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Luisa Borbon

February 12, 2017


TTE 394A

Three things you did well:

I feel that I’m doing good at making lessons fun and engaging. This week students were learning
about three-digit subtraction and addition with regrouping. Many students are kinesthetic
learners so I made up a game. I wrote a couple problems on the board and I asked students to
stand up. For each problem, I asked if it was addition or subtraction and they had to use their
arms to make a plus or minus sign and they had to say suma o resta. Then, we looked at the ones
and asked if there was more on top or on the floor. If the number on top was larger they had to
put their hands up and say, “arriba” or touch the floor y say, “en el suelo.” For each problem, I
asked those questions and they used their bodies to show it and at the same time they had to say
it in Spanish. They helped me solve the problems and we counted together. Students totally loved
it because they were having fun while they learned. This is wonderful idea Luisa. I can
imagine how it helped those students who needed the movement to learn were so excited. I
would love to see this in action! Next week we will star learning how to solve word problems
involving money and once we start doing take away problems I will set up a tiendita. Every
student will get a certain amount of fake money and after they are done with their work they can
go to the tiendita and purchase erasers, pencils, book marks etc. using their money. They will
take turns to be the cashier and all the items will have a tag with the name and price. They will
have fun while they practice the new skills they are learning. I’m sure they will love it and I can’t
wait to see it. This is exciting! This is a real life skill too. They one day will be buying items
at the store and doing mental math to make sure they have enough money and that they get
the correct change. You are making math relevant to their lives!

I also think that I am doing well at stating my expectations. On Monday, my mentor teacher was
absent and even though we had a substitute teacher I decided that I wanted to take over class.
The substitute teacher agreed and he was my support the whole time. On Mondays after bell
work we usually spend a couple minutes sharing what we did during the weekend so before they
shared I stated my expectations. Since I will be in full take over in a few more weeks I felt that it
was important for me to state what I expect from them every day (even though they should
know). I agree that a little daily remind never hurts. I told them that even though Mrs.
Villegas was not there they had to respect and listen to whoever was there to teach them. I told
them that they are almost third graders and they have to behave as such and make good choices
every day. I also gave a speech (sort of) to motivate them and I told them that all of them were
very smart and how I believed in each of them. I told them that during the weekend I thought a
lot about them and how happy I was to spend time with them. At the end, I guess my talk did not
work as I expected because we had a crazy day but I feel that after that day it has being getting
better and better. Somehow, I feel that that their behavior is improving. Sometimes our efforts
don’t work immediately. Remember just the fact that Sra. Villegas wasn’t there will
always made a difference. I am sure it was a better day because you were there than if the
substitute had been by himself.

Something I am doing good is giving students a certain amount of time to finish their math work.
I noticed that students were taking way too long to finish their work even though they had been
doing the same work every single day for a week (subtraction with regrouping). I noticed
students were getting distracted easily and they had difficulties to stay on task. I decided to start
using a timer and I gave students a couple minutes to finish each row of problems (I gave them
enough time to finish each row). When the timer stopped, they knew they should be done with
that row and start working on the next row. My mentor teacher has used it before but when I
started using it with them I explained to them why I was using it. I said that the timer would help
them stay focused and know if they were falling behind so that meant they had to be focused and
keep working to catch up. I said that when Mrs. Villegas and I noticed they could be on task and
finish their work on time we would stop using it. The timer is working like magic! That’s great.
Just remember that some students like ******** may not like it so use it as a tool to help
them get back on track but I’m not so sure I would use it all the time because it is more
work for you too.

Two areas of refinement:

One of the areas of refinement is to go quickly over bell work because I am spending too much
time on it. My mentor teacher told me that the purpose of bell work is that students have
something to work on as soon as they enter the classroom and that I shouldn’t spend a lot of time
teaching it. While students work on bell work the teacher uses the time for taking attendance,
lunch count, and getting ready for what’s coming next. Thus, if students do not know how to
solve a problem I have to ask them to skip it and then I can explain it when we go over it as a
class. It’s hard for me to fly over bell work if I know many of those students do not know how to
solve some of those problems. I do not like leaving students confused about something but I
know I have to try to spend less time teaching bell work so I have to work on it. I’ve decided that
I will fly over those problems they already know how to solve such as addition and subtraction
and just stop to quickly explain those problems that I notice most of the class is having trouble
with. I agree that bell work is to get students working immediately but maybe you are
giving too much. I also believe bell work should be something they already know how to
do, it should be more practice. Another idea and I think you already do this, is to allow
students to help each other during bell work. If going over bell work is putting you behind
in your schedule you may need to change the work to be more doable and not make going
over it another mini lesson or teaching moment.
Another area of refinement is to make sure I know the schedule for shorter days (parent-teacher
conference days). Since Friday was a shorter day due to parent-teacher conferences I was not
sure at what time our cancionero block should end so I took a little longer which affected what
we had to do next. I will make sure I know the schedule for each day (especially irregular days)
with the time each block starts and ends so that it doesn’t happen again. This is something Sra.
Villegas should have told you about ahead of time, that’s not your fault. She shouldn’t
assume that you know the schedule for short days.

One question/concern to address in next visit or seminar

-How do help a student who lacks motivation?

My mentor teacher and I give positive reinforcement and she has a rewards system. We’ve also
tried consequences but nothing works with this student. I know motivation should come from
within the student but it’s really hard when the student is not motivated. I’ve tried everything I
know but nothing seems to work.

Hmm, this is hard because as you say it is within the student but it is partly on the teacher
too. Unfortunately, I don’t have a magical answer, I wish I did. Sometimes it is an issue a
student is dealing with not having to do with school e.g. worried about something, a rough
home life, hunger. I have worked with many children like that and I learned that sometime
just talking to the student about his/her wellbeing, asking what s/he needs from the teacher
to help them work, moving the seating chart, will help the student. It sounds like you have
done a lot already. Can you ask the 1st grade teacher s/he was with if this was a problem in
1st grade?