Thursday, March 05, 2009
Out of my comfort zone?
This week at I observed in the morning on Monday, and I learned and observed so much, I almost wish I could've taken notes. :) I arrived in time to be a part of their fourth rotation in the classroom. They have it organized so that each child is pulled from the group for "teacher time" twice a a week, four of the kids are Monday/Wednesday, and four at Tuesday/Thursday. Since there are four rotations, one of the Monday/Wednesday kids was in teacher time, and the rest of the group had calendar time. We sang a song about the days of the week, and my co-op used visuals for the students to point to the different day as it was sung, then they used the Tech Talk Communication Device, so the kids could choose the correct day, and have the device speak the word they chose back to them. It was fun to see the excitement when they consciously chose the right answer. We went through the same thing with the months of the year, singing a song and they asking them to choose the correct month.
After the fourth rotation, they have "song time" with everyone in the classroom, and all the aids. This is the only activity that they can all do together, because several of the children have trouble sitting for long amounts of time, and one of the little boys is not always able to do the other group times. We sang Old McDonald had a farm, and the Steelers song. The kids LOVE song time and were clapping their hands and smiling, even the kids who seemed usually out of it, were involved. Then it was time for lunch. Not all the children in my room go to lunch, one little girl is on a special diet and has to eat food from home, and one boy never eats at school, so they just stayed in the classroom. I went to the lunch room and observed what was going on. It is still amazing to me that every little activity has an objective to help them achieve it at a higher degree. Objectives including using silverware, cleaning up after themselves, trying something they don't like, drinking from the cup, drinking from a straw, the list is endless. At the end of lunch, I helped two boys clean up, both are usually independent, but that wasn't quite what happened to me. The first boy did very well and dumped his leftover food into the garbage and then put his plate in the dirty dishes pile, but the other was having a bad day, and when he went to dump his leftover food into the garbage, he through the entire plate in and I had to get the tongs and pull it out. That made for a little excitement and not having any idea how to handle what happened on my part, but it worked out and I think I will be able to help clean up from lunch better next time. Last, I want to point out that my co-op doesn't consider herself superior to the aids, but she treats them as equals, asks for their advice and rotates on the schedule just like they do. The schedule is a list of the different responsibilities that need to be completed each day, like bath-rooming, teacher time, calendar time, work and bus duty, etc. Each week they switch, so that they are doing something different. My co-op explained that it helps her see the classroom from all the different perspectives and to work on objectives in every situation. Obviously, she does all the lesson planning, the data collection and writes the evaluations for the students, but her attitude towards the aids has a great result in the classroom. When she was on her lunch period, I had an opportunity to talk with one of the aids about how that made her feel, and I think that is something I definitely want to incorporate into my classroom.