There are a number of ways in which my teacher organized the classroom schedule to maximize time for student learning. She worked hard to ensure that students would be able to learn a large amount of information and for them to also have a solid grasp of this information before they left the classroom. On some days, she asked them to complete homework assignments concerning the grammar exercises involved with English. Every two weeks represented a new topic for the students. My teacher would first explain the topic to them, and then have them do exercises that would help them practice this new concept both at home and in the classroom. My CT collaborated with the other English teachers in the school and discussed new exercises that were more appealing for the students. Many of the children in my class were reading short stories that introduced advanced vocabulary about the human body, the solar system, the sea and the rain forest.
Often during the short 45-minute classroom periods my teacher would ask the students to read these different stories aloud. She would then ask them comprehensive questions that they were to explain in English. From the students’ answers from both portions, she could have an understanding of whether or not the students felt confident with material that was being presented to them.
My CT was extremely creative with the students. She liked to play games with the students that would be enjoyable for them, but also would help to further their understanding. One of the most creative exercises I believe she executed was a game that the was entitled “hot chair.” The students would beg my teacher to play this game every class. The game began with a student who sat in the front of the whole classroom, unable to look at the chalkboard. My teacher would pick a student for the chair and then write a particularly challenging vocabulary word from that week’s lesson on the board. After this was finished, the other students in the classroom would have to explain or describe different definitions for the word written on the board until the student in the chair was able to guess the word. My teacher also liked to play different “chants” based on the different topics that were presented to the students. At one point in my teaching, I created my own rap about Space; describing the elements of the solar system for the students to learn! The students would sing along to the rap while learning the vocabulary words. My teacher also occasionally played The Beatles songs for the students to sing along to in order to better pronounce their vowels. The song “Ob la di Ob la da” was a particular favorite! She would also create a test for each topic they completed. The same test would be administered to the students with different teachers. These would represent a more formal assessment of each student’s progress.