The chapter I really loved in The Motivated Student by Sullo was chapter ten: Plan with the Students’ Needs in Mind. I feel like a lot of teachers say they do but it doesn’t really show to me in or during that class.
In this chapter, he talks about how curriculum used to be whatever the teachers wanted to teach and now it has moved to more standardized. I definitely see this in the classroom, especially with modules. I think it is a little too much of the same from classroom to classroom.
Also, in this chapter it talks about how to make your planning even more effective for your students. The plan Sullo gives the readers is:
Morning work: 5 min
Circle time/sharing: 10 mins
Teacher reads aloud to the whole class: 10 mins
Think-pair-share: 2 mins
Choice of three activity centers: 20 mins
Whole-class instruction: 8 mins
Transition/prepare for specialist: 5 mins
I think spelling out your plan to the exact minute like so can make for more effective teachers because it seems like you’d never waste even a minute of time. Also, not only spelling out the plan but thinking about the questions provided on page 112 of this book.
In my observation site, it is apparent that my host teacher does all of this. There is not a minute wasted in her class where the students aren’t doing something. She always plans with the students learning in mind, and she always “evaluates” how the lesson go after she’s done it.
Chapter five in the book, The Motivated Student by Bob Sullo, talks about routines, rituals, and procedures in the classroom. In my observation placement I notice a lot of routines occurring within the classroom. Situations like as soon as the bell rings, the students are quiet. Also, all the students know once the bell rings to take out there agendas and right down there homework. These acts are routinely and happen every day.
Sullo says, “predictability of routines, rituals, and standard procedures enhance learning.” I believe that in this classroom because the students know what to do as soon as the bell rings that they are not wasting anytime. Also, like in the book where Mrs. Costa said to not worry about his heading on his report, that it was a “trivial” thing and to “worry about the more important things,” and then he lost ten points in his science class because he had the wrong heading, in my observation school, I know that they do all the things like that the same from class to class.
It was really cool to meet an author that we have read this semester in young adult literature. He explained the way he came to writing, and then read a passage from If I Ever Get Out of Here. I enjoyed when he read because it let me imagine what the tone of voice that the characters were supposed to have when they were created. During the question and answer part, I learned a lot about his life. It was interesting to find all these things out about him. Also, as a reader of this book, I now have some additional background knowledge towards the text.
I have never thought about writing as a process until this year. For many of my classes, I have written many drafts for one paper. Some readings in AED 309/308 that I just did were all about the revision process. I learned that a lot of students think that revising is basically take out words and putting new ones in. Most students claim that they don’t even reread their papers all the way through again.
By being aware of this, when I have my own classroom I will make sure students just aren’t substituting words but actually revising their papers. In order to become a good and strong writer it takes many drafts.
I found a few websites where students can have their writing published on the internet, and I wanted to share these sites.
The first site: http://storybird.com/. This website is free to sign up, and students can post/publish their work. This website can also be used as collaborative work. Students can comment on other students work or students can even take turns writing one story. I encourage teachers to try out this website.
The second site: http://figment.com/. This website is also free to sign up and is used similarly to Storybird. For this website writers can connect to it via Facebook and Twitter. Another cool thing about Figment is that students can be apart of certain groups that they are interested in or join a writing workshop.
Both websites are neat to check out. They allow students to publish their work for free and with using technology it can be a collaborative experience. For both websites, teacher can also create a private group for their own classes.
I went to another SUNY Cortland event where two professors were reading some of Sherman Alexie’s work. Karla read “Scenes from a Life” and Howard read a passage from “War Dances.” At first, I wasn’t sure if I would like being read to because I haven’t been read to since I was about five, but surprisingly I enjoyed it. I loved hearing Alexie’s work read out loud. I noticed more of the cursing language when it was being read out loud to me instead of me reading to myself. Another thing I especially liked was the tone of voice it was read in, the enthusiasm, and the facial expressions that were all involved in these readings that I don’t really get when I am reading to myself. I would go to another reading any time because it was fun, and I think I learned a lot about Alexie and how his work was meant to be read by this.
I went to the panel tonight of adults that have graduated from SUNY Cortland, who are now employed in schools. I found this whole event to be very interesting and helpful to me as a potential English teacher candidate for these schools someday. The best information that I can recall from this event is to have an interesting cover letter. A lot of what the panelists talked about was the cover letter to your resume. They said that they want us to “get to the point.” They want to know why we would be good for their students at their school. Another major aspect that they talked about was proofreading. They said that if there were proofreading errors on the cover letter that the candidate is already in the “no” pile. I learned a lot of useful information from listening to these people talking about their real life experiences and in a sense I feel more prepared for what is to come when it is my time to look for a job.
In school were you ever able to choose the book you wanted to read? I was never able to. I keep thinking that if I was able to read what I wanted, I would’ve actually read. In high school I did not even read the Sparknotes for the books we read, and if we had to read a chapter in class I pretended to read it. My whole high school career I got by not reading a single thing, but what if I got to choose a book I was interested in would I have read? I probably would’ve read. Right now I’m reading more than I ever have in my life. I love getting to choose what I am reading.
This brings me to saying when I get my first job, I will be sure to let my students have some choice in what they want to read. Maybe I will even do a book club once a week like we do in one of my classes. When I first started this year in my classes I was a firm believer of cannon texts and whole class novels. I thought that is the way it should be, but now I am moving towards choice in books for students. I always think back to me in high school and then my mind is made up that choice is needed!!!
I really enjoy being in a classroom this semester to observe students language and the way they interact. Being in a classroom has shown me how to actually “teach.” Right now the students are working on argumentative writing. Writing seems to be a big focus in the school district that I am placed in. If someone was to ask me what I wrote in high school I wouldn’t be able to tell you. Not that we didn’t write because I’m sure we did, it was just not a literacy practice that was stressed.
As time progresses, I think that the focus will be more and more not only on reading but writing as well. Like writing, I cannot tell you one book that I actually read in high school. In the classroom I am observing the stress is also on reading as well as writing. The teacher I am observing creates a lot of text sets and then partners the text sets with writing assignments.
So far I am learning so many new things about literacy practices, literacy events, and literacy frameworks in this classroom, and I love it!
I often wonder how I will be able to be in control of a classroom, and I often wonder about what my classroom management skills will be like. I was looking at some articles and found this one: http://articles.latimes.com/2009/dec/14/local/la-me-classroom-control14-2009dec14. It talks about how classroom management it “the hardest skill.” This doesn’t make me feel any better about my classroom management skills, but it raises even more questions.
In the article, it states “Some will have an innate ability to run their classrooms, others will struggle their first years. No one can predict how they will fare until they are given the keys to their first classroom.” This makes me nervous for my first classroom. Will I have it or not? There is no way to really prepare for classroom management you just have to let the students know “you mean what you say.”
Once I have my first classroom I will know more of how I will have classroom management I hope!