Vegas 2012

Vegas 2012
Standing in The Paris. My favorite hotel!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Ta Da! 10/3/11

 This week in class has been very eventful! I feel like I just keep learning and learning, and learning some more. I have really grown to love the kids in my class, and I am starting to already feel heartbreak towards having to leave in the next few months. I wish that we were able to do all of our student teaching in the same class, or at least the same school. I have been talking with Karen, and I think that I am going to try and make it work this spring to be able to attend outdoor school with her class.
            This week is the first time that I actually disagreed with something that Karen has done within her classroom. Friday Karen taught her class how to do a mathematical word problem, and the steps required to do them. She walked her class through a very difficult word problem, step by step, and then proceeded to have her class complete a word problem individually. There were SEVERAL students within her class that were unable to grasp and complete the word problem individually. It was very stressful for many students; there was a fair amount of tears as well. Karen refused to let me give to much aid to students, I wasn’t allowed to help them, just simply point them in the right direction. On top of that, students that had already been talked too, were not allowed to receive any more direction. I did not find this method very fair. Considering that there were so many students within the class that still didn’t understand the concept, I would have stopped the class, and gone over (AGAIN) the mathematical word problem, step by step. Karen just kept going, and whatever they didn’t get done, they had to finish at home. Since there are so many students within her class that are English language learners, I think that going over the process one more time (during re-teach time) would be severely beneficial for her students success.
            I was able to teach a lot this week. Several times I was even in the classroom by myself, as Karen had errands to run around the school (briefly). I taught re-teach math fractions, I got to read aloud to the class, I was able to teach a vocabulary lesson, and run a vocabulary game. I am really enjoying my time in Karen’s class. I am having a hard time stepping up to teach her class, and she likes to give me a hard time about it. I’m not quite sure why this is. I don’t have a problem teaching, and I’m not afraid to do it, I just think she is such a big personality within her classroom, it makes me nervous to take her “place”. Maybe I’m just over thinking things, and I should just jump in with both feet. I sometimes get a little jealous of my peers who have been able to run their classrooms all day. Sixth grade is a big grade to teach, it’s not as simple as first grade; we do SO much within the day.
            I was able to see how Karen implements art within her classroom. I know that there is so much required of teachers to implement within their classroom, and rarely do students at the elementary level get exposure to art and poetry. Karen makes a point to do at least one art project a month, as well as one poetry study a month. I really find this commendable. There are many students within Karen’s class that are very artistically inclined, and I think that it’s great that she works hard at making sure she allows these students to express themselves within her classroom as well. I’m really excited to see how their art projects turn out.
            Lastly, next Thursday, at 2:45 I get to sit in on my first IEP meeting. I’m really excited for this. I feel like I am (and have been) getting a lot of exposure within Karen’s class that many people probably will not, and I feel really honored/blessed. I have no idea what to expect at this meeting, but I am looking forward to it, and to learning a lot. 

Conference weekend, is my most favorite kind of weekend. Daniel and I spent a lot of time in pajamas on the couch, doing NOTHING! It was awesome! Plus, all of the talks were amazing, and I have felt amazingly spiritually fed. (If that even makes any sense.) 
This weekend, was also great because Daniel and I got to spend it painting pottery, and hanging out with family. We went to the Cerami-Cafe. We both painted mugs, and it took forever! Turns out, painting pottery is not as relaxing for Daniel and I as it may be for some. Hopefully our mugs will turn out really awesome, we'll find out on Wednesday. As for spending time with family, I got to go to lunch with my cousin's Jessica ad Sarah, and then hang out with Brian and Jessica last night. I discovered last night that I thoroughly enjoy spending time with my Aunt Sue, she is so amazing, and hilarious, and cute. Daniel and I had a lot of fun playing games and just hanging out. 
This week... Daniel and I have no big plans, we are still waiting to hear from Dental schools, the delay is killing Daniel. He's feeling pretty good about his chances of getting in to OHSU... Hopefully, he's right. I miss my house! Having the Holidays come around makes me sad, I miss being able to decorate and bake. But I'm pretty sure that even if I was in my house, I wouldn't have time to do these things. 
I'm glad that it is that time of year, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas... I LOVE the holidays. Hopefully this year will be great! Also, I can't believe that we're in October... Where has the time gone?!

Monday 9/25/11

          This week was crazy. Thursday was a REALLY long day. We had our back to school night at 6 – so overall it was a 12-hour day. Courtney and I were talking about that new movie “I Don’t Know How She Does It” about the executive business mom, who manages to successfully do it all. The movie should really be about a teacher. Even on regular days teachers have mounds of homework to grade, lessons to plan, meetings to attend, work for a teacher NEVER stops!
            I have been to many back to school nights, but never to one that is so formal. Most of the back to school nights I have been to usually involve a bouncy house, pizza, ice cream, as well as visiting each teacher in their classroom. For McKinney’s back to school night, we had an opening assembly, and then 2 sessions for parents to meet with their student(s) teachers. In each session, the teachers presented a power point presentation to parents informing them about what would be taking place that year in their child’s grade. It was really exciting to be able to see and participate in back to school night. Courtney and I were introduced to the parents in the assembly, as well as introduced to the parents within our classrooms. I was able to meet, and talk with some really interesting parents, and learn more about their students.
            Things that really stood out to me this week: Mrs. Lawson’s honesty. She doesn’t sugar coat things, tell kids what they want to hear, she really talks to them like adults, and gives it to them straight. Example: One little girl Sammi has been very passive-aggressive, and refusing to do her homework. Her teacher, Mr. Cumpston, has had a difficult time getting her to turn her homework in, or to even care about her homework. Both Mr. Cumpston and Mrs. Lawson sat Sammi down and had a discussion with her about her lack of responsibility. Karen informed her that if she did not begin doing her homework, that her grade would drop, she would not be able to participate in fun Friday, and that ultimately she would not be able to go to outdoor school. Karen made it clear that she would not keep Sammi in for recess, or punish her, her only punishment would be that of her own doing. It was really interesting to listen to Mrs. Lawson and Mr. Cumpston talk to Sammi, many tears were shed on her part, but no pity was doled out by either teacher.
            I participated in my first one teach one observe lesson. It was a little nerve racking, it also didn’t help that I was new at working the SMART board, and that one of the kids had to get up and help me. Talk about embarrassing! I was able to go through and help the students correct their math homework, as well as run their vocabulary/hang man game later that afternoon. One thing I’m not 100% sure about is the surround sound system in the classroom…. I don’t think I am a fan of having to hear my own voice, and many of the classrooms that I have volunteered in have not had this speaker component. Other than the speaker, everything went great. Karen was very helpful, and patient.
            I really enjoyed this week; it was really a lot of fun. I was also able to pick up the lesson plans/materials for my WS… I’m pretty excited to be teaching science, and a little nervous at the same time.

Daniel started school again this week. I am really thankful! (I know that sounds silly.) I'm just glad that he will have homework now too,  and that my guilt of "abandoning" him will lessen. Saturday night Daniel got really sick, thankfully it didn't last too long, but it was sad to see him sick, since it happens so little. It's also really funny when he's sick because he's SUCH a BIG baby! I'm excited for next week. Jessica and Brian are coming in to town, and I'm really excited to see them.