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Amanda Short

January 31, 2016

Reflection Journal January 25 January 29, 2016
I spent this week getting to know my new students and my mentor
teachers. I mostly played with students during the 90 minutes when they can
choose which center they want to play in. These include dramatic play,
science, table toys, blocks, Legos, library, sand/water and art. I was able to
gain insight into the social dynamics of various groups in the classes through
my interactions, as well as some basic idea of the academic skill levels of the
There are several girls in the morning class who struggle with
social/emotional roles. They all are trying to be the leader and struggle to
work together for any real amount of time. The teacher and I reminded these
students almost every half hour to talk to each other and to try to take turns
or work it out in some other way. Im thinking about some social stories and
activities that might help work through these issues. Specifically, there is a
puppet theater in the classroom and I think that the kids would enjoy acting
out different social situations behind the safety of a puppet. Perhaps by
exposing the students to different levels of practice over time these issues
will resolve themselves.
One student in the morning exhibits signs of possible autistic spectrum
disorder. He routinely jumps, flaps his hands and rocks when hes excited
about something. He also struggles with transitions because he gets
obsessively interested in what he is doing at any given time. Additionally, he
struggled with the daily routines that he does not prefer such as washing
hands. I would like to create a daily activity clip that illustrates his options
during the given transition times. The options could include: taking a break in
Tucker Turtle, practicing letters or numbers, or first/then statements.
In the afternoon class I have two male students who have issues with
following set expectations. Both students are extremely bright and Im
wondering if some of their problem might be that they are bored by the
activities that are beneficial for the other students. Im thinking of some
ways that I can interest them in activities and group discussions through
differentiation. One thing that I like from the curriculum is the discussion
question presented for each week in a study. I think I can work those
questions into things such as graphs, written discussions, tally votes and
other things that are most motivating to students.
As I start planning for my first week of lesson planning and design, Im
thinking about using the centers to better develop specific academic skills. I

think that the centers could be used to support the intentional teaching I am
So my goals are to work on specific behavior plans for three individual
students and to plan large group social situation lessons to address some
problems with group interactions. Additionally, I want to make sure that the
centers specifically math and science are supporting the learning goals of
my intentional lessons.
Reflection Journal February 1 February 5, 2016
This week I began to take on some teaching duties, but I was teaching
my mentor teachers lessons. I mostly took over large group time as
currently this is the only time that K does intentional instruction. I spent a
large portion of the first day going over the rules and expectations. I felt that
they werent really seeing me as their teacher so I regrouped. The following
day I used behaviorism and immediately rewarded on-task behavior with a
sticker. It worked very well! I now had a carpet covered with students sitting
still, legs folded and hands in their laps! With that done, I was able to work
on establishing myself as someone worth listening to and interacting with.
I still struggled in the afternoon with my two students who dont want
to sit at all for large group activities. I was so nervous about my first week of
teaching that I didnt remember to use the discussion questions to branch
out the activities for them on the first two days. However, I did remember on
Thursday and we created a graph of everyones preferred sport. Both
students were engaged in that activity but still no luck in the daily activities.
It definitely seems that they both are looking for activities that are more
The most interesting thing that has happened this week is that I was
able to perform the assessment that my mentor teacher does each trimester
with her students. The most interesting pattern that I saw on these
assessments was on the shapes. Most of the students in both classes scored
better on the more complex shapes but couldnt identify the basics like
squares, triangles and rectangles. Because of this, I have decided to focus
my math small groups on shape identification activities. I want to specifically
work on identifying the parts of shapes specifically the sides and corners. I
think that by describing the parts of the shapes in simple language, it could
be really beneficial for them later when they are using the academic
language, like vertices.

Reflection Journal February 8 February 12

This week has been awesome. The kids have definitely warmed up to
me as their teacher and I am really getting to know them each as individual
learners. My small group lessons have been focused on math and alternating
between numeral recognition and shapes. During large group I have spent
more time talking with the students about the number of sides and corners. I
have asked different students to describe a shape, then compare and
contrast with another shape. Ive already noticed a shift in confidence of the
students in their ability to describe shapes according to the number and type
of sides.
During the center time at the math center, I have introduced a shape
memory game, similar to concentration. On Monday students were struggling
to name the shapes as they flipped over the cards. However, by Friday, most
of my 4-5 year-old students were able to name the shapes regularly. I found
this very encouraging! So for next week I have created a card game that is
like Go Fish! but with shapes. (I have a square, who has a triangle? etc.)
I have started trying something with one student who has been
struggling during transitions in the morning. I gave him a flip book that clips
to his belt hook. It depicts his options. First it shows him being on task
washing hands or reading a book. The second option is for him to go to
Tucker Turtle if he needs a break. The third option is for him to talk to a
teacher. My goal was to reduce his behaviors that distract other students
during transitions. Overall, I think it worked fairly well this week. Im not sure
about the long-term effectiveness of this strategy because it only worked
when I gave him multiple reminders to check his book. Id like to find a
positive reinforcement that would work for him when he is doing what he
should which could be any option in the flip book!
Some ideas I have for reinforcement for him are: having him choose
the book I read at large group (he seems highly interested in the books),
having him ring the teacher bell for signaling the end of transitions or

allowing him to choose from a sticker book and fill a chart so he can pick
from the teacher treasure chest at the end of the day. Im not sure which to
try, and might try the daily jobs first to see how that works.
I began seeing more of the conflicts during the center time between
the girls in the morning class. There seems to be a problem of the third
wheel that happens in this group a lot. It rotates on who gets left out, but
some of them get together and decide to leave someone else out for the day
and it causes all kinds of problems for the whole day. Im working on a social
story for next that I will have all of the girls involved in helping with at
various times.