Monday, April 6, 2009

Week Before Easter Break

This past week (March 31st) I was placed into a different classroom. I was placed with the Infant I class, the students are all five years old. There were fifteen students in the class. The first day I observed my teacher, and would get involved throughout the day. The next three days, it was my turn to develop some lessons. Prior to moving to this class, I was very limited with constructivism activities. In fact I was asked to follow all lessons from a book. Not this week! The teacher gave me permission to teach lessons the way I would like, given the limited supplies provided. I was very excited about this, and ready for the students to be more involved throughout the lessons. I began each day with some songs. We would sing a 'good morning' song to each other every morning and then songs about the days of the week and months of the year. I had to play the songs from my laptop because we did not have a CD player in the classroom, but the students really seemed to enjoy the songs! I had them out of their seats doing hand gestures and movements, this was something completely new to them.

Throughout the week we used paint to paint different shapes on paper, scissors (which was new to them) to cut out shapes, markers to help draw a story, and they even were able view information about dinosaurs on my laptop. This was really exciting for all the students, and I was happy to see how successful the lessons were going. At first we had to go over how to use the paint, scissors and computers because they had new had experience with it. It was clear by the facial expressions, they were all very excited!

In the US we really stress reading and writing onto children. In fact some of the writing the students practice is imaginative or written from a prompt given by the teacher. I really like to give students a writing prompt and have them develop a story about it. So I decided to try this with the Infant I class. The prompt was 'When I grow up I want to be...' I began the lesson by brainstorming with the students some ideas about what people are when they grow up. The common answers I received were teacher, nurse, police officer, doctor and fisherman. I pretended I wanted to be a nurse. So I told them they needed to draw a picture first with lots of details of what they wanted to be. On the board, I drew a picture of an ambulance, nurse, and hospital. I made sure to show the students how I added a lot of detail (clothes, hair, eyes, stethoscope, red cross, etc). Then after the picture was completed, I began to write the sentences. I explained that the students needed to have a minimum of three sentences. The students helped me develop my sentences on the board. After the demonstration was completed, I gave each student a piece of paper and told them they could begin drawing their pictures. Once the pictures were completed they could begin to write their three sentences. The students had the most difficult time doing this. I quickly discovered the students do not ever write from prompts or imagination. Everything they write is given to them on the board. Once it is on the board they are expected to copy exactly word for word. I found this very interesting, because at home I did a lot of prompt writing with the students. After the lesson, I sat with the teacher and we discussed the students writing ability. She really liked the idea and I helped her build some lessons she could use in the future using prompts. I feel this is very important to incorporate in any classroom because it allows the students to think on their own. They are allowed to respond freely to the question as long as they answer the prompt.

Overall, it was a very successful week! I really enjoyed incorporating some hands-on activities with the students, and I think they enjoyed them as well!!

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