Friday, December 9, 2016

Blog Post #9

I have enjoyed every moment of this class. Well maybe not the moments when I realized I didn't get an assignment done, but sometimes you just have to deal with it. I am really glad that I took this class when I did. I have mentioned that I had some doubts going into my service learning, that I was unsure  if teaching was something that I really wanted to do. Mostly because it isn't the highest paid job, there are long hours, and little appreciation. But helping in the classroom, talking with other teachers and going throughout this course, it has helped me realize that there are a lot of other benefits that you get out of teaching than those mentioned above.

There isn't a lot of money to be made in teaching; at least lower grade teaching such as elementary education. Some times there might be a lot of money spent out of pocket in teaching. But in trade there are so many benefits to receive. All of that extra money that is spent to decorate a classroom, make a lesson a little more interesting, adding books to the class library, or bringing a small incentive for students who do well help push your students to be better and learn more. It is adding a little something extra that helps those students.

The hours are long, as have been mentioned in this last section, and a lot of the time it goes unnoticed with little appreciation. There thankfully are parents that help show appreciation to teachers, but I don't think students ever realize how much time is put into everything for them. I didn't realize there so was so much time until just recently while watching my friends who are teachers.

There may be some downfalls that I have mentioned, but there are downfalls in every job. The best part about teaching is those are things that easily can be given up in trade for a smile from a child. Successfully figuring out a problem that they have been struggling with, or moving up a reading level. Some of the things that I really enjoyed while I was sitting in a classroom was how much the students love their teacher! That right there is more than enough!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Blog Entry #8

I think I mentioned at the beginning of the this course that I was really nervous going into a classroom. I was scared that I would get in there and be so confused how the whole operation went. Going throughout this class it has made me feel a lot more comfortable learning the background knowledge and the set up of a classroom. I have seen the connections between my learning and the classroom and that is what settles my fears of teaching in a classroom. 

During my interview with the teacher that I observed, I was glad that I was able to point out some of the things that I was able to learn. Along with all of this I like that I have the record of this blog to see the process of what I have learned, and my thoughts so I will be able to come back to this in the future and recap.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Blog Entry #7

        Standards in education is a great way to keep students on track as well as the teachers. I do think it is a good thing to have teachers working towards so they don't get monotonous in their teaching. I like that standardized testing tests students on what level they should be at. The one thing that I don't love about it is not everyone does well on tests and it can reflect in the testing. And not every student learns at the same level as others.

      When 'No Child Left Behind' first came out when I was in school I thought it was a good thing, but I did heard things that my teachers said about it being really hard for some students as well. In my Exceptional Students class I can see how with the No Child Left Behind that it could be extremely frustrating to have students that are behind and working on catching up and then have to move onto the next grade. I think if a student really needs to stay behind, and it is in the best interest of the student, they should be able to stay at the level they need to.

I love the idea of how Utah did go with their own testing though, and that it is reviewed and put together by parents. I love when parents are involved in their students lives so it can better their education!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Blog Entry # 6 - Diversity in Today's schools

In the classroom I have been sitting in I have seen a few diversities in the classroom and the teacher handles it very well. There are children who obviously come from different/hard families, or who have some learning disabilities. There are small groups that she breaks them up into so that she can work with some students one on one. They also have workbooks that they can work in after she teaches them a short lesson. They do work on things as a class, but then break off separately. While they are doing individual work she walks around and helps anyone who may have questions or could be struggling.
   There was one student one day that didn't have her resource class for the day since the teacher was gone. I could see that this student was struggling with the math lesson since that's what she typically had extra help on. The teacher did go over particular things in the lesson one on one with her. Then she let her go and use resources in the classroom so she could work things out on her own. It was good to see how the teacher handled the situation by still giving her the extra help she needed but also allowed her to figure things out on her own.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Blog Entry #5

