Thursday, July 30, 2015

My Summer Takeaways

I walked into this practicum very nervous and unsure of my ability to make any impact professionally and in the lives of my students.  However, I am walking out a completely changed teacher and individual.  This experience has changed me in countless ways, but most importantly, it has reconfirmed my commitment to teaching and working with students with special needs.  I feel all of us coming out of the program are forever changed by our students we have had the pleasure of teaching, and realize how “special” these students really are.

My takeaways:
·      I learned the goals I set for my students were too lofty and that I overestimated the amount of trials I could complete given the timetable I had.  I learned that students learn at their own pace.  Therefore, students need time to build their skills before I could assess their mastery of those skills according to their goals. 
·      I realized my goals should start small and build upon each other.   I now have a better since of reality in understanding how much can be accomplished and how age and developmental level needs to be factored into setting goals.
·      I really struggled initially with honing in on what prerequisite skill set my children are coming into the program with and knowing what assessments to use to provide information about the areas of need my students require.  I feel more specific information across math, writing, and reading from the students previous teachers is necessary and essential to ensure we as teachers can best hit the ground running. 
·      Teaching this class exposed me to how important daily progress monitoring is for lesson planning and working towards goals.  I was able to teach my students necessary skills based on my assessments I gave throughout each lesson. 
·      Even though I wanted all my students to reach and exceed their goals, I know Ms. Heatly and I were able to provide our students with a positive learning experience and social growth that goes way beyond the goals we set out for them.  Our class had such a strong sense of community.   It was great to experience how much all the students cared for each other and bonded inside and outside of class. 

·      Phonics instruction was a common thread for all my students.  I wish I would have spent more time on phonics instruction as it is an essential skill for reading and writing. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Reading Lesson Reflection

Reading Lesson Reflection
                                                                                                                                                                                                Jamie Gougarty
Date Taught:
Monday, July 27th, 2015 from 8:45 to 10:05 am

Lesson Topic:  S.T.O.R.Y Elements
Students will learn about the five story elements based on their instruction level.  As readers, the students will learn to improve their comprehension by identifying and understanding the story elements within a text.  They will also learn that being able to retell a story based on these elements helps them with their comprehension skills.  

What went well:
               My goal for the lesson was to have the students learn and retain the five story elements using the “Picture it” method.  They students really enjoyed being able to learn about the elements as if they were mixing all the ingredients to make delicious soup or story.   They also enjoyed being able to draw the story elements as opposed to writing about them.  My lesson was written using a multi-sensory approach.  This lesson included song, read aloud story, props, and visual aides. 

               My greatest success for this lesson was in my execution of teaching the lesson.  I was able to remain calm and collected and follow the lead of my students.  They controlled the instructional pace which allowed them the ability to process the content and made their learning more meaningful.

What did not go as planned:
Last week, I feel the amount of activities diluted the lesson as well as my anxiety made me rush through my lesson.  This week I learned to allow my lesson to marinate within the students.  This meant my students had time to process information and learn the material at their pace.  Despite my improvements from last week, I still need to work on using appropriate vocabulary and being deliberate and purposeful in my selection of lesson activities.  I always want to create the best lesson, but I learned that is not what is important, as it is all about student learning.

How to change for subsequent lessons:
I want to work on deepening my students comprehension skills within and beyond the text.  However, this lesson helped set the foundation for subsequent lessons in which students made text to text connections and text to self connections.

Comments from university supervisor:
Room for improvement:
·      Still need to work on using developmentally appropriate language and vocabulary to ensure it is not over the students’ head. 

·      My instructional pace made improvements from last week, but this is still an area that needs more refinement.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Writing Lesson Reflection
                                                                                                                                                                                                Jamie Gougarty
Date Taught:
Tuesday, July 21st, 2015 from 10:45 to 11:15 am

Lesson Topic:  Writing Complete Sentences
Students will use the sentence buddy template as a visual guide to create a sentence that has correct punctuation and capitalization.   The advanced learners will review nouns and verbs as well as make a compound sentence using conjunctions such as “because” as it relates to cause and effect taught in reading.                                                                                                                                                                                                               

What went well:
My lesson plan was written in a way to include an assessment of the information I was teaching.  My goal for the lesson was to have the students learn and retain the components of a complete sentence (a beginning capital letter, a complete thought, and an ending punctuation.  Also, my lesson was written using a multi-sensory approach.  The lesson included a song, movements, and a visual aide to help the students understand the concept of a complete sentence using a Sentence Buddy.  All six of the participating students showed mastery in writing a complete sentence. 

