My case study is still going really well. My student has decided that we need to “up” his sticker goal for the week to make it a little harder for him to achieve his goal. Last week he was able to achieve the new goal we set, therefore on Monday he will get to spend time reading any book he wants during the time when he usually has to read from certain books his teacher chooses from him. He seems really excited every time he meets his goal, and although he still needs reminders to stay on task, his behavior is much better in general. I would no longer consider him a problem in our classroom. I’m so excited to see something I do in the classroom working!
I decided to read this article because I have a student in my classroom now with autism. I have felt the need to make him feel more accepted and more included, because many of the students don’t really understand or know what autism is and why he acts differently and needs more things than they do. After reading this article I realized that it’s important to really think about lots of different aspects of of my classroom in preparing it for a child with autism. Making sure the scheduling works well with certain times possibly being necessary for the child to be pulled out of the classroom is something I had never really thought about before but is really important. I also realized that many physical aspects of the classroom environment can have a big impact on a child with autism and how they learn. One of the biggest ideas I gained from this article, though, was to have a very open and trusting environment where the other students feel like they know why the child is different. Other students in the class need to be taught how to relate to the child with autism instead of being confused and wondering why the child seems “weird.” I found this article interesting and also very helpful.
My project is going well! I implemented a sticker chart with my Case Study student. We set up expectations and goals together. This is the 3rd week of using the chart and it really is working. He’s met his goal for the past two weeks in a row, so I’d say that’s success. He’s being rewarded by spending his time doing things he really enjoys during school each week that he meets his sticker goal. If he continues to meet his goal consistently for one month, then he gets an even bigger reward. I’m really hoping it will keep working. Although it is working, I still feel that his behavior is not completely where it needs to be for 3rd grade. I think that at first, it was important to have really positive comments to him. I was really looking for him doing the right thing at ALL. Now I think I need to step up the expectations a little. I am still having to remind him of what he should be doing numerous times throughout the day. Although it is SO much better than it used to be, there is still room for improvement. This will be what I work on for the rest of the year with him.
This week FLEW by! Having some warm weather helped so much. It was really fun to go outside and play with my kids and actually not be cold.
This week we’re starting a new unit on Graphs and Tables in Math. I’m finding it really interesting to see which kids remember stuff from 1st grade and which kids are completely lost. I’m also having lots of frustrations with this math curriculum. Some of the lessons seem very out of order, and I can tell it’s making it harder for the kids to grasp the new concepts. I’m finding out how hard it can be to start a new curriculum where you don’t really know what you’re doing other than following what it says to do. It’s easy for me to follow it because I don’t know anything other tahn this way of teaching, but I can see how it’d be really hard to do what this curriculum says to do if I were a teacher of many years with my own research and methods for teaching math. It seems like you have to find a balance between your own views and beliefs and what the curriculum and the district tells you to do. It’s a tough one that I am still trying to get my head around.
Other than that all is well. I’m looking forward to a few days off next week, but I’m getting very sad to think that our time with these precious children is almost over. I better stop typing before I tear up….
This was a busy week with SO much going on. I felt like the stress of a real teacher life hit me pretty hard. I guess before now I’ve been teaching half the day, planning some in the middle, and having time to grade papers during the school day. Since I was teaching all day this week, I realized how big of a difference it makes when you don’t have little blocks of time during the day to plan for the rest of the day or grade homework and tests. I found myself staying until 7:00 almost every day last week just to get ready for the next day. Then I’d go home and do lesson plans for the next week until it was time for bed. I think I need to figure out a way to get things done faster, because although I love teaching and I adore my kids, I need a life apart from it too. It worked out okay this week since it was UNC’s Spring Break so most people were gone which took away all distractions, but it would be hard to keep that life up this week when all of my friends are back. I guess what I’m saying is that I need to find a balance between school work and having some sort of life outside of it. I just want to do everything for my kids and make my lessons really good, and it’s taking up a lot of time!!!
I feel like every week that I post my reflection, I want to start it off with “This was a great week at Grady Brown!” I resisted this time, because I think I have said it at the beginning of almost every post so far. So there ya go, it was a really good week. For some reason it felt like a really long week, though. I think there were a few reasons for that. I’m finding that now that I’m teaching most subjects, I have so much more planning and preparing to do than before, so I’m having to stay at school much later than I did in the beginning.
Another reason why this week maybe felt long was because of what happened one day…One day this week (Wednesday) was a 2 hour delay because of snow. It was supposed to be an Early Release Day. Orange County ended up canceling the early dismissal because of the 2 hr delay. There was a mix up with the after school program that our school usually provides, so there ended up being no after school care, even though the parents were told that morning when dropping their children off that there would be after school. We had to call the parents of students who usually go to after school and inform them that their children would have to be picked up at 2:20. There was one parent who works at a fast food restaurant all the way in Raleigh who just couldn’t possibly make it by 2:20. She had already been penalized for going into school late that morning, because of the 2 hour delay, and wasn’t scheduled to leave until 5 pm that day. My teacher and I offered to keep her child in our classroom with us for the afternoon, since there was really no other option. It ended up being a really fun afternoon, I made a McDonald’s run for McFlurries and our student helped me put up things on the wall and got to practice on a new math website we showed her. Her mom didn’t get there until 6 o’clock so the day felt really long, but it was rewarding to know that we helped a parent who otherwise would have had to leave her job and face serious ramifications for it. It was worth it to stay the extra hour, and I feel like I also made a connection with that student that I’ve seen have positive impacts from when I’m teaching in our classroom.
Other than that, I’m still loving student teaching! Although I’m excited to have it under my belt and know that I’m ready to be a real teacher on that glorious day of April 28, I’m also realizing how sad it’s going to be to leave this amazing group of students and colleagues. It will be a bittersweet day for sure. As for now, I’m just getting through each week day by day, and teaching these students everything I can.