Day 21


Wednesday, December 13


Except for a few differences, the curriculum planned for the morning and afternoon day was the same. Rather than give a full write-up about the afternoon, I shall basically show how the same lesson played out in the morning versus the afternoon.


          Today was the big day—my all-day teaching with Mrs. Shapiro. I had prepared extensively for it. For my teaching activity, I took some old poster board which I had used as a poster for a business class assignment, tore off all the glued pictures on it, and used the other side to create a game board. The board consisted of numbers, each drawn in the middle of pictures of three-legged insects. I also had prepared myself a lunch to bring to school so I could eat it in the classroom during lunch time. I had arranged to meet Mrs. Shapiro at 8:30, fifteen minutes before school starts. (School hours at Shay are different from GBN: they are from 8:45 to 3:05 for students who ride the bus and 3:10 for people who walk or are picked up by their parents in cars.) I also went to a local pharmacy and bought a disposable camera that I could use to take my pictures.


          When I got to Shay that day, with my poster and my backpack, I received word from the office secretary that Mrs. Shapiro had called in sick today. Having had other “changing circumstances” during my coursework, I decided to stay the course and complete my all-day teaching today, Mrs. Shapiro or not. So the office buzzed me in as usual, and I met Mrs. Seagram, the substitute for that day. I explained who I was and what I was doing only to learn that Mrs. Shapiro had already explained that today was my all-day teaching. She wrote me a letter explaining that I should do what I had planned but also to help the substitute in any way possible. I figured I would need to help her, since I’ve noticed that kids typically try to take advantage of substitutes and trick them into allowing things their regular teacher wouldn’t, and I was right.


          In the morning, between 8:45 and 9:15 in the morning, and 12:30 and 1:00 in the afternoon, times I typically am not in the classroom (except for one exception—Day 8, when I came early to see the reading buddies), there is a morning “ritual” that takes place to start the day.


This is similar to the good morning ritual in Mrs. Nelson’s class, but it is a little more complicated. Like Mrs. Nelson’s class, the day of the week is put on a large calendar, there is a helper that puts the date on the calendar, and Mrs. Shapiro asks the students what day of the week it is. Unlike Mrs. Nelson’s class, there are a dozen helpers who are assigned small jobs, and those assignments change weekly rather than daily.


After the date is placed on the calendar, the temperature of the day is checked with a thermometer which shows the outdoor and indoor temperature (by a student whose job it is to check that) and charted on a bar graph, which is drawn by a student whose job it is to fill in each bar up to the point where the temperature is documented on the graph. After that Mrs. Shapiro announces what day of school it is (from the first day of school in the school year). A number chart is filled that shows how many days of school there have been in the year, as well as a tally sheet that tallies how many days of school there have been in the current month, and a box of pennies that shows, in 100s, 10s, and 1s what day of school it is.


          Sometime shortly after the students are done with their ritual or during, Dr. Wilkinson starts the day with the opening announcements on the PA system. Dr. Wilkinson does the opening announcements like this: she invites two students from a certain class to say “good morning” to the school. Then she announces the events for the day and a song is played to the class that changes daily. Today, the song was called “One Land Out of Many.” After that, the students all stood to recite the Pledge of Allegiance along with the student whose job it was to hold the flag during the Pledge.


          Mrs. Seagram was not familiar with the ritual, so whenever she asked, I told her how the ritual went and what each student was supposed to do if she needed help.


          In the afternoon, the ritual was pretty much the same, and Mrs. Seagram needed the same amount of help locating the students whose jobs it was to do various functions in the ritual. One difference: Dr. Wilkinson does not give the morning announcements (or any announcements) in the afternoon, so the students recite the Pledge alone.


          After the ritual, Amanda and Danielle, two afternoon kindergarten students, read their Little Books to the class while the class sat in rows and then the students were lined up for Gym. They wrote their “Yuk Books” after they returned from Gym.


          After the Pledge, Mrs. Seagram read the story, “Gregory the Terrible Eater,” to the students. It is a story about a monster who is a picky eater who needs to learn how to eat new foods.


          During the story, many students asked if they could get a drink of water from the fountain in the classroom. Mrs. Seagram said no, and was right in doing so: Mrs. Shapiro would never allow a student to get a drink of water, and the students would never have asked her to do that during a story.


          In the morning, Once Mrs. Seagram finished her story, she assigned each student to their table so they could complete another writing activity—“The Yuk Book.” This activity was almost the same as the previous “Yum Book” activity except the sentence each student was asked to complete was not “I like” but “I don’t like.” Thus, they had to write three foods they did not like and draw pictures of them in their booklet.