What did not go as planned:
This lesson did not go as smoothly as my last lesson, because I tried to incorporate too many activities for the allotted time of the observation.  I should have allowed two class periods for the material I presented.  This caused me to rush through the lesson, which did not allow the children enough time to absorb all the information that I taught.  Also, with the time constraint, I did not give students enough time to process the task well enough to do it independently during the whole-group instruction. I was impulsive in that I completed the task for them.   I need to learn to self-regulate my instructional pace.  

How to change for subsequent lessons:
I will work on having more realistic time stamps and fewer activities in a given lesson.  However, this lesson helped me identify areas of written expression that I will address in future lessons.

Comments from university supervisor:
Room for improvement:
·      Break lesson into two lessons.  Too many activities for a 35 minute lesson block. 
·      Still working on using developmentally appropriate language and vocabulary to ensure it is not over the students’ head. 
·      I need to learn ways to slow my instructional pace.  For example, take a deep breath or have a signal given by a co-teacher.

Positive Compliments:
·      Differentiated instruction for the various students based on their learning needs and goals. 
·      Lesson was multisensory and students enjoyed the use of manipulatives.
·      Be careful not to complete tasks for my students when they need time to process.  This may hinder their desire to volunteer.
·      Effective use of questioning for students and classroom management.
Enjoyed my use of compliments to the children

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Math Lesson Reflection

                                                                                                                                                                                      Lesson Topic:

Place Value
Students will use base ten blocks to learn the concepts of place value in the ones, tens, and hundreds place depending on their level of instruction.  Some students will also learn how to write two or three digit numbers in expanded form while others learn to exchange ten units for a rod.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Date Taught:

Monday, July 13th, 2015 from 8:45 to 9:15 am

What went well:
Initially, I felt nervous about teaching this lesson given the various instructional levels of the students and my lack of teaching experience, however, when I realized learning was occurring with my students, my nerves subsided.  From this moment, I felt my lesson went smoothly and learning was occurring.  One of the reasons for my success was in the way I structured the lesson and broke the learning tasks into digestible units that built upon each other.  This was achieved by using the 5E learning cycle.  Another reason my lesson was successful was because I designed it to be multisensory.  This played to the strengths of each of my students while engaging them in a meaningful way.   Lastly, my lesson was beneficial to me as well as the students, because it allowed me to gain valuable insight into their mathematical ability that had not been evident up until this point.  I discovered I had to go back and reteach basic foundational skills to develop their number sense for half of my students.

What did not go as planned:
I learned that with this population of students who have been diagnosed with learning disabilities and/or emotional behavioral disorders, processing time is slower and needs to be adhered to.  I was too quick to offer additional assistance and model for them.   I need to work on using appropriate vocabulary when teaching this group of students.   Lastly, I learned I need to break goals down into smaller elements so that I can appreciate the progress their making. 

How to change for subsequent lessons:
I will work on the problems I identified above.  I have been able to strategically differentiate my math instruction this week in order to help my students build skills appropriate needs and abilities. 

Comments from university supervisor:
·       Break instructions into small digestible pieces, one task at a time
·       Use developmentally appropriate language and vocabulary to ensure it is not over the students’   head. 
·       Enjoyed my use of compliments to the children.
·       Effective use of questioning and modeling for students.
·       Used a word wall and anchor charts for the students to reference throughout the lesson. 
·       Differentiated instruction for the various students based on their learning needs and goals. 

·       Lesson was multisensory and students enjoyed the use of manipulatives.  The students learned how to move from concrete objects to symbolic representation then finally to numeric form.