           This semester I have been taking the Exceptional Students class as well. This has made me open my eyes and realize a lot of things in the classroom that is/can be accommodated to students with a disability, mental or physical. In the main classroom I have been observing in there has been a few students that leave certain subjects to go to the resource room. To be able to go into the resource room the student needs to have an IEP (individual education plan) done for them. This is done for them under the law Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The students are in the least restrictive environment by spending as much time in the general class room and going to the resource room for a special subject.
       There are some students in the classroom that I have helped and graded tests for that I knew that they had lower reading levels. The teacher has reading groups that she would meet with each day to work on their reading. It was good to see that she puts the students that are all on the same level together so they can work together to become better. She has different level books as well for each level that the students are on so they can work their way up.
       It is a great things that laws were passed for students so they cannot be left behind, and they have the best chance at an education that they can get. All students reserve the right to learn everything they can, and I can see that it is being enforced very well in the classroom I have been in.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Blog Entry #4

         This past week I decided to visit a 3rd grade class instead of the normal 2nd grade I have been sitting in. I love seeing the differences between teachers and how they handle situations differently as well as teach differently. That is the best part about teaching is you can make it your own.

    In this 3rd grade class that I visited, the teacher was working on spelling. There was one point in the lesson where she had the students play a tic tac toe game on the SMART board. The basic rules of the game were to go to the smart board, choose a word, say it out loud as well as in a sentence, and state if it was a action verb or a be verb. Then they got to choose their spot on the board. It was a great game because it did help the students pay attention more because they had to come up with a correct sentence, and answer correctly if it was an action or be. The game got the rest of the students in the room thinking and cheering them on. Games, I have come to find out, are a very useful teaching tool for elementary aged students.

    Another thing that I observed in one of the schools I was in was how well it is for students to be up and moving around. If not just for a moment to get their wiggles out or just to teacher another part of a lesson. This lesson was about the phases of the moon. The teacher had a few students up and 2 balls and a light shining on the one. The other kid acted as the earth cover part of the moon to show the phases of the moon and how they are created. It is good to see that there are good and creative ways to still engage students than just having them write notes.

    Student suggestions are an excellent way to allow students to feel like they do play a role in how they are learning. In this 3rd grade class that I was sitting in on, while the teacher read their story, Charlottes Web, to the class a student suggested that they work on their cursive while they listen. It is good to hear and see that students are okay with being productive while listening to an enjoyable story.

In elementary classrooms there are sections that MUST be read word for word out of a given lesson book. This is very difficult to help students stay engaged while simply reading from a book. For another class I've had to sit in a resource room and that teacher has all of her students answer questions on cue (snapping her fingers) to keep them all attentive and on track. I think that a good way to keep a lesson straight from a book could be made a little more engaging by having students answer on cue. It gives them a reason to listen for an answer and smaller children typically enjoy the sound of everyone being in sync.

It has been so fun to see the engaging ways that teachers are using in the classroom without the students even realizing that its molded specifically for them to learn better, and have a better experience. I enjoy seeing the certain ways that I could make a classroom more enjoyable for my future students.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Post #3 Learning Environments

           We have read an article about a classroom that had a morning team chat. They would sit on their rug and talk about whatever they wanted to share for that day. They became a team, and a loving community. The classroom that I sat in had little chants that they did that had uplifting meanings to them. At the end of the day they would form a circle and do one last chant that was positive self talk. In it they say that they can do anything, that they are smart. I love that she makes her classroom a safe environment, and you can tell that she really cares about her students.
            One way that you can tell that she really cares about her students is by the way that she encourages a positive community within her classroom. She does this by have a big chart on the wall with a clothespin with everyone's names. Everyday every student starts at the bottom of the chart and throughout the day, if they answer something that is hard for them, if they are a good friend, show an act of kindness, or anything positive then they get to 'pin up' and get to move their pin up throughout the day. The people who are at the top at the end of the day get a bead to go on their necklace! She makes the whole atmosphere a very exciting place to be for her students so they want to be there and want to be good.
             Another way that this teacher makes it an exciting place to be is by the way she changes from one subject to the next. Like I had mentioned before she has a lot of chants that she uses for her students. She does this to switch subjects. Another thing that makes it very clear is they have a workbook with a different color on the front so she can ask them to get the right color book out and start working on their worksheets. I think this is much nicer from when I was in elementary school. The teacher had to hand out the paper individually, but now this doesn't waste time and the students are in a way taught to self start.


