Part 3: Second Quarter
From Days 11 to 13, I participated in an extended teaching activity. Thus, this summary will differ from past summaries in that I am summarizing all three days in the classroom together to show how this teaching activity extended into all three of these days.
I entered the classroom at the same time the students were completing a “clock project.” They had just heard a story by Mrs. Shapiro about ladybugs and telling time, and were now making “ladybug clocks,” which were pictures of ladybugs with clocks on their bodies instead of wings, and then black wings, which were stapled onto the clocks so that they could move, and thus fly. With the project over, it was Free Time.
Three students—Grace, Brittany, and Erika—had expressed an interest with playing the Monster Mash game I introduced to the class on Day 10. I played three rounds, and Free Time was over. (For more information about the Monster Mash game, you can see my description on the Day 10 essay.)
After the students were done cleaning up, it was Library time. The students went to Library.
After Library time, the students were asked to seat in their rows as Mrs. Shapiro read to them the story “Lonely Firefly,” by Eric Carle. (Mrs. Shapiro has read more stories to the class by Eric Carle than any other author, and has more books written by him than other authors.)
After reading the story, Mrs. Shapiro had her students draw their own fireflies by coloring sheets of paper that had been cut into fireflies. I sat at one of the tables, drawing a firefly in order to show a good example to the students at that table—by using the markers properly so I could show them how to use their markers properly.
Once the students were done with their fireflies, Mrs. Shapiro assigned the students back to their rows, where she read the story “Good Health Habits,” and described ways the students could keep themselves healthy. Once the story was over, it was time to line up for Gym.
After Gym, Mrs. Shapiro read Eric Carle’s “From Head to Toe.”
Once Mrs. Shapiro had finished her story, Mrs. Veerman’s kindergarten students came in dressed up as butterflies, and briefly described how butterflies are born as caterpillars, and how they migrate from North America to Mexico every year. After explaining this to Mrs. Shapiro’s room they went to the rest of the school, describing themselves as butterflies.
This made some of Mrs. Shapiro’s students jealous, who asked Mrs. Shapiro why they did not make butterfly costumes. But Kindergarten was over, and there was no time to be jealous. Mrs. Shapiro did tell them, however, that Mrs. Veerman’s class had been studying butterflies.
An idea came to my mind. Even though Mrs. Shapiro’s class had missed out on dressing up as butterflies, I could create a butterfly-related activity for the students during Free Time. I would bring my laptop. With my drawing program (MS Paint), I had created an outline of a butterfly. I would ask students to color the butterfly, and then I would save each file individually on my laptop. After the butterfly was completely drawn, I would save pictures of the butterfly, moving it up to the top of the screen until it had left the screen. Once this was done, I would take the pictures and put them through Roxio Photo Relay, the software that enables me to animate pictures. I would then show the butterfly, animated on the computer.
On Day 12, I went to the classroom with my laptop, and announced to the students that they would be able to animate a butterfly if they wanted to during Free Time. I explained how animation consisted of taking a picture and making it move, and how many Disney movies that they had seen were animated movies.
However, due to technical difficulties, it took longer than anticipated to start my computer and MS Paint, so by the time I was ready to start drawing the butterfly with the students, all of the students who had waited had lost their patience, and had gone to other activities. However, three students—Ellie, Erika, and Jessica—were willing to draw the butterfly outline when I had gotten the computer working again.
Ellie, Erika, Jessica, and I created 40 frames while coloring the butterfly. Then I created 12 more frames to complete the butterfly’s motion. While coloring the butterfly, I asked them what color they wanted each part of the butterfly to be, and we filled each part together like this: I would click on the color on the color board on the bottom of the screen, and then the student would tap on the touchpad to fill that part of the butterfly after I had positioned the mouse to that part of the butterfly.
When Free Time was over, Mrs. Shapiro seated the students in rows and assigned each student to complete the “Number 1” page in their “Numbers All Around” booklets.
When the students had completed the Number 1 page, Mrs. Shapiro seated the students back in so I could show them the animation of the butterfly, put to the music of a synthesized Shay song, “Shay ’68,” commemorating that Shay Elementary had been built in 1968. With the frames I had made, the animation lasted about 4 minutes. While it was a little too long, it kept the students’ attention. Mrs. Shapiro then told the students that if they wanted to, they could animate other things on my computer in the future.