          Once the students began completing their “Yuk Book” booklets, I went to each table to see if any student needed help. Erika asked for help first, and needed help spelling the word “spinach.” So did Brittany and Peter. In fact, almost every student in the class included spinach as one of their three foods. So many students asked Mrs. Seagram or I how to spell spinach that Mrs. Seagram wrote on the board how the word “spinach” is spelled so the students could refer to the board if they wanted to know how to spell it. After spinach, I helped Brittany write the words cantaloupe and avocado—two other foods she did not like.


          In the afternoon, I helped five students spell out words in their “Yuk Books”—Maggie, Jessica, Anton, Chris, and Danny. Interestingly, the foods they did not like were the same as in the morning class—avocadoes and spinach. Mrs. Seagram forgot to write the word spinach on the chalkboard for the students to refer to when spelling the word spinach, so I wrote it for her.


          In the morning, For my “Number Swat” lesson I brought a large sheet of poster board which I had created into a board game I called “NUMBER SWAT.” (You can refer back to Day 21 for a more detailed analysis of the game.) I took the game out at set it standing at the front of the classroom. I announced I was ready to play this game. I played it with Grace, Alex, Jane, Patrick, David, and Ellie for the rest of free time. We played two games. First, Grace won, and then Jane won. The board I created is now in Mrs. Nelson’s room and I have given it to her as a Christmas present to be used in the future as part of the preschool curriculum.


          While I played the Number Swat game, Mrs. Seagram had put two bottles of shaving cream on the “Free Time” table and told the students they were free to play with the shaving cream if they wanted. The students liked it so much that they used up all of the shaving cream. Thus, Mrs. Seagram had to return home during lunch to get some more.


          In the afternoon, while I did play the same game with Maya, Maggie, and Amanda, three afternoon students, I used my computer as the board rather than the board game. This was because the afternoon students wanted to play on my computer, so I showed them my “computer” version of my NUMBER SWAT game. I played it the same way except the students tapped numbers on my computer screen rather than on my game board. (I later introduced the board game version to the afternoon students during my all-day teaching repeat on Day 24.) Since the afternoon students had never seen my laptop computer before, I also played the game of Mickey’s ABC’s with the students as well. After one round of playing the game, Maggie won. Another difference between the morning and afternoon is that due to the schedule, Free time is held after Computer Lab time on Wednesdays, from 2:30 to 3:00, instead of after their first assignment the way it is daily in the morning class.


          In the afternoon the students have Computer Lab time on Wednesdays. Mrs. Cameron taught the same lesson she had taught the morning students on Day 22. (See my essay on Day 22 for a description of that lesson as well as an example of the activity that I have turned into, with the name “Anton” on it.)


          In Mrs. Shapiro’s afternoon class there are two kids named Brian. One of those students is American; the other is Korean who just moved into this district from Korea, and knows little English. He was quite a discipline problem in the class since he did not understand what we were saying when we told him to do things like sit down or stand up, and he would often run around the classroom in bewilderment. This was interesting to see as this is a common symptom of nonverbal autistic individuals who often pace or are uncontrollable in a classroom environment because they cannot understand the commands that teachers give them. It seems the same principle sometimes applies with non-autistic kids who cannot understand commands due to language issues as well.


          While I tried to show Brian nonverbally how to complete his computer assignment any way I could (I know very little Korean except hello and goodbye), another student, Anton (one of two children in the class of Russian descent), took advantage of the fact that Mrs. Seagram and I were busy helping other students. He did nothing but play on his computer, and did not complete the assignment that he was asked to do. When I saw him on three occasions, he had done nothing in the computer lab. Since I was busy helping Brian, who spent the entire time doing a single problem, I could not spend my time enforcing that Anton complete the assignment. Instead, I spent my time assisting Brian.


          When Computer Lab time was up and it was time for the students to line up, I was asked to carry the printed pictures from the printer, which I would then give to each student to put in their backpacks (since each picture had a student’s name on the bottom). When we returned to the classroom, Mrs. Seagram asked me to give each student their math picture. I saw that every student had completed the assignment except Anton and another student. While I knew that Anton had wasted his time playing on KidPix, the other student had been sent to the principal’s office, and thus did not have time to complete his assignment. But since Anton had no excuse, I announced that I would be asking Anton to complete his assignment on my computer, using MS Paint, since he did not complete the assignment in the Computer Lab. (This is why I have his assignment stored on my computer.)


          I put my computer onto his desk where he sat, turned it on, and told him how he would work on the assignment on my computer. I showed him my laptop and how to use it (my laptop, for example, uses a touchpad rather than a mouse). With my help, he completed it, and then I put it on a CD and printed it with the computer lab printer. I put the copy of his picture on Mrs. Shapiro’s desk so she could give it to Anton to take it home with him when she came back. Now Anton had completed the assignment, even though it had taken me fifteen minutes to complete it with him.