I got to go and spend some time at the elementary school yesterday. I really enjoyed being in the classroom and seeing how a teacher can apply the things that we have been learning. The teacher that I worked with is very good at using a mixture of all learning preferences. She would writing things on the white board to give the students a visual. In this case, the subject was math, and she would have the students draw how many coins would add up 22. They had to do different options such as two dimes and two pennies. Next, she would tell the students a story problem for them to figure out. Example: Sally has 4 apples and Tommy has 6 apples, how many more apples does Tommy have than Sally? Lastly, she let the students work and figure out math problems by playing math games. I loved how without even realizing it each student was catered to with their individual learning preference.

As mentioned before this teacher in particular is really good about touching on each learning preference so all the students can grasp the idea in their own way. Once she lets the students begin on their own she walks around and give each student the help that they may possibly need. If they need additional help, then she had options for them to learn how they needed to. One girl in particular typically went to the resource room during math time, but the resource teach had been out for the day. So she obviously used visuals to help her, I could tell by the way she was using a chart to count as well as her fingers. I loved that I got to take the time to go out and see how to put the learning preferences to work in a classroom.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Blog Post #1

     The school that I have chosen to do my service learning at is Sierra Bonita Elementary School in Spanish Fork. I chose this school because I have a good friend that teaches an adorable class there and I have heard nothing but good things about the faculty, students and surrounding area.

      This school building is one that I pass almost everyday after picking up my daughter from daycare and heading into the middle of town to get my errands done. The school is very well kept. It always looks very clean and clear of anything that could be harmful or just displeasing to the eye. The time of day when I typically pass by is when students are going home for school. There are cross guards at every cross walk near the school, as well as someone manning the parking lot so drivers have an extra set of eyes out for kids that may be walking near a moving car. That is one thing that has always impressed me by Sierra Bonita is that just by driving by, I can tell that they care about the students by the way they keep them safe.

        The surrounding neighborhood is very clean as well. It is not considered a 'rich' part of town but it definitely isn't run down by any means. Within the past year the city did update sidewalks and repaint crosswalks so the area surrounding the school would be just as safe as leaving school grounds. I have seen many parents come to the school and either walk or bike with their child home, or come pick them up in the pick up area. You can tell that the community surrounding the school cares about the students just as much as the staff.

       My close friend that works at this school tells me constantly about how good her students are. There are always going to be 'those students' that are just tougher than the others, or moments where some kids are acting out, nevertheless she has told me endless stories of how much the students love their teachers and not only that, share with their parents how much they love their teachers.

      I have seen numerous times where students at Sierra Bonita have gone out of their way to make sure they know that their teacher is appreciated. Such as making cards, writing thank you notes, bringing in BEAUTIFUL flowers from recess, and asking their mom to throw a secret baby shower for their teacher. These kids are nothing but sweethearts and I'm so excited to be able to go in and experience how big their hearts and minds can be!

      I am beyond excited to be able to go and do my service learning in classrooms at this school. I understand that with doing this service learning I will be helping the teacher in the class room with clerical tasks, helping with classroom needs, and observing teacher/student interaction.

      I also understand that according to state law, everything regarding the students in the class and school is to be kept private. I will not come home and share names, stories, or give any information that shouldn't be shared. I will keep their identities confidential for their safety.

       I cannot wait to get into a class room and get a feel for how things are planned out and take place behind the scenes as well as how a teacher handles situations, good and bad, in a classroom. I am very excited to learn different ways to handle different situations and to see how the functionality of a class is set up. Sierra Bonita, here I come.