We began a new unit in science during the second week of content coaching. This unit is called “Land and Water” and students will be learning about the land, water, and living organisms of Earth. This week focused on the land of Earth—how people use the land and Earth’s natural resources. This week was a shortened week because we had Monday off to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday. Then Tuesday was a non-student day so I came in to help prepare the classroom and take care of organizing student work for upcoming conferences since Conference Night is on Thursday of this upcoming week.
In order to help introduce this unit, I used videos from Nat Geo as well as Brainpopjr. I really love the Brainpopjr resource because the students enjoy watching the characters and the videos ask and answer many key questions. The videos that I used were Rocks and Minerals, Soil and Natural Resources. Theses videos were not in my original lesson plan, but I decided to add them into the lesson during the week in order to meet the needs of my students. I want to make sure that my students are engaged and interested. I remember feeling bored when I learned about rocks in elementary and middle school and I did not want my students to feel the same way. Adding these videos to my lesson helps me meet FEAP 3A, “Deliver engaging and challenging lessons,” by teaching the content through a video with occasional humor but lots of good information. The videos were also a good way for me to meet FEAP 1B, “Sequences lessons and concepts to ensure coherence and required prior knowledge,” because I used the videos to help introduce and review the various topics that we learned about. For example, we watched the Soil and Rocks and Minerals videos after we introduced and discussed how people use Earth’s land. I was also able to meet FEAP 2G, “Integrates current information and communication technologies,” and FEAP 3G, “Apply varied instructional strategies and resources, including appropriate technology, to provide comprehensible instruction, and to teach for student understanding,” by incorporating this technological resource into my lessons.
This week introduced Earth’s land so next week my students will be participating in some exploration lessons while continuing to build upon their knowledge of how we use Earth’s land. I believe it is important to emphasize the importance of Earth’s land because the students need to know how to protect and preserve the land since it is so important. By teaching my lesson in this way, I help the students understand the importance of not only learning the content, but appreciating the world around us. This helps me meet FEAP 3E, “Relate and integrate the subject matter with other disciplines and experiences” because the students can relate their experiences with the land in what they have done and seen with what we discuss. For example, we had a discussion about how people use Earth’s land and a popular answer was that we walk on it. This may seem strange, but it is a way that my students interact with the earth on a daily basis.
Something that I have not done much before but I was able to do during the past week was meet FEAP 3I, “Support, encourage, and provide immediate and specific feedback to students to promote student achievement” and FEAP 4E, “Shares the importance and outcomes of student assessment data with the student and the students’ parent/caregiver(s).” I have graded many assignments and tests in all of my levels of internship, however, on Friday, the students and I worked together to grade two assessments that they had completed. The importance of grading this assessment together was that, for the first time in my class, the students did the entire assessment by themselves—they read and answered all questions by themselves with minimal support from me. My collaborating teacher and I wanted the students to receive immediate feedback on these assessments so the students could see their progress and performance when they are in complete control of the test.
This was an interesting experience because many of my students did well. One student; however, lied during the grading process and changed man of her answers. I was a bit concerned when I saw that she was the only student to receive a perfect score on both tests, especially when multiple questions had their answered erased and changed. I pulled the student aside and talked to her privately about the matter. She admitted that she changed her answers and she got very upset. I explained to her that, as her teacher, I want to see what she knows and what she needs help on because that is how I know what to give her extra support with. I confided in her that I too make mistakes on tests and on my homework, even in my college classes, but that it is okay because that is how we learn and grow. I wanted my student to know that it is okay to make mistakes and that she is not a “bad” student for doing so. Everyone makes mistakes but it is important to be honest so we can learn and grow as learners. I hope that my discussion with her and my personal connection to the experience helps her understand this idea because I want her to do well, but I want that to happen because she earned it, not because she wanted to make me happy.
I am excited for the following week because not only will I continue to take the lead on planning and teaching both Social Studies and Science but I will be taking my certification exams on Wednesday. I am a bit nervous but I have been studying and working hard for a long time and I feel like I am ready to prove myself by taking these exams. Wish me luck!
This is one of the anchor charts that we made as a class to explain how people use Earth’s land. The responses on this chart were all from my students and some of these responses can be traced back to earlier discussions and videos. For example, the response “we can build roads” using rocks and “to make bricks so we can build houses” was in relation to the Nat Geo text and the introduction lesson, which explained that we can use rocks to build roads and houses. The natural resources responses were mostly in relation to the Brainpopjr video about the natural resources of the Earth.Below are screenshots of the Natural Resource video from Brainpopjr, which obviously served as an inspiration for the responses of my students.
“Food” — “fruits” and “vegetables” were two responses.
“Metal” was inspired by the silverware in this video as well as the metal in another Brainpopjr video.
“Water” was another response inspired by the video.
I am very excited that my students responded so well to the video and were obviously engaged while they watched the video. I really love incorporating technology into my lessons but it is important that it is used to its fullest potential and that the students are engaged enough to absorb and apply the information that they learned.