          After completing Anton’s lesson, I played Mickey’s ABCs with Maggie and Maya (see the section above about my lesson), and then played the Number Swat game with Maggie, Maya, and Amanda afterwards. After we were done, afternoon Kindergarten was over, and the students were dismissed.


          In the morning class, after Free Time was over and the students had cleaned up, it was Library time. I lined the students up at the front of the room and led them to the Library in the front of the classroom while Mrs. Seagram stayed in the back (unlike the times I accompanied the students with Mrs. Shapiro where I stayed in the back). In order to make sure the students followed me, I walked backwards in the hallways, making sure that I knew where I was going. I did the same when I took the students to Gym.


          When Library time was over, Mrs. Seagram and I returned to help the students check out their library books. When we got there, some of the students were still reading their books, but were talking too loud.


          Thus, Mrs. Seagram and I, Mr. Rosenbloom (as Mrs. Matthews, the librarian addressed me), were assigned to patrol the library and tell students who were talking too loud that they needed to quiet down and whisper. Then it was time to leave, and the students were asked to line up and check their books out. I then informed Mrs. Matthews that unlike many other student teachers and aides, I did not go as Mr. Rosenbloom in the classroom, but rather went as Will. (Mrs. Shapiro requested this because I went as Will at the JCC and I knew many kids in her class from the JCC.)


          Once the students were done at the Library and we had returned to the classroom, Mrs. Seagram seated the students into their rows and gave them all a cup of popcorn for their snack.


          After the morning students were done with their snack, Mrs. Seagram discussed light and light sources to the students. She mentioned a series of various things and asked the students if they thought they gave light or not. After this discussion, she assigned the students to their desks where they would cut out pictures of things and classify them on another sheet of paper as things that gave light or things that did not.


          I went to each desk to see if any student needed help. No student ended up needing help, except for a few questions here or there. One question that was asked was whether or not a magnifying glass gave light. I argued that it either gave light or did not, since it was possible to start fires with magnifying glasses which gave light if exposed directly to the sun.


          During the light classification lesson a dispute emerged between some of the students. Patrick announced to the students that he liked Care Bears. This resulted in other kids arguing that they did not like Care Bears, and several students got into an argument where they argued why or why they did not like Care Bears. Seeing that this Care Bears argument was distracting the students from working, I announced that it didn’t matter whether or not you liked Care Bears, and that we would take a survey of the class to see if they liked Care Bears or not after Gym. (I have turned in the results of that survey along with my assignments.) My announcement worked—the students stopped arguing about Care Bears and returned to their work.


          After the students had completed their light classification, it was Gym time, and Mrs. Seagram and I took the students to Gym.


          During Gym, I took a ledger-size sheet of paper (11 x 17) and drew a line halfway through the paper. I then put the title “I like Care Bears…” on one side of the paper and the title “I don’t like Care Bears” on the other side of paper. On each side I would write the names of the students who liked or did not like Care Bears, and if any student was undecided, I would put them in the “not like” list.


          Mrs. Seagram praised me for my plan of creating a survey in order to diffuse the Care Bears debate, and so when Gym was over, she seated the students in their rows while I sat in the teacher’s seat. I then asked the students to raise their hands if they liked Care Bears, and wrote on the paper the names of the students who raised their hands. I then asked the students to raise their hands if they did not like Care Bears, and wrote on the paper the names of the students who raised their hands along with the students who had not raised their hands one way or the other.


          Once I was done, Mrs. Seagram asked the students to put their Light Classification assignments in their backpacks. Once the students had done that, morning Kindergarten was over, and the students were dismissed. I taught Mrs. Seagram how to sing the kindergarten dismissal song.


          Even though I was not permitted to eat lunch in the teacher’s lounge, Mrs. Seagram took my bag, which I had brought my lunch in and put it in the fridge in the teacher’s lounge where it stayed during the morning. At lunch, she went back to the lounge and gave me my lunch to eat.


          During lunch hour, Mitchell’s mother was volunteering in the cafeteria during lunch today, serving lunch to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. So was Sean’s mother. Since I know both parents quite well, Mitchell’s mother gave me permission to sit behind the lunch counter in the cafeteria and eat my lunch. I ate my lunch quickly and left the cafeteria right before the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade students rushed out to go to recess. I spent the rest of the time in Mrs. Shapiro’s room, cleaning up the mess that the morning kindergarten had made and not cleaned up to make the room neat for the afternoon kindergartners.




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