Last Wednesday (October 29) I facilitated my second solo lesson. Once again, I was pleasantly surprised with how well it went, because it was (for the third week in a row) during the very last period of a day when the students have no Phys Ed and are quite antsy by the time 2:30 rolls around. Also, my co-op teacher left for the day at lunch time, so there was a substitute teacher for the afternoon.
Aside from my Art/Health lesson, our co-op also assigned my partner and I a small reading group to lead during the Daily Five after lunch. I was happy to have the chance to guide one of the groups during their reading.
As for my lesson, the Set and Closure were strong, but the Development was a bit chaotic. Basically, the students learned a piece of choreography in the Set (taught by me), then broke into small groups during the Development and were given the task of making up their own choreography for a chunk of the lyrics, and finally came together to learn all the parts of the song and perform the whole dance as a class. The parts of the lesson where the students were actually learning the choreography and dancing went extremely well – such an energetic class really benefitted from having the chance to get up and move at the end of the day.
Below is the song that the class choreographed. I think it is so cute and fun! The lyrics are simple for students to understand/read and there is a lot of room for creativity with the choreography.
However, the middle part of the lesson where the students had to gather in small groups, listen for instructions, and work together to choreograph their piece of lyrics was not as smooth. The students got very noisy and I could not get their attention back without the help of the sub. A few of the groups had trouble working together and incorporating everyone’s ideas equally. Although this part of the lesson didn’t go as expected, I am still glad that I tried it. Maybe the Grade 3s just need more practice with group work. Or perhaps this was just a bad choice for an end-of-day task. It may have worked better if I had just taught the students moves for the entire dance, but that would have taken away all of the student creativity, cooperation, and collaboration that was essential to the lesson.
I found it a bit surprising that this was the first day that I actually felt quite tested by the students on some occasions. I am a patient person, but at times during the day, I had to admit that I was frustrated. This was an important learning moment for me, because, of course, all teachers will become frustrated with their students at some point, yet I always have this idea that teaching is magical and will go perfectly. Letting go of some of these idealized notions has been a big part of my pre-internship experience. Having students test your patience does not mean you are a failure, it means you are human and so are they. It isn’t whether you are frustrated or not, but how you handle the frustration.
Next week, I am doing the whole class reading activity before the students break into their small groups during the Daily Five session. I am excited and nervous to teach an English Language Arts lesson on Cause and Effect, especially because I am trying something a little different; my co-op usually plays an e-book for the students, as she has found that they don’t listen during a carpet time reading. I have decided to have a projectable book on the board, and attempt to keep the students engaged by having them do actions that go along with the book. I will be sure to let you know how it goes!
Until then, thanks for reading!