Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My Student Teaching Experience

This past semester (Spring 2014), I completed my student teaching and last semester of my teaching credential program.  I was placed in my dream district that was close to my house, which made the commute easier.  I taught all day for sixteen weeks and on Wednesday nights, I went to class.  It was a crazy few weeks and incredibly exhausting.

My first placement was in a 3rd grade classroom.  I was so nervous!  I had no idea what to expect from my new master teacher and from the kids.  I didn't have experience with 3rd grade so I wasn't fully experienced with the curriculum.  However, my fabulous master teacher put me at ease and the kids were so, so sweet.  My master teacher really guided me and made amazing suggestions.  My master teacher was also so organized and a great planner, which was awesome because I love to plan and be organized.  Planning and organization makes me feel calm and more confident in my day.

And the kids?  Amazing.  We were having discussions every day and the kids asked great questions.  They had a great sense of humor too.  Plus, their independence skills were awesome.

My second placement was in a K/1 combo class.  I was not told it was a combination class until my first day there.  With 20 first graders and 8 kinders, there was a lot for me to learn!  At first, it felt like there were always a hundred things going on at once but once I found my groove, I was able to really enjoy the experience.  My master teacher was super enthusiastic, energetic, and really supportive of letting me try new ideas or strategies.

The kids were so curious and excited about the lessons too.  While they had tons of energy, it was great to be able to funnel that energy into their learning.  The kids were super sweet too and always giving me little gifts - flowers they picked outside, drawings they made, etc.

I had such a great student teaching experience and I am really excited to get my own classroom.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

First Day of Student Teaching

Today was my first day of student teaching and it was awesome!  I have been assigned a third grade class and the school is only ten minutes away from my house.  This group of third graders are super sweet, kind of quiet, and very cute.  I am really excited to spend the next eight weeks teaching and learning from these students.

The school has a great community feel with really kind teachers, a principal that is super friendly, and a lot of parent involvement.  I was so impressed at how much the parents volunteer to help with everything from copying to fundraising.  Every week, the school holds an assembly and gives awards to students, teachers, and volunteers.  The whole school community is really supportive of one another.

This week is all observation for me while I get to know the curriculum and the students.  Next week, I will be taking over with math (working on tangrams!) and then progressively taking over subjects each week.  While I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous, I am super excited to be working with these kids and apply the teaching strategies I've been learning about for years.

Any words of wisdom for a student teacher like myself?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Welcome to Teacher in Training

Hello everyone!

My name is Elyse and I will be starting my final semester of student teaching in a few weeks.  I graduated with my Bachelor's degree in December 2012 and began the multiple subject teaching credential in January 2013. I am now in the final semester of the student teaching program and I recently found out I will be working in a third grade classroom.

Last semester, I did student teaching twice a week that focused on intervention and small group instruction.  My placement was at a dual language school in a low socio-economic area.  The program was a 50/50 program where one teacher taught in English for one day and the other teacher taught in Spanish the next day.  It was a wonderful experience.  I learned so much from the kids and my fabulous master teacher.

I started this blog because I want to share my journey in student teaching and in my first few years of teaching.  It's going to be busy and scary and exciting and a total learning experience - so why not share it with the world!

Outside of teaching, I am also really into history and genealogy.  I love cooking and going out to restaurants to try new food.  I'm obsessed with Harry Potter.  Most importantly, I am also planning my wedding for June 2014 and I can't wait to marry my best friend.

Until next time...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Reading List

By this time tomorrow, I'll be in starting a new semester of college.  I'm really excited and feeling a bit nervous knowing that I'm one step closer to becoming a teacher.  It feels so close and yet so far away.

Speaking of first year teachers, I just discovered that there are bloggers out there who are studying to become a teacher, in a credential program, or first year teachers.  I am so happy that I discovered these bloggers because now I have even more awesome advice and ideas to soak in.

Here is what I've been reading this week:

  • These center ideas from Life in First Grade are so cute and creative. I need to make these.
  • These short vowel ladders from Fun 2B in First are such a great idea and have really inspired me to try to create my own.  Anyone know where I could find the handwriting images?  I'd love to experiment and see what I could create.
  • I just discovered this blog tonight about a first year teacher and I absolutely love reading all about her adventures.  I can't wait to read more as the school year progresses - so check out Miss Jackson in First!
What have you been reading lately?

These short vowel ladders are so cute!  http://fun2binfirst.blogspot.com/2011/08/short-vowel-freebie.html

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Helping Kids Transition

Little Miss Kindergarten is having a linky party all about transitions from one activity to another.  While I'm not teaching yet, I have been observing classrooms and soaking up ideas.  Outside of school, I attend education conferences (like this one organized by my ah-mazing former math teacher) and special events any time I can.  But most importantly, I have so many family members as resources because my uncles, aunts, and my cousin were/are teachers.  My mom was even a teacher's assistant for a few years when she was in her early twenties.  So teaching is truly in my blood and I'm incredibly lucky to have such an amazing resource right here!

The above picture is a newspaper clipping of my uncle, Dudley Doerflinger, receiving a Teacher Recognition award by the Glendale Chamber of Commerce.  I've only ever heard amazing things about his classroom, his creative lessons, and his ability to hold the attention of a child.  He retired before I was old enough to see his classroom.

While I've seen and heard of methods ranging from music clips to hand signals, my current favorite one is clapping.  My favorite method is to do a 1-2 clap with your hands and the students repeat the 1-2 clap in response.  Once they do the 1-2 clap, the students are to be quiet, keep hands still, and look at the teacher as they await for instructions.  Those instructions might be to clean up, line up, prepare for lunch, sit on the rug, etc.

If the teacher does the 1-2 clap and all students do not respond in a 1-2 clap, then the teacher repeats the 1-2 clap and the students again respond with a 1-2 clap.  Any students that do not respond in the 1-2 clap after the second round of clapping is given is given a consequence like changing the color on the color chart, staying in from recess for a few minutes, or whatever your behavioral method is.

I observed one fabulous kindergarten teacher who used a bell for center transitions.  The bell sat on her rolling cart that she used to hold her supplies and books as she did small group work, etc.  When it was time to switch centers, she would ring the bell.  Sometimes she would have the student that put forth the most effort during center time to ring the bell.

I remember being in kindergarten and when it was time to come in from recess, the line leader for the day would use a tambourine to gather everyone inside the classroom.  The line leader would march around the yard (we had a separate yard from the rest of the school) and everyone would "line up" to march inside the classroom.  Kids loved being line leader and being able to play the tambourine.  It made you feel so special.

Get other ideas for transitions by reading all of the linky party posts at Little Miss Kindergarten!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Getting Acquainted With Teaching Blogs

It was just two weeks ago that I discovered teaching blogs.  I'm not sure why it took so long for me to discover these because I've been acquainted with the blogging world for a while - I already have a genealogy blog.  But I guess I just never took the time to look for teaching blogs.

But now I've found them, I've been going crazy.  There are so many amazing ideas, free downloads, and giveaways.  It is an amazing world.

The giveaway that I am most involved with right now is offered by 7 different bloggers: Teaching in High Heels, First Grade Factory, Mrs. Freshwater's Class, First Grade FUNdamentals, F is for First Grade, Lesson Plan SOS, The Lesson Plan Diva, and Ingles360.  This giveaway is HUGE (tons of stuff!) and it ends tonight.  So go check out the details here.

Since I'm still in the process of checking out teaching blogs, which teaching blogs do you recommend?  What are your favorites?  Which ones have the best tips, suggestions, ideas, freebies, giveaways, etc?