Pre-internship Goals

I am so excited to start my pre-internship next week.  I am doing my pre-internship close to home, so I don’t have to commute every week to Regina.  My kids are super happy to have me home and I am pretty sure my husband is to as the house needs a little TLC.  The goals I have chosen for my pre-internship are goals that I feel will not only help myself as a teacher but I am hoping will help the students I teach.

Goal #1  Engage all students in the classroom

I have been in a few classrooms in the last year for other classes and have observed teachers not even make an attempt to engage some students.  Witnessing this is hard enough, not having a voice to say anything to the teacher because I am only a ‘university student’ was a game changer for me as a future teacher.  I may not be able to speak with every student in every class of every day, but I will not allow a student to sit there unengaged for an entire 50 minutes of my lesson.  I will not allow it, and I sure won’t pretend that I didn’t notice it.  During my lessons, one of my targets will be to walk around the classroom during the lesson and engage with students.  If I am lecturing or we are having a class discussion I will make an effort to ask questions of all students, not just the students that put their hands up.  I will be giving my co-operating teacher a checklist of the specific targets I am trying to hit for each lesson.

Goal #2  Classroom management

I believe that effective classroom management can help a teacher in running an efficient classroom environment.  Establishing rules with the students, having a routine and a safe classroom environment are very important in the classroom.  This may be hard to establish in only three weeks of pre-internship but I feel that I will need the respect of the students for the time I am there.  During my time in the classroom I will have the students explain the classroom rules and routines that are already established in the class with the teacher.  We will also discuss a safe classroom environment.  I will already have asked the teacher about these issues but I want to hear the rules from the students.  This will be a refresher for them and also a reminder to them that I would like the same rules applied to myself when I am in the classroom teaching.  My target for each lesson I teach will be to recognize and implement the classroom rules, to deal with any situations that arise, and respect those rules of the class in keeping a safe environment for all students.  This is more of a general target for my entire pre-internship, but I will have classroom management on each lesson plan that I do which remind myself of the classroom rules and I will ask the co-operating teacher weekly how I am managing.

Goal #3  Different teaching strategies in lessons

Today’s students are no different than students from 20 years ago.  They all learn in different ways and have different interests.  As a future teacher I recognize this and feel that I need to teach in different ways to accommodate the various learning styles I may have in my classroom.  During my pre-internship I will try a variety of teaching strategies and techniques.  For example, I will use videos, partner work (think-pair-share), group work/discussions, class discussions, KWL charts, research activities using computers, lectures and small skits in class.  I will reach this goal through the lessons that I make for the variety of classes I will teach.

The indicators I will use will be on the target sheets I give to my co-operating teacher for every lesson.

Looking forward to the next 3 weeks!

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Treaty Education – You bet!

The treaty education lesson our group planned incorporated Wellness 10 as we are all Health majors.  We did have to adjust the lesson a little to incorporate the Treaty outcomes and indicators so they would match the health outcomes.  In fact, the only outcome we could match our Wellness 10 outcome with was a grade 12 Treaty outcome and indicator.  I find this extremely problematic as a future teacher.

Why has the Ministry of Education not looked at this and incorporated it so that it can at least combined into the same grade?  As our discussion in class posed the question as to why the Ministry hasn’t added the Treaty outcomes and indicators and the treaty essential learnings into the curriculum.  Having a separate document on the issue makes no sense.  (At least to me it doesn’t).  If we are mandated to teach treaty education, which I 100% agree with, then it needs to be combined into one document in the Saskatchewan curriculum.  In my opinion having two separate documents only continues to promote separate issues.

The feedback we received for our lesson was to provide questions that would guide the students in their learning about the medicine wheel.  I think it would be important to incorporate these questions for every area in the medicine wheel.  This would enhance their learning of each area of the medicine wheel and hopefully allow them to look back and view that learning as a whole picture.

I believe that treaty education needs to be in the schools.  I sympathize with fellow classmates that are specializing in music, biology, and other subject areas that make it near impossible to incorporate this mandated teaching.  Some of the English majors wonder how to incorporate treaty education into Macbeth.  I have been out of school quite a bit longer than most in the class and I had no idea they were still teaching Shakespeare in English!!!  How in the world do you incorporate treaty education in a lesson/unit on Shakespeare?  I am open to all and any ideas.  I just wonder how much extra work teachers are expected to accomplish when the directions they are given has no clear guidance.

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Moving around or standing still? Classroom Management Strategies.

The blog I read about is actually on a Smart Classroom Management blog I happened to find.  The blog discusses reasons why it is important for teachers to stand in one place when giving directions to the students, instead of moving around the classroom.  The blog states that students will be more attentive if you stand still while giving directions, it’s easier to focus for the students, removes obstacles, and keeps you in contact with the students.  Interesting…..

I actually read this blog before class today but was unable to finish my post.  i am actually glad this happened.  During class today Katia walked around the room constantly while we were having a class discussion.  At no time when she was walking around the class did I become disengaged from the discussion, feel less focus or felt that there were obstacles in the way.  I actually felt like she was trying to engage all the students by making a point of walking around the room.

The post I read in the blog doesn’t fit my sense of classroom management.  I want to interact with my students as much as possible.  I also believe that walking around the room will make them pay more attention to what I am saying because they may feel that I am checking up on them (which I may be doing in ‘stealth mode’)!!!  If students are possibly doing something that they maybe shouldn’t be, the close proximity of a teacher will soon change that.  After all isn’t that the point of lectures is to have students listening and engaged?

I feel the blogs remarks totally fit into the anti-oppresive ideals of the education program we are now learning about.  As future teachers we are being taught to engage our learners, connect with them, interact with them.  In my personal opinion, I don’t believe that standing in front of a class and giving directions is beneficial to any students.  Part of my working classroom will have me interacting with students, engaging them in what I am saying and making sure they are listening to what I am saying.

