First of all Mrs. Sawatzky, you should see this video because this is what is inspiring me this week.
Just because this is what has inspired me doesn’t mean that this is what I did for my first week of teaching. I think this style of teaching requires a lot of prep work but this is something I want to really try, and hopefully succeed at.
Back to this weeks lesson. If you want to see what I did with Miss. Kelsey Olfert I will direct you to my “Lesson Plans” page at the top and click on the grade six explorers lesson. This was as successful as it could have been. We honestly have the best group of kids who are well behaved and polite, and since we are fairly new still, they caused no problems at all. We did have to ask for their eyes to be at us once and remind them to raise their hands instead of shouting out the answers, but these minor problems were caused by real excitement to share what they knew.
The kids became “experts” on explorers. They were split into groups and each group was assigned an explorer and given questions to answer. Next week the students will share what they learned with the rest of the class. Kelsey and I decided that we wanted to focus on our set and closure. We had a sharing time associated with both so we could really get to know our students more. Kelsey led the set which encouraged kids to tell us of adventures they have had, times on a boat or anything they have ever explored. This was surprisingly a very effective discussion. The only issue that our cooperating teacher pointed out was that we may have cut it too short since we were focused on keeping our lesson moving along. She encouraged us to let moments like a great controlled class discussion that was very applicable to the lesson to go on longer, I guess that’s what they mean by teachable moments. The kids went off and worked on their questions so efficiently. Kelsey and I guided their group work as we moved about the room and it went incredibly smoothly, to our surprise.
There was one moment that stuck out to me more then any other. There is one child in our class named Steven* and he is severely autistic. He is a sweet boy and they try to include him as much as they can in the regular classroom but he is awfully hard to understand as it takes a long time for his brain to form words to come out his mouth. He was put in a group that was working on Henry Hudson. We left it up to the students how they would work through the questions and this group decided that they would read a paragraph each, stopping after each paragraph to answer the questions that were applicable to what they just read. I was overjoyed when I saw Anna* ask Steven to read a small paragraph with two sentences. Although you could hardly understand what he was saying I could tell that he was reading through it very smoothly and all the kids in his group helped him though some of the tougher words. It made me so happy to see in real life what I have been learning in my education classes all along, inclusive education is a benefit to not only the special needs child but to every child around them. That makes me very hopeful.
Truth be told, I was nervous. But as I said before, it could not have gone any better.
Waiting for next week,