Fourth Semester Focus Page
Music and PE Page
UW Standards Page
Fourth Semester Goal
xxxxxxMy Focus for this semester regards expanding my Spanish vocabulary. Being in a Bilingual kindergarten and first grade classroom, I wanted to focus on being a better teacher by meeting the needs of my students. In doing so, I felt the need to become more comfortable in my conversational Spanish.
xxxxxBelow you will find connections to a few of the UW teaching standards, five of the most important parts of my philosophy as well as a video clip from a lesson I taught relating science (the solar system) and physical education. Below the video there is a transcription in both English and Spanish. There is also an analysis and evaluation of my video clip and its relation to my focus and philosophy.
Connections to the UW Teaching Standards
- Standard 3 - Demonstrates Sophisticated
Curricular Knowledge: Teachers understand the
central concepts, assumptions, tools of inquiry, ways of reasoning,
uncertainties, and controversies of the disciplines that they teach
- Due to the abstract thinking that must come when students learn about the solar system, I created a lesson that provided my kindergarten and first grade students with the opportunity to simulate the sun, moon and Earth using their bodies. Knowing that the solar system is a difficult topic for students to comprehend, I adapted the lesson to fit the needs of my learners.
- Standard 4 - Demonstrates Pedagogical Knowledge in Specific Domains: Teachers are knowledgeable
about the challenges and opportunities that commonly arise as students
develop understanding or competence in particular domains.
- Learning about the solar system is not generally an easy concept for kindergarten and first grade students, it is rather abstract. Therefore, I turned the lesson into an integrated physical education activity. I asked the students to use their knowledge about the different surfaces on the moon, Earth and sun to move their bodies in ways that they would on the surfaces. In addition, students were able to practice the way in which the sun, moon and Earth rotate around each other. This way, students were able to develop a deeper understanding of a subject that is not readily visible or accessible to them using physical activity.
- Standard 7 - Understands and Adapts to Multiple
Forms of Communication:
Teachers understand and
adapt to students’ multiple forms of expressing and receiving experiences,
ideas, and feelings.
- Throughout the lesson, I focused on using multiple forms of communication to best meet the needs of my learners. Not only did I read, show pictures and talk about the lesson, I modeled information and used students as models as well.
- Standard 10 - Employs Varied Instructional Strategies:
Teachers understand and use a variety of
instructional strategies to enhance students’ learning.
- I focused on using multiple forms of instruction to best meet the needs of my learners. Not only did I read, show pictures and talk about the lesson, I modeled information and used students as models as well. In addition, I used multiple instructional strategies where student listened to a story about the activity and they were actively doing the activity in both groups and individually. By teaching the same information in different ways, I am meeting the needs of every student and enhancing student learning.
- Standard 12 - Accommodates All Students:
Teachers design educational environments
and use instructional practices that accommodate students’ achievements,
strengths, challenges, interests, and ways of learning.
- In order to accommodate for all students, one must design instruction to meet the needs of all learners. In order to do so, I used multiple forms of instruction where students were actively engaged in doing the activity individually, in groups, and also where students were sitting quietly listening to a story. In doing so, students were able to verbally and visually see the information I was presenting; but, they were also able to practice or learn by doing. Hopefully, I was able to accommodate for the different ways my students learn.
- Standard 13 - Is a Reflective Practitioner - Teachers are reflective practitioners who
evaluate the effects of their assumptions, choices and actions on
others (students, parents/guardians, and other professionals in
the learning community) and who actively seek out opportunities
to grow professionally. They examine assumptions embedded
in ways of thinking and in familial, institutional, and cultural
lore and practices.
- After reviewing the video I took of myself teaching, I had many realizations about the way I teach. Taking video of my teaching and reviewing it is one of the best ways for me to learn about myself as a teacher and how I can better my skills.
5 Main Points From My Teaching Philosophy
- I value and encourage communication between parents, teachers, faculty and staff.
- I view myself as well as the students as learners in the classroom which includes learning through discovery or experimentation.
- I plan to know my students and want to create a curriculum that engages them and involves their lives, interests, needs, etc.
- I look forward to creating integrated lessons and utilizing differentiated instruction.
- My main goal in teaching is to help my students learn to love learning and to love coming to school.
This short clip is from a movement lesson on the Solar System. Watch for the different ways I communicate, the participation of students, and who is learning. Below is a transcription in both Spanish and English.
Transcription of the Video Piece:
Yo: ¿Cómo mueve en el sol? ¿Quiere tocar la…um… el sol? ¿Quiere tocar la…
Yo: Sí. ¿Es de fuego, no? ¡No quiero tocar el fuego! Estamos a mover como así (Les doy un ejemplo), como esto.
Estudiantes: ::están hablando::
José Jesús: ¡No quiero quemar!
Yo: Sí, no queremos quemar. Si estamos en la luna, no es fácil para caminar en la luna porque, si yo peso, ¿pesa?, 100 libras en la luna o en la tierra, voy a pesar 20 libras en la luna.
