Sunday, December 14, 2008

Power of Experience

It has been a long 3 weeks or so since I last updated my blog. Some of you have started to ask me if I have abandoned it - the answer is no, I am still here. There have been times where I have felt like I have been in the background of my own life...or in a (maybe) more concrete explanation - sitting in the back row of my own classroom while at school and analyzing too much of what I do everyday while not at school. It seems like I often express myself more often when things are not quite going the way I would like so I have given off the view that I am not enjoying my second block of practicum, but I really am.

I think that I have really embraced the freedom that I am given in my classroom this time around. I spent some time learning about SMARTboards (including going to a workshop on some of it's basic functions during the PD Day a week ago) and have been using it with my Grade 11 Functions classes for the past two weeks. This has involved learning some new software and being comfortable having some things go wrong in class! I had a definite Murphy's Law day when our school had multiple photo copier issues (on top of the fact that I initially photocopied the wrong handout!) and everything that could go wrong with my laptop and the projector seemed to (never mind the fact that it was a buyout period so a third of my class missed out on Part 1 of a vital lesson). I have also used the graphing calculators in class a few times and we have done some group work. On top of all the technology I have been using the transformations of functions unit as a chance to do a lot of Assessment FOR learning where I have given handouts with prompting questions for my students to take notes on during class that they then take home to help with HW and then hand it in to me the following class to get feedback. It has been quite the adventure with these two classes, but man i have learnt a ton! [I also started using private "wikis" with my classes, but that will be it's own entry once my project and research are complete].

This entry is already way longer than I thought it was going to get, but evidently 3 weeks of not talking has taken its toll! (as I am sure a few people in my life would tell you when I have been in some seriously talkative moods recently). Other tidbits I will include for your enjoyment will be short here, but I think they are things that have been a big part of this block of practicum and will probably play into things I write about in the future:
- Having to give speeches/"yell" at Gr 11 classes about how I am here for them, not myself, and that they will be seriously troubled as this unit progresses if they don't get a thorough understanding of what I am trying to teach them
- Helping coach the Girl's Ice Hockey Team
- Spending time in Student Success learning about some of the inner workings of a school and how amazing these programs could be with the right support
- A student sharing something with you about their lives, just to create conversation
- Getting to spend time with fellow Teacher Candidates at our "meetings" or otherwise and getting to bounce ideas and give suggestions to others (it is so easy to forget how NOT alone you are in this profession!)
- Starting the process of applying to the Ontario College of Teachers and doing some basic research on the application processes for the District School Boards (DSBs) I will be considering

I think that is enough for now... I want to talk about a video clip that was sent to us by one of my curriculum professors at some point, but I will save that for another entry (so maybe it will actually happen soon! but don't count on it, as the Holidays - which means working in my family - are quickly approaching!

Take care and a very Merry Christmas to you all!

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