Click here for blog link.

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Getting education right in New Zealand

I peeked in on Ashley’s blog as I was randomly picking my 5 blogs for the tech task this week.  I sure am glad I decided to read her blog about a presentation she had been to by, Don Rempel, who is the superintendent of the North East School Division.  Don spoke about the initiatives that were helping the Maori people of New Zealand in regards to education.  There was a 5 year plan implemented into the schools that focused to change the way the teachers interacted with the students, with a focus on the Maori students.  The results were pretty amazing, not only for the Maori students, but for all the students.  Teachers were focusing more on the needs of the  student first, and then the curriculum.  I totally agree with this approach.  As a future teacher I want the best for my students.  I want them to be happy and have fun at school, they will keep coming back if they are!!  I believe that Canada should take a look how New Zealand implemented this into their schools and use that with First Nation students in the schools here.  I really like the idea of of focusing on the students we can make a difference in their lives and allow their dreams and hopes to be equally important as the student in the next desk beside them, regardless of race, ethnicity or culture.

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Adding to my Personal Learning Network (PLN)

I must admit I am a little nervous at adding people to my ‘circle of trust’, especially when it comes to a computer network!  However, I am very open to meeting people who can help me as I come into my teaching career.  I have noticed in the last semester the great resources and networks that teachers have at their finger tips via the internet.  I want to grow my personal learning network to enhance my knowledge and that of my future students.

1.  Sue Waters

I added Sue on and  After meeting Sue in one of the recordings I knew that she was so knowledgeable about items that I was completely lost in.  Her experience and willingness to help is what really made me feel that if I was having problems with my ‘new’ blog, she would be willing to help me out.

2.  Alec Couros

I added Alec, because I have heard so many good things about him from some of my fellow classmates.  I also spoke with Alec about 2 weeks into the course about finding a tutor to help me in this class.  He reassured me to keep going and communicate with Dean about any struggles I may have.  His advice is working as I am slowly understanding what I am to be doing.

3.  Shelly Sanchez Terrell

I added Shelly on my Facebook page, The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators.  I really liked Shelly when we met her in our recordings.  I also added her because I know how to use Facebook and can access her page quickly if I am ever looking for a resource.

4.  Brian Lewis

I added Brian, @gymovers because I had him as a professor last semester.  I am a Health major and his resources will help me in the classroom.  Although I am still a little shaky on Twitter, Brian encouraged us all to embrace technology because we will be using it in the classroom.

5.  Katia Hildebrandt

I added Katia in my google plus community.  Not sure if there is a link for this.  Katia is one of my professors this semester, and if it wasn’t for her helping me in the early beginnings of this class I may not have kept on.  She took a few minutes of her time after my class with her to help me with my blog and saved me hours of frustration.  Katia also encourages us to use our blogs as we go into our teaching careers.  I know as a student, if I need help with my computer problems, I can ask her.  This is how I want my students to feel with me, definitely a teachable moment involving 2 separate classes that are making a difference in my semester.

I also added to my personal learning network,

George Couros       

Brandon Wislocki           @octechnet

Added to my google plus:  Kate Baker, Lusia Kirk, Ashley Grandfield, Nate Polsfut, Megan Seymour, Sue Waters, Dean Shareski

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What Students Remember Most About Teachers

Pursuit of a Joyful Life

Dear Young Teacher Down the Hall,

I saw you as you rushed passed me in the lunch room. Urgent. In a hurry to catch a bite before the final bell would ring calling all the students back inside. I noticed that your eyes showed tension. There were faint creases in your forehead. And I asked you how your day was going and you sighed.

“Oh, fine,” you replied.

But I knew it was anything but fine. I noticed that the stress was getting to you. I could tell that the pressure was rising. And I looked at you and made an intentional decision to stop you right then and there. To ask you how things were really going. Was it that I saw in you a glimpse of myself that made me take the moment?

You told me how busy you were, how much there was to do

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Assessment at its best!

This article is exactly what I needed this weekend as I struggle with ideas on not only how to use assessment in the classroom but actual ideas of what I can assess in the classroom.  Up until now my learning has been based on subject areas and lesson plans.  We have discussed in numerous classes how teachers are not giving grades and are using various kinds of assessment to back this up, of course this basically only could work until grade 10 in Saskatchewan.  I struggled with this as I had a class last semester that was a pass/fail class.  I found this a little frustrating because I have grown up with having marks on everything that I did in school.  There was always a number attached to my work.  I did learn a valuable lesson though because my professor gave me more useful feedback on work I submitted that I understood and could work on.  After all isn’t that all we want, is to improve ourselves.

I now see assessment as a way to motivate students in their learning and make it meaningful to them.  Proper assessment in the classroom is essential in targeting a variety of learners in the class.  By allowing students the opportunity to be able to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways is crucial in the classroom.  No two students are the same, and therefore we shouldn’t be teaching or evaluating them the same.  This article really made me rethink my grading philosophy, not only for Aboriginal students, but for all students.

I think we can ensure that assessments should benefit students rather than penalizing them.  By encouraging students to complete the work rather than penalizing them completely if it is turned in late.  How can a student understand if he is learning something if you give him a low mark just because he handed it in late.  Students are still struggling with their time management skills, trying to balance school, work, family and friends.  It is important to teach the students life skills while in the classroom, for example, second chances.  Everyone deserves a second chance and hopefully the students can take that life lesson with them into their adult life and return the favour to someone else.  I believe as a teacher that you have to make what you think is the right decision for every student.  This may be different for everyone as you get to know your students but will be worth it for them and how they feel about themselves.

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