Yo: (leyendo el libro) Dice… The astronauts liked walking on the moon. They did not weigh very much because gravity on the moon is less than it is on the Earth. La gravedad en la luna es más baja que en la Tierra. So, because gravity on the moon is low, the astronauts could take giant steps. They bounded up and down but their space suits were bulky and awkward. It was hard for them to walk.
Yo: So, if you’re on the moon, vamos a caminar más lento. Es más difícil para mover. (Les doy un ejemplo de como alguien va a caminar en la luna.) Como esto. ¿Entienden?
Me: How does someone move on the sun? Do you want to touch the… um… sun? Do you want to touch the….
Me: Yes. It's fire, right? I don't want to touch the fire! We are going to move like this (I give an example), this like.
José Jesús: I don't want to burn!
Me: Yes, we don't want to burn! If we are on the moon, it's not easy to walk on the moon because, if I weigh 100 pounds on the moon or on the Earth, I am going to weigh 20 pounds on the moon.
Me: (Redding the book) It says… The astronauts liked walking on the moon. They did not weigh very much because gravity on the moon is less than it is on the Earth. The gravity on the moon is much less than on the Earth. So, because gravity on the moon is low, the astronauts could take giant steps. They bounded up and down but their space suits were bulky and awkward. It was hard for them to walk.
Me: So, if you’re on the moon, we will walk much slower. It's much harder to move. (I give them an example of how someone would talk on the moon.) Like this. Do you all understand?
Analysis and Evaluation of the Lesson and Video
The piece I selected to discuss from my lesson, Moving throughout the Solar System, is incredibly short, but it tells a lot about me as a learner and a teacher. If somebody only saw this one and a half minutes of my lesson, it would look as though I was teaching in a way that completely contradicts my philosophy of education. In the clip, I am doing a lot of the talking and my students do not appear to be actively engaged. However, before this section of the lesson, the students were orbiting and acting like the Sun, Moon and Earth. After this brief lecture, students were actively engaged in moving as though they were on the three different surfaces (Sun, Moon and Earth). This clip is the transition between the two activities I had planned for the day.
The first thing I noticed as I watched this video was Giselle. This is the little girl sitting in the back of the group who was raising her hand for a long time as I was explaining things and reading the book. I can honestly say that I did not even notice her as I was teaching! I watched this video and felt horrible! I could not believe that I was able to simply ignore her – though I never saw her. This made me realize that I need to be more aware of my students. While I am still learning how to teach in Spanish and I was nervous about being video taped and observed, I need to remember that I am doing this for my students, not for me.
The next thing that stands out is how I am a learner with my students. When I was trying to talk with the students about the three different surfaces, I couldn't think of how to say "surface" in Spanish. The girl in the front row helped me remember a word for "floor" (suelo) which helped me a great deal. This not only applies to my focus for the semester (by increasing my vocabulary) but also applies to my philosophy. I want to be seen as a learner with my students. There was an earlier point in this lesson where I needed the students to back up so that I could model our orbit activity. Similar to the word for "surface," I could not think of how to ask students to back up.
After I taught my lesson, I was talking to me cooperating teachers about my Spanish skills. I learned that they normally use "háganse para atrás" which means "make oneself go backwards." Then, I learned that they too would have had trouble using the word "surface." They both agreed that "superficie" for "surface" is a Spanish word that the kids probably weren't acquainted with. Thus, using "suelo," as brought up by Lorena, was a good choice. It's interesting to see how different an academic vocabulary (that I've learned at UW) is from the regular spoken vocabulary in schools or in the daily lives of the Latino/a community. I'm working hard and creating various vocabulary lists to help me attain a better speaking vocabulary – "háganse para atrás" and "superficie" have definitely been added to those lists!
Another great thing about this lesson is the multiple ways in which I communicated with and presented information for my students. In describing the ways to move on each surface, I provided students with an example. Modeling is a great way for students to get a better idea of something that has been discussed or talked about – it makes things more concrete. Another thing I did was use a book with pictures in it. Due to the fact that I knew the students didn't know much about gravity, I was able to find a children's book to help make the idea more understandable. The only problem is that there weren't any books about solar systems or the moon readily available in Spanish. So, I decided to try and translate the book as I read it. This helped the students better understand the concept. Finally, though it's not specifically shown in this clip, I posed most of my questions in both Spanish and English. This would help the students continue growing bilingually and helps the students who do not know English as well understand my questions and the topic at hand. I also mixed in English to help the first graders continue with their 10% of English each day. In providing all of these different ways of communicating, I was accommodating for all of my students.
Overall, I think it's obvious that this clip doesn't show my best Spanish skills. On the other hand, it shows that I am still learning and working hard towards helping my students learn best. Throughout this entire lesson, it is evident that I'm trying to expand my vocabulary. It is also clear to see the importance of my role in the classroom as a learner along with my students. I will continue to frame my lessons around different forms of communication as well as finding different ways to present information. I also plan to continue collecting vocabulary words from both my students and my cooperating teachers to help me continue to achieve my fourth semester focus.