Sunday, March 10, 2013

Week 6! (Feb 25 - Mar 1)

Wow, I cannot believe that student teaching is going by so quickly. I have found that it is very hard to keep up with reflecting online about my experiences within the classroom. I am really finding a place in the art room and am starting to have great relationships with each class and each student. It feels great.

This week I had my first "head day" as the teacher for every class of the day. Ms. R was in the classroom but ran many errands and got a lot ready for putting up art within the community and a district art show at a local technical college campus. It was great experience for me. I felt like I was managing behavior all day long rather than teaching!

A final peacock, colored with glitter and metallic crayons and ink
It was a day 3 of the rotation schedule, so everything that I had to teach was a repeat of was Ms. R and I did the day before. This was a big help because I had very little to prepare for.

5th grade was continuing their work on tropical birds, 2nd grade was working on coloring and painting a new lighthouse project, 3rd grade was finishing perspective drawings and coloring their fired clay peacocks, 4th grade was drawing and coloring some fantasy trees from their imagination (in contrast to the previous palm trees), 1st grade was creating boats for the seascapes and Kindergarten was painting frogs! It was a busy day, but a fun day!

Some frogs, in progress!

I was extremely tired after my head day, and was reminded of how important classroom management strategies and rapport really is. I did a much better job of moving students away from each other if they were causing disruptions, and even had a student go to the "take a break" chair. I often have a high tolerance (mostly too high) for misbehavior, so I was proud of myself.

Week 5 (Feb 18 - Feb 22)

This week was a busy and fast week! Monday started out with my supervisor coming to observe me with the first graders as I introduced my edTPA mixed media seascapes. The students did a great job using the art supplies to create their backgrounds. They learned about scumbling and what space is in art. Crayon, marker and water were used in the backgrounds, giving them a new experience with mixed media.

The water station was a popular place! They loved watching the marker bleed into waves.

A finished background waiting to dry!

 It was a good day for me to receive feedback on my teaching because I started video taping my teaching for evaluation. I thought that I may have overwhelmed the students with a lot of vocabulary in the middle of the lesson, which I did! Both my supervisor and cooperating teacher had some great things to say, but also mentioned how I could slow down and create more visuals and steps for the students to follow. This was all great feedback that made me much more comfortable during my lesson with my focus group. I thought I would be nervous to get taped, but I really felt comfortable and prepared! The edTPA lesson plan format really gets me thinking about absolutely everything in the lesson, classroom and about the students, so I was ready to go!

Wednesday was an early release day for the students at the elementary school, and was a special program called Snowfest. Ms. R and I worked with students to do a snowflake relay race in the gymnasium. Each grade has a "buddy" grade (such as fifth grade and second grade, first and fourth and third and kindergarten) so they were lined up with their buddies. The students had to relay with their groups from one end of the gym to the other while keeping a paper snowflake on their heads. It was a blast! The students quickly found out that running with the snowflake on their face was faster than walking with it on their head. I even worked up a sweat demonstrating for them. It was a great day that made me feel like a part of community within the school. The rest of the afternoon was spent preparing and changing artwork within frames around the school.

The elementary school is covered in artwork, which really adds life to the school. It is a feat to put it all up and down, but there are so many cooperative teachers, student teachers, volunteers and high school helpers that make it all work.

On Friday I had my first student teacher seminar at the University. It was a day spent in informational meetings about Love and Logic, Commencement and Licensure. The afternoon was spent with my fellow art education student teachers and supervisors reflecting on our times in the classrooms. The end of this week really has be excited to be a teacher!

Week 4!

Student teaching is just flying by. I can't believe that I have made it past my "midterm" of my first placement. I hope to keep up with posts better than I have thus far because so many fun and exciting things are happening everyday! Week four has been the best week yet because I am really feeling a sense of ownership and comfort in the classroom with the students and with my cooperating teacher. Now that I am understanding rules, procedures and expectations, everything is melting into place.

This week the fifth graders began a new unit on drawing tropical birds. It is a project that Ms. R really enjoys because the students spend a lot of time making their drawings unique. The students were impressed with how many examples she has from past students, and seemed to embrace it as a challenge to work hard enough to be one of her examples in the future.

Some second grade snowflakes after they were finished!
The second graders were working with printmaking. They spent one day folding and cutting paper snowflakes and another day using chalk to create prints of the snowflakes on white paper. It is a very simple project that the students seemed to enjoy. Some of them only created one print while others made up to three or four! Many of them turned out quite beautiful. This is the last snow project of the year, which makes Ms. R and I hopefully for no more snow days! Valentines day was actually a snow day for the school district! I assume the classes making snowflakes didn't influence that!

Third grade is working on one point perspective drawing. Many of them are doing quite well with it, while others struggle and wonder why we are doing it and how the lines on the paper make sense. I didn't know if perspective would be too advanced for this age group, but many of them are doing so great that it makes me re-think my original thought of perspective being saved for middle school! We introduced perspective as a way to make things look more realistic and to show distance in a drawing. Ms. R really used a good example of when students are outside for recess and they see their friend across the playground and they look really little, but when we walk up to them they get bigger and bigger. The students really understood what she meant!

