puzzle on the rug without a personal rug for the lesson. I asked them, “what do you need it you are doing a lesson on the big rug?” one of the boys responded, “We don’t need a personal rug for puzzles.” I said, “Alright, good to know, thank you.” Later, I saw a different student doing a puzzle and using a personal rug.
This made me feel really awkward and unsure of my place in the classroom. The student was probably just being over cautious and didn’t in fact need a personal rug – but it got me to thinking – how can we, as visiting teachers, truly discipline without being aware and knowing all of the rules? I was able to clarify with the teacher about the policy on personal rugs – she said it depends on the puzzle.
I have mentioned this student before in passing but I thought it would be worthwhile (mostly for myself) to devote an entire field post to her.
Samantha is the most adorable Chinese 4 year old. Her parents moved here right before she was born. From the beginning of my placement, in January, she has been kind of a pet=project of mine, a student who I always try to work with because she is more quiet and doesn’t seem to socially click with the other students. She slowly started to open up to me and we would have small conversations while working on lessons together.
A few weeks ago during a full class circle, the teacher made the announcement that Samantha would be moving back to China at the end of the school year. I spoke to the teachers privately afterward and found out that Samantha’s parents were getting worried that Samantha was beginning to like the United States too much – or at least they were worried she wouldn’t want to live in China and would never visit family in China so they were going to move back as a family.
After that, Samantha has started to talk with me a lot less. It is also very interesting because on Monday her English is very choppy and almost impossible to understand, comparatively, on Wednesday it gets bit better and she can understand sentences. I think it has to do with her family speaking Chinese at home over the weekend – so she gets more accustomed to it over the weekend – maybe she has fallen back into a pattern by Wednesday?
Last Friday at my field placement, it was Grandparents' Day at the elementary school. All of the children in the school's grandparents were welcome to come to school with their grandchildren on this day, and they followed along with the students during their lessons in the morning. Most grandparents then took their grandchildren out for lunch, and spent the afternoon with them outside of school. Because of this, the lesson plan for the day was changed from what it normally is, and after lunch, there were only about five of the fifteen students left in the classroom.
Although it wasn't a normal school day, I still made a lot of interesting observations this day, especially in terms of class--although I encounter a good bit of diversity at my Friends school placement, it is still interesting to me that every single student's grandparents in my placement class were able and willing to take time out of their day to spend time with their grandchild. Would this have been different in a public school setting a mere few blocks away from this center city school? Probably. In a less affluent school setting, it might be considered presumptuous to assume every grandparent is able to take time out of their day to spend time with their grandchild at school, and them take them out of school for the afternoon--perhaps the grandparent has to work, or has other commitments; perhaps they are not retired at as early of an age as some more affluent people in the Philadelphia area. These are important things to consider.
I have attached the curriculem I created, with an introduction to this project.
One of the hazards of teaching science outside of a classroom setting is that there's no way for students learning on their own to access all the traditional experiments and visualization tactics available in schools. Blended learning provides alternate methods for delivering those simulations and visuals to students working independently and hoping to further their studies outside of the classroom.
Step is the KDE Education Project's interactive physical simulator. The Step Handbook explains that the simulator works by allowing users to place defined bodies in the simulator and then apply forces. Users can alter the parameters of the bodies and forces to see how they respond to the laws of physics. The tutorials include bodies and springs, motors and forces, and joints. Because the simulator requires a fairly complex understanding of the rules involved, it is better suited to use by educators and higher-level students.
Math is a difficult subject to learn without guidance, and those who attempt to learn new mathematical concepts or reinforce what they learned in the classroom are often left to struggle. Complete modules like Washington State University Math Lessons and Calculus on the Web provide tutorials which help teach and practice math tutorials to both new learners and those wishing to refresh their knowledge.
Washington State University Math Lessons are a series of applied math tutorials. While the scope of the tutorials is somewhat limited, they address some interesting applied topics such as the math behind voting, fair division of assets, and understanding graphs with regard to supply and demand issues. The site also provides snippets about the history of math and an important female mathematician.
Hi everyone, please download the following files for my curriculum and my rationale.
Here is a link to the Prezi for my Inquiry Project.
Here is a link to the Prezi for my Inquiry Project.