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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My CT's Techniques

           After a two week school vacation, the students at South Coogee P.S. came back ready to start the fourth quarter of the school year.  The school year is split into four quarters, with this final quarter ending around Christmas.  The students spent the morning of their first day back writing in their journals and drawing pictures describing what they did on their breaks.  Some students stayed around Sydney and had play dates with each other while other students traveled to places such as Fiji, Bali, and Argentina!  I enjoyed listening to all the students tell about their adventures over the break.  I like how my CT transitioned the students back to school from their break with an activity that allowed them to discuss their breaks in an academic way.  One of the qualities that I most admire about my CT is her ability to incorporate academics with other activities (for example: crunch and sip for snack time/news sharing).
            My CT, as well as other teachers I have observed at South Coogee, has wonderful classroom management skills.  My CT never raises her voice in the classroom.  Even when the classroom gets rowdy, she always manages to quiet the students down while keeping her voice calm and at a normal level.  She uses sayings such as “one, two, three, eyes on me” to grab the students’ attention.  The students respond to her with “one, two, eyes on you.”  The students then know to stop what they are doing and give their teacher their undivided attention.  I feel that a teacher should be a calming presence in the classroom and not someone that the students are afraid of.  My CT does a great job of relaxing the students and keeping them on task without raising her own voice.
            I also learned that each quarter at school has a theme.  This quarter, the theme is celebrations around the world.  I was very excited when my CT asked me to prepare a lesson about American Thanksgiving.  She said that most Australians do not know anything about Thanksgiving because there is no equivalent of our Thanksgiving in Australia.  Since Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, I’m very excited to introduce my students to this holiday.  The teacher was asking me activities that I could do with the students as well as providing a basic history of Thanksgiving.  This is a great opportunity for me to explain a unique aspect of my own culture that these students might not otherwise learn about. 
            My class participates in a lot of group work everyday.  The teacher makes the groups so that the students get the chance to work with different kids.  I facilitated a reading group on my first day at the school.  This involved reading through a workbook with four students and helping them to answer questions based on the reading.  A few days later, I was in charge of a math group.  Each table in the classroom had a different math game and the students rotated from table to table.  My game was a math bingo game that tested the students’ addition skills.  The hardest part of group work is keeping the students focused on their tasks.  During the math stations, the movement from table to table sometimes distracted the students.  Whenever I got a new group at my bingo game, I had to remind the students to think about what they were doing and try and improve their addition skills.  The benefit of group work, however, is that I get the chance to work more closely with each student.  I get to know their academic strengths and weaknesses better.

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