Fourth grade palm trees on display in the hallway
In contrast to the snowflakes in second grade, the fourth graders worked on drawing palm trees with chalk all week! They were practicing how the palms come from the center of the tree trunk and how each palm could be drawn with simple lines.

The first graders were finishing up finger painting roosters and were introduced to Windslow Homer's seascapes. This was a great lead in before I start my edTPA unit of mixed media environments. The students created an oil pastel seascape featuring a boat, inspired by Windslow Homer in one day.

A first grade seascape/boat inspired by Winslow Homer
The kindergarteners were working on self portraits with crayon and cut paper that turned out very cute! It was fun to watch them explore facial features and how to use lines to draw them. Many of them told Ms. R and I that they learned how to draw eyes in a new way. We talked about using realistic colors to show how we really look. They used mirrors to discover eye colors, shapes and hair colors. This will be a two day project because many of them didn't get a chance to color their faces in after only one day.

I am starting to feel so much more comfortable in the classroom and look forward to next week when I start my edTPA lessons!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Week 3

I can't believe that I haven't had time to post about week three of student teaching! It is currently the middle of week 4 of my first placement!

The time at the elementary school is flying by! In week three I had an AMAZING time. This was the week that I really got a feel for how the classroom is run, what is expected of me, and what things work best for me. I also think that I am getting to know the students better, although getting to know over 420 names in three weeks is a little difficult, especially because I only see them once or twice a week! I hope that when I have my own classroom and I am learning names I will be able to learn them a little faster. I think it is different because I am the student teacher. Sometimes the students forget my name and get offended that I still don't know theirs. I tell them, "If you have a hard time remembering only my name, how do you think I remember all 400 students in this school? Can you imagine doing that?" They end up laughing and telling me it's okay, or reminding me to learn their name because they are important people! I've really grown to enjoy these children!
A kindergarten student stamps a design into their clay mandela

In a nutshell, this is what week three encompassed:
Grade 2 Gadget fish before and after color and ink!

  • Teaching a whole day of K-5 as the head teacher. Luckily Kim stayed in the room to assist whenever needed!
  • Kindergarten made clay Mandelas and learned about radial design. 
  • 1st grade finger painted roosters and did a great job!
  • 2nd grade colored and inked clay fish from a few weeks back
  • 3rd grade explored perspective and what it means as well as basic rules in perspective
  • 4th grade finished painting their clay projects and created palm trees with chalk
  • 5th grade finished painting their clay animals and created collages like Guiseppe Archimboldo portraits made out of food!
Grade 1. This student was a "dotter" as they finger painted the sky
I learned so much this week regarding classroom management and time management. This was a great week for me to get the schedule of each class down. The five minutes between classes is a life saver! I was happy to take control and learn by making mistakes. Ms. R was helping me find the best system for having first graders wash their hands and finish their finger painting. I realized that I had the children wash their hands, ask me if they were done and then if I asked them to work more, they would have to wash their hands again. Realizing that this was unproductive and inefficient, that idea was quickly changed! I also learned that when teaching radial symmetry to kindergarteners with the clay Mandelas, I needed to stress to them how important the middle of the Mandela was. For some reason, it took me twice to realize!

I could improve even more on clean up tasks and delegation to students. I could also improve upon time management by keeping track of my demonstration timing and leaving ample time for students to work and clean up efficiently!

I think I did great at speaking to the children in ways they would understand and getting the project criteria to them. By the looks of the work, I think I reached most of them!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Week 2: Student Teaching

Wow! I am loving my student teaching experience so far. The more I get to know my cooperating teacher, and the more I work with the students, the more confident I am becoming. It feels great to spend time making art with children all day. I couldn't ask for a better job! I am learning that it takes a lot of work behind the scenes (not a surprise, just a realization of how much work!) but I am really finding joy in it.

Yesterday I taught the first graders for the second time. Last Friday I worked with them and did a demonstration of how to draw pigs. Because we are on a rotation schedule, this was my first time working with this specific first grade class. I got to introduce a lesson about drawing chickens, and worked with students to understand the basic shapes that make up a chicken. I tried to show them multiple examples to allow them to choose which way they can draw a chicken. My cooperating teacher has taught me that this helps create diversity within the student artwork, especially for the youngest students. Many of the students liked the way I demonstrated drawing (with a circle for a body and a long neck) but there were many students who looked at the student and teacher examples on the board and used them for inspiration (these included a crescent shaped body). I was surprised that they knew the word, "crescent". The best part of working closely with the students is learning their developmental levels and abilities. Each class has a range of these, so it is great to really sense which children are where. Here are some examples of the awesome work they did!

