Teachers Are Responsible For Managing and Monitoring Student Learning

When I was reading the pages of “What Teachers Should Know & Be Able To Do” I could really relate to what it was saying because today I taught a lesson with groups that took quite a bit of monitoring. Today’s lesson was building an aquifer. I thought that it was a great way to get students up and active while also showing them first hand something we do not get to see every day. At the beginning of the lesson I planned a question and answer session with the students to jog their memory on aquifers and what was done the day before. For a lot of the questions I just planned to speed through (my thoughts were they would have retained a lot of the information from the day before), but it took much longer than that. I had them talk about some questions with their table groups. The hardest part of the lesson to plan managing for was when certain groups were up at the lab table making their aquifer and other groups were sitting either waiting to make theirs or having just made it. When I planned the lesson I did not have that portion of time in mind. I quickly found out this was a mistake. I should have had some sort of activity for the students to do while they were waiting in that down time. For the remainder of the lessons that day I had the students draw a model of the aquifer that they were building. This helped the students stay focused on the task at hand. Once they were involved in the activity (pouring water into their aquifer as rain and see what happens down below) I walked around to each group to have them explain to me exactly what they thought was happening. I would usually leave each table with a question for them to talk about as a table. At the end of the lesson we had a group discussion on what they thought (they also had some reflection questions to answer individually and with their table) was happening in their model. Their final task was an exit slip which brought in some higher order thinking. They had to come up with a higher order question that they still had about aquifers. I got many of my ideas from observing my current coordinating teacher. She does a very good job of managing her students in groups and making sure learning is constantly happening. She often asks them a question, has them talk about it with their table for about 30-60 seconds and then brings them whole group again and they discuss. I think this is a great way for students that may not know the answer or be slower processors to think about the question and to get some ideas from their peers. One thing I enjoyed about the reading was the thoughts on lesson planning. Even if your plans are something scribbled on a sticky note or long and detailed (which mine will HAVE to be) you need to have clear and articulate goals for your students EVERY DAY.

Teachers Know The Subject They Teach and How To Teach Those Subjects To Students

In the next few days I will be collaborating with my coordinating teacher to teach a lesson on Oceans. The exact lesson has not been decided because of the snow days and delays that have occured. She is not sure if they will have even started oceans by the time I teach. This is the life of a teacher though. For the sake of this post we will say that I am definitely teaching on oceans, because that is what I have started planning. Specifically I will be teaching on the zones of the hydrosphere. Most of these students have been to the ocean at least once in their lives, but they are not very certain what lies beneath. To them the ocean is this mystery of fish, sharks, salt and sand. I think one thing that is very important to discuss when teaching oceans is that there is so much out there that we have not yet discovered. I am going to start the lesson off with a “think tank” question on what kind of animals they think live in the deepest and darkest parts of the waters. With this question they will have time to think it over for themselves and write what they think in their lab journals. After they have written something down they will discuss with their table about animals that live in the darkest parts of the ocean. We will then come together as a class and one person from each table will be asked to share what the table talked about. We will then come up with a general “rule” or “idea” of something we all agree on. I think that this question will get them wondering, first, what is down there biologically, and second, what is down there geographically. This content will be important to them, because some time in their lifetime more things could be discovered that we did not already know. I will then go into the different zones of the hydrosphere. We will discover together different animals that live in each of the zones. We will discuss why each of these animals decides to make it’s habitat there. If time permits then we can watch a video on one certain zone that we have questions about. Before they leave for the end of class I want them to get out a piece of paper and write one thing they learned, two things they are confused about, and one thing they want to learn about oceans or the animals living there. This will bring in their higher order of thinking. Each student may have learned something different through out the lesson and every student may be confused on a different aspect. By reviewing these papers I, then, have a chance to see how each of them is taking in the knowledge that I am putting out there. Hopefully by talking about animals in the ocean at the beginning of class we will trump some of those misconceptions about animals in the deep abyss. The biggest thing I want to convey to the students, like I said earlier, is that there is so much out there that we are still curious about in the ocean.

this journey has been a roller coaster

so four weeks ago i wrote a post about how scared i was that this program was not going to work out. my fears were then realized when Samford told me it was not going to be possible to work for NICS schools while still in school. i may sound dramatic, but i felt that my dreams had been ripped out from under me. how could God let this happen? i thought this is what he wanted me to do. why then was this getting to be so difficult?

these were my thoughts for the whole next week. i was scared and i felt alone in the process. the one thing that got me through the week was that all of this is God’s plan. if this is what He wants then this is how it will be. Samford left me with very little hope, but there was still hope.

Thursday 19 February 2015

this is a day that i will never forget. i came out of clinicals that day with numerous missed phone calls and emails from a supervisor at Samford. my first thoughts were that she wanted me to call her because you aren’t supossed to tell bad news over the phone. once i got hold of her i realized this was not the case at all. she simply wanted to tell me in person that all of our hard work had paid off. the Alabama State Department of Education approved me for my full 15 weeks in a NICS school. i was so ecstatic i just broke down in tears in my car. how amazing is it that God is giving me this opportunity to now interview for this job. the reason i was so upset when this opportunity was taken away was because i was not turned away because i was not the right one for the job, or because i didnt have the qualification, or because they just didn’t like me. NO. i was not even being given a chance. now i was being given that chance. i had a chance to prove to Highlands International School (HIS) in La Paz, Bolivia that they should take a chance on me and hire me.

Tuesday 24 February 2015

this is another day i will never forget. this is the day that i not only had a second interview with the school in Bolivia but the day the director offered me the job as full time science teacher at HIS. i will say that all of this has still not fully sunk in. i am overjoyed at the fact that all of this is working out for me. i am thankful for the school in Bolivia for believing in me. i have put my fullĀ trustĀ in the Lord in all of this. i do not think that anyone else but the Lord could have put this on my heart for this long and with this much intensity. i want to say i am ready for this job. i want to say that i am so prepared i could just go out in the field right now. that is 100% not true. i am not prepared, i am not ready, i am ready and prepared to put all of that on God though.