Monthly Archives: March 2011

It’s Been A While…

It’s been over half a year since I touched this blog, and that needs to change starting right now. It’s been a pretty eventful 6 months, so I think I’m going to start blogging again by documenting little snippets, from Kobe growing up to school/work news, and whatever else comes to mind. Be on the lookout!

A side note: If you are a SF Giants fan, please go get a copy of the book by Andrew Baggarly (Giants beatwriter) called “A Band of Misfits.” It’s a must read. If you’re like me, someone that follows Baggs’ blog on the Merc news site, you should have already been done with the book like me.

Reading this book gave me the chills, re-living the experience all over again.

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Transitioning from 3rd to 1st Grade

My spring break was pretty relaxing, but now we are back at school and in full swing of things again. We just found out our new placements, I’m in 1st grade now at Florence. I’m happy that I have good friends to carpool with to school and debrief with afterward. I’m also excited to get Rusty as a supervisor.

We went to orientation and stayed in the classroom all day today. It’s definitely a big change!! My new cooperating teacher is really nice. She says that she used to be a reading specialist, so she’s really strong in the reading/language arts area, so I’m excited to see what I can learn from her expertise in that area. On the other hand, she says that she’s not so strong math-wise.. She uses the InVision curriculum/program and basically just follows from there. She says she doesn’t like it as much and it’s a new program that the school is doing, they used to have Harcourt? Anyway, the students right now are using counters, determining which color has more and which color has less. How many more? How many less, that kind of stuff. I think it will be interesting to observe her teach math and how to work with the curriculum/program that’s given to us, and maybe I can find some way to do more in math.

The kids. They are bouncing off the walls! It’s kind of crazy! There are 24 in our classroom, 12 girls and 12 boys. In this classroom, it’s about 50% second language learners. The girls are very sweet, they don’t even know me, but they love that I am here and they are already giving me hugs on the first day. Some of the boys are kind of crazy and they are already trying to test me and trick me! While the teacher is doing some guided reading with 4-5 students, she has the rest of the students do centers/stations, there are about ten stations going all at once, 2 students per station, but it’s like the room blew up! The students got their materials and some got to work, but some of the others were definitely off-task, “helping” each other, unfocused, and they were all over the room. I probably would have it more structured and organized. I know it’s going to take time for the students to recognize me as a student teacher and that I have the same authority, but those boys are trying to trick me already!

It’s been an interesting day and the next 11 weeks will definitely be a challenge and an adventure!

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Halfway done with Graduate School

It’s been a long, long, long time since either of us have posted and I’m going to try to update this thing whenever I can!

For the last two quarters, I’ve been at the same school, Carrillo Elementary in San Marcos. It was such a nice school, good neighborhood, awesome teachers and staff, i had the BEST teacher everrrr, learned so much from her, real bright kids, involved parents.. it was seriously the best first placement ever. I feel like, before I was in the program, I already had plenty of experience tutoring or doing Reading Stars and teaching here and there. I thought that I already had the basics down and wasn’t sure what I was going to really learn in grad school, but I feel like I’ve learned A TON and I feel like I still have so much to learn, but i’m 1/2way done with my program!! I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is classroom management, which is still the hardest thing for me, but I feel like I’ve had good role models and now I have more strategies! My teacher, Mrs. Martin was seriously the best mentor ever, I enjoyed watching her teach and she has a lot of good ideas that I’m going to remember and use in the future. Her teaching style is pretty similar to me but its so refined and I just want to be like her!

This quarter, I feel like I have accomplished a lot. For the undergraduate EDS classes, I was just a mentor, and TA in classrooms, just helping out the teacher and being an extra helping hand. I never really had to teach, just observed someone else teach. This quarter, I’ve actually gotten to be a teacher. We had to plan and teach the lessons and then do assessments too. Even though Mrs. Martin is in the room, she’s sitting on the side just taking notes, and not helping me at all. I am really the teacher in the class, so I have to worry about time and pacing, my lesson, watching the students, monitoring, etc etc. At first it’s a lot to handle, and I feel like I’m getting the hang of it and getting better at it. I’ve had a lot of fun teaching the lessons.. I’ve been really involved in teaching math lessons… I did a lot with fractions, and my students and I had some interesting discussions about where fractions belong on a number line. I also had some exciting science lessons: there was one lesson where we explored bird beak adaptations.. so some birds have strong short beaks so they can crack seeds, pelicans have long scoopy beaks so they can catch fish and filter out the water, hummingbirds have long thin beaks to get nectar, and eagles have sharp beaks so they can tear meat apart. We did a simulation and the kids really enjoyed it! I also did another science rotation where we explored fossils and extinction. I think that teaching language arts is okay… nothing too brilliant, I feel like its the same as what we’ve done when we were in elementary school. And history/social studies has been interesting too.. I thought that it’d be kind of boring and dry, but I managed to do a history/social studies sequence about the 3 branches of government that turned out well. We researched presidents and made posters, we discussed, debated and voted on a bill (like congressmen), and then we learned about the Little Rock Nine and about the plessy vs ferguson and brown v board of education cases. Overall, I feel a lot more like I can be a teacher in a classroom of 30 students, and I don’t feel like a TA anymore.

On the last day, the kids all wrote letters to me and they made it into a book for me. They also made me an apron and they all wrote their names with glitter glue on it. Super cute!! I admit it, I teared up a little when I told them I’d miss them so much and had to say goodbye! It’ll be interesting to see where I go next quarter.. it’ll probably be very different, and challenging.. and it’ll be interesting to see if I can apply what I learned this past quarter to wherever I’m placed this upcoming quarter. I’ll let you know =)

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