Yesterday went by so quickly that I didn't realize that it was the end of the day! My schedule for the day is quite fun, we have a prep hour from 8:00 a.m. to 8:55 a.m. which makes the rest of the day go by extremely quickly (and is a lot of work because there is no other breaks!) Even our lunch period is spent with children to finish up art projects, but if we want to take a break, all we need to do is tell the students. The students at the elementary school are really great children, and have a lot of respect for Ms. R. I am so thankful to be put with such a great teacher.

Ms. R. really wants to push me to start implementing, planning, and teaching lessons, which is a great feeling. I am confident in my abilities to teach students right now, but I am nervous to take over head weeks too quickly. I want to try to teach one to two of my edTPA lessons (three lessons surrounding a specific 1st grade class that I chose to work with) before I take on my head weeks. This way, I won't feel as stressed out as a head teacher, or while I am attempting to video tape myself and reflect on my teaching practices. The more I can reflect on serious teaching strategies before my head weeks, the better teacher I will be during them!

As I was teaching the first graders yesterday, I thought there were some things that I could have improved:
  • I should have made sure that I covered ALL of the instructions I wanted the students to follow. I wrote a lesson plan for the quick lesson, but I forgot to discuss the idea of using the oil pastels to blend two colors together. This will be something I want to show the other two classes!
  • I should have had a system in place to allow the first graders to go get their background papers. I didn't want to say "Okay, go!" So I counted off five students at a time to get papers. While we were waiting (which was about thirty seconds or so) I would ask them what type of chickens they would draw, which examples they liked and so on. Tomorrow, I hope to get out the past project (pigs) and look at the names on the backs of the papers to tell certain students to go work on their chicken or finish their pig. One student came up to me and said "I didn't finish my pig! Can I work on it first?" I thought to myself "How come I didn't think to finish the pigs from last time?". Thank goodness for that student, or I would have forgotten to do it again!
There was also some things that I thought I did well:
  • Although I want to get through the demonstration quickly, I made sure to engage the students by asking them what they thought the next step would be. I also asked the students for advice on colors, what background I should draw and so on. 
    • One student wanted the chicken to be in the woods! I asked her why would the chicken be in the woods? She didn't know, so I told her, "Maybe the chicken crossed to road to get to the woods!" Boy, I thought I was so funny and made myself giggle. The students were too young to really understand the joke, so I felt a little silly!
Today was a snow day (or rather, and ice day) for my school and surrounding districts, so i will continue with the lesson plans tomorrow! Today will be spent revising and creating lesson plans as well as tackling some edTPA reflective writing. I am finding that there is a lot to this edTPA and that it is hard to keep track of. Luckily, I have time today to really dive into my weekly tasks created by my program advisor. I think I will make a list of "to do's" for each day of each week! I completed my first task by sending home a photo and video release form for permission to video record in the classroom as I teach my edTPA lessons. This is a requirement of the edTPA, so I hope that all of the parents are fine with it!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Student Teaching!

It has been awhile since I posted, BUT today was my first day of student teaching! I got placed at an elementary school with an amazing cooperating teacher for my first nine weeks and placed with another amazing high school art teacher for my second nine weeks. After this experience, I will be applying for licensure as a K-12 Art Educator and open teaching positions for the fall of 2013. Wow!

I am also working with my University to pilot the new EdTPA system, which is a teacher's performance assessment that will be mandatory for all student teachers to pass before receiving their license to teach in any discipline in the near future. Myself and a student in Early Childhood Education will be experiencing this together, and will be working closely with our advisors and the School of Education to do the best we can! I can't wait to write about the successes and struggles of my experience and how they relate to both the edTPA and life as a student teacher. I hope to help out as many others in my position as possible, especially those in the future that I am piloting this for. Wish me luck.

As for the edTPA, it will be a lot more writing and a bit more analyzing of lesson plans, videos of presenting lessons and engaging students, and assessment procedures. By the end of this, I should have written about forty-plus pages of reflections, planning and assessment. I'm excited to see what happens! There is a lot on my plate with all of these new responsibilities, but nothing that is too scary. Plus, I have some great art educators on my side!

Speaking of which, my cooperating teacher at the elementary school, Ms. R, is pretty great. Today I got to watch her in action and saw how she ran her classroom. Although I do not have the system down quite yet, I know that I will be able to get into the swing of things soon enough! I set up five folders for art projects that I will accumulate throughout this experience, which is unbelivably helpful. She has some great ways for me to really get the most out of this experience, especially since she has had over 20 student teachers. (I think I'm her 23rd or 24th or something crazy!)  One of  my classmates just finished up with her last Friday, and had a great experience. Ms. R keeps calling me by the name of the other student teacher because we are so close together.

The students warmed up to me pretty well and were excited to see that they have a new helper in the room. I am anxious to get to know them more and really have a relationship and rapport in my classroom. It should be a fun experience! More to come on my first day experience soon!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

More fun at Camp!

Explaining how we were going to make Halloween decorations for the camp's Halloween celebration
Helping fold for a day of tie dying!

Teaching about God's Eyes and how to start them.