Since I felt the animation had gone too long, I decided that I would limit future animated shows to no more than 90 seconds and 30 frames appropriately (since my animation software, Roxio Photo Relay, requires approximately 3 seconds between frames to animate each frame).
On Day 13, when I returned with my laptop, I did another animation project with another group of students—Patrick, Alex, and Ken. This time, however, we did not animate a butterfly—we animated two ghosts. After I colored the ghosts in with the students, I put in the 17 frames we had created, and animated the ghosts, creating a slide show of approximately 50 seconds. It was put to a synthesized Halloween song from the GBN Preschool.
After I had shown my butterfly animation, the students went into Mrs. Veerman’s classroom where Dr. Wilkinson had come to talk to them about the upcoming Shay Book Fair, which would be held on November 14, 15, and 20.
While the students were at their book fair presentation, Mrs. Shapiro told me that Brittany had had a memory lapse that day—she had asked Mrs. Shapiro how to write her name for her “Numbers All Around” assignment, and had trouble writing some of the letters in her name. On the other hand, Brittany had changed dramatically since she was kept out of music for 10 minutes—she was no longer aggressive in the classroom. The discipline had gotten through to her.
Once Dr. Wilkinson was done with her book fair presentation, Day 12 was Alex’s birthday, and Alex had brought cookies to share with the class. I was offered a cookie but turned it down due to my food allergies. This caught the attention of the class, and I realized a teaching opportunity had been made—to teach the students about food allergies.
I asked the students if they had any food allergies. One student was allergic to milk, and another student was allergic to peanuts. I explained that I was allergic to gluten, an element found in something called flour. I told them that flour could be found in bread, cupcakes, pancakes, and cookies. I explained how I was allergic to all of these things the way Grace was allergic to peanuts. One student asked me if I was allergic to pasta; I told her yes. I did say, however, that while I was allergic to flour, I was not allergic to rice, and that I could pasta, cookies, and cupcakes that were made out of rice flour.
After Alex’s birthday celebration was over, it was time for the students to go to Gym. I overheard from Mrs. Shapiro that one student was going to miss Music, but then she remembered that it was Gym.
The students lined up for Gym. But Brittany did not line up. Rather, she stayed in her seat. I asked her to line up, but she informed me that Mrs. Shapiro had asked her to stay there. I put two and two together—Mrs. Shapiro had told Brittany that she was missing gym. That’s what I had overheard. Having already see this happen before on Day 11, I realized that Brittany had done something wrong again. But I had just heard Mrs. Shapiro tell me earlier that she was doing much better. So what had she done wrong?
I stayed in the room to supervise Brittany, and did this without being asked by Mrs. Shapiro, as it is another regular job of mine to supervise any kids who cannot go to any “special” class with Mrs. Shapiro and to escort them to the classroom when they are able to. Mrs. Shapiro returned, saw Brittany at the table, and then told Brittany she could go to Gym. Unlike last time, she did not lecture Brittany or discipline her.
This confused me. What had happened? I asked Mrs. Shapiro, who told me that Brittany had been very defiant that day, would not be quiet when asked, and had been very grouchy. As a result, she had to miss 5 minutes of Gym. Mrs. Shapiro hoped this would make an impression on her the way missing 7 minutes of Music did.
On Day 13, after completing the animation of the ghosts with Patrick, Robert, and Ken, the students went to Art. When they returned, Mrs. Shapiro read them the story “Do You Want To Be My Friend?” also written by Eric Carle.
When she finished reading the story, she instructed them to do an assignment called “Draw Your Body.” She had given each student a small sheet of paper, glued with a small headshot of their face. Their assignment was to draw their body from the headshot on the paper.
No students needed my assistance for this assignment, so I went to each table and checked to see if each student was drawing their body. Once the students were finished, they took their pictures and put them in their backpacks. It was then time for Music, so the students lined up after putting their pictures away.
Today was the day before a big day in the classroom—Grandparent’s Day. On Wednesday, November 15, each student was invited to bring one grandparent to the classroom, or a parent if they could not bring their grandparent. Mr. L. had planned a show for the grandparents where the students would sing songs that they had been taught in music, which would be held in the Multi-Purpose Room. Thus, the students had additional music time today—an extra 10 minutes. Mrs. Veerman came to me and asked me to tell Mrs. Shapiro that Music would last until 11:20 today, rather than 11:10.
Since Kindergarten ends at 11:25, after Music class was over, the students got ready to leave, and were dismissed after they were ready to go.