Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Observation #3-Math AND Conclusion of Summer Learning Place

Lesson Topic: Introducing Fractions-Math Lesson
I taught a lesson introducing fractions: what they look like, how to write a fraction, and parts of a fraction.  First, I introduced fractions by pre-assessing what my students thought the different parts of fraction were.  I wrote fractions on the board and either pointed to the numerator or the denominator.  For each example, my students were to do the follow: they would sit on top of the desk if they thought I pointed to the numerator, and they would sit underneath their desk if they thought I had pointed to the denominator.  For the mini-lesson, I modeled what fractions look like given a specific fraction.  I also modeled how to write a fraction only given the visual representation.  Additionally, I gave each student a slip of paper with a fraction on it.  With the slip of paper, each student was to go to the board and draw/shade what they thought the fraction looked like.  We then went over each example as a class.  For the lesson closure, students completed an ice cream sundae fraction activity.  For the activity, students had to have ten scoops of ice cream with an array of flavors.  After creating their ice cream sundae, the students had to represent each flavor with a fraction of how many scoops each flavor had.                                                                                                                                                                                   
Date Taught: Tuesday, July 28, 2015

What went well: I think that students really understood the parts of a fraction, and they were able to show their understanding of fractions both in numbers and with pictures.  Most students also participated quite well during the lesson, especially when it came to writing answers on the white board.  Additionally, our student who usually requires the most attention was able to complete his work with minimal assistance.

What did not go as planned: Some of our older students did not really want to participate during the lesson opening.  They were reluctant to sit on top or sit underneath their desks to demonstrate where numerators and denominators are located within a fraction.  I was disappointed with their reaction since I tried very hard to incorporate something kinesthetic for them to be more engaged.  

How to change for subsequent lessons: I do not foresee ever teaching math again, so I don’t think I’d make changes to this particular lesson.  However, I will try to incorporate more engaging activities for the lessons I teach in my geography and world history classes for the upcoming school year.

How my expectations changed over the last four weeks: The last four weeks have been an interesting experience.  It has solidified why I teach a content-specific class in high school.  This experience has also opened up my eyes in regards to my future endeavors in education.  Yes, I am more prepared to teach students in the general education setting; however, I do not feel prepared enough to teach a resource or self-contained class upon graduation.  I have enjoyed working with our students and seeing them grow, but it is disheartening to know that some of our students will struggle with content this upcoming school year.  Lastly, I think that I would have been more effective if the class was not spread out with grade levels.  I feel like some of my teaching was ineffective since it was difficult to find a middle-ground for our students (ranging from fifth to tenth grades).  

Monday, July 20, 2015

2nd Observation-Writing

Lesson Topic: Nouns vs. Verbs-Writing Lesson
I taught a lesson about the different types of nouns and how nouns are different from verbs.  The pre-assessment for the lesson was identifying nouns versus verbs.  I gave each student seven index cards with various verbs, proper nouns, and common nouns.  Each student was then asked to deposit each of their index cards in labeled brown lunch baggies.  We then went over if the index cards in the bags were correct.  For the mini-lesson, I offered definitions of verbs, common nouns, and proper nouns.  Students also offered examples of each type.  The students then completed a noun versus verb worksheet, and we went over the answers as a class.  Lastly, the students were given five blank sticky notes and were asked to create their own examples of verbs, proper nouns, and common nouns.  After completing this exercise, the sticky notes were given to another student where they had to distinguish among verbs, proper nouns, and common nouns.  This was done on the white board.  A discussion followed.                                                     
Date Taught: Monday, July 20, 2015

What went well: I think that students understood the difference between a proper noun and common noun very well.  They even provided examples very willingly without much prodding.  There was great participation throughout the lesson, and it appeared that the students were pretty engaged.  I am glad that I added kinesthetic activities during the lesson in order to keep engagement up.  Two out of the five students present earned a 100% on the lesson closure; whereas the other three students scored an 80% on the lesson closure.  Since the goal was for 80% accuracy, all five students met this goal. 

What did not go as planned: There were two students who were absent, so I had to give students more index cards than originally intended.  Some of my students also seemed a little riled up, probably because we had just gotten back from our break.  Additionally, some students seemed a little confused when we changed gears from the different types of nouns to distinguishing nouns from verbs.  As a result of my co-teacher’s redirection, students were able to get back on track. 

How to change for subsequent lessons: I hope to incorporate even more kinesthetic strategies to keep my students engaged in subsequent lessons.  I also need to do a better job of arranging and organizing my lessons in order to decrease the likelihood of student confusion.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Observation #1-Reading


Lesson Topic: Earthquakes and Tsunamis-Reading Comprehension Lesson

I taught a reading comprehension lesson about earthquakes and tsunamis.  Students were asked to complete an ABC list to pre-assess what they already knew about the topic.  We then shared our thoughts.  Students were then asked to read the passage about earthquakes and tsunamis.  As they were reading, students were also filling out more of their ABC lists.  Lastly, students participated in a Wordsplash activity where they wrote anywhere from two to four sentences about earthquakes and tsunamis.                                                                              

Date Taught: Wednesday, 7/15/15

What went well: I think that students understood the two comprehension strategies very well.  They also completed the assignments without much guidance.  I did not have to worry about students not completing their work.  My students’ Wordsplash summary statements seemed very good, especially since my students had never used this strategy before.  Their statements showed that they had comprehended the passage about earthquakes and tsunamis. 


What did not go as planned: I improvised to have students share what they had on their ABC lists with each other, but nobody shared.  As a result, I had to share what they wrote.  Additionally, I had one student who kept putting his head down during the reading portion of the lesson.  I constantly went over to him to try to get him focused on the task.  After trying to focus this students so many times, my co-teacher had to take this student out of the classroom to orally read him the passage. 


How to change for subsequent lessons: I hope to change a few things for future lessons.  First, I need to do more searching for strategies for reading, writing, and math.  Since I teach high school social studies, I have not been privy to such subjects and strategies.  Additionally, I would like to figure out ways to get my students more involved and stay engaged. 

Monday, July 6, 2015


My name is Elizabeth Santos, and I will be teaching Class D at the Summer Learning Place.  I will be focusing on teaching reading, writing, and math to students ranging from 4th to 9th grade.  I will be co-teaching this class with another teacher.  Our classroom schedule is July 7th-July 30th from 8:00 AM to 11:30 AM at Sevier Middle School.  Our daily break time will be 10:10-10:25.

Feelings about the course?

I am excited about working with students over the summer in order to help them gain a better understanding and confidence in subjects that may prove difficult for them.  I am also nervous about this responsibility because I am trained in middle level and secondary social studies.  I want to make sure that I instill the appropriate information to my students in a meaningful way.  Honestly, I am apprehensive about working with such a wide array of students since I am used to teaching 9th and 10th graders.  I am hoping for a great experience, and I hope to learn a lot from my students and their needs.

Three Goals:

1.       Gain an understanding of teaching students with and without disabilities

2.       Help students learn beneficial instructional strategies to help them master reading, writing, and math

3.       Successfully complete the practicum with more understanding about such students to be applied for the upcoming school year


·         Social Studies Teacher (World Geography and World History)-Eastside High School, 2014-present

·         Social Studies Teacher (World Geography)-Laurens District 55 High School, 2011-2014

·         Social Studies Student Teaching (Psychology and Government)-Mid-Carolina High School, Spring 2011

·         SPLASH Summer Camp (Reading, Writing, and Math for Refugee Students)-Summer 2010