February 3rd: Drawing Boxes

Drawing Boxes

I didn’t plan my classroom goals until after I had my experience yesterday because honestly, I don’t know what to expect from the grade level. Due to cultural difference, I have no idea about the atmosphere of the class and about what age are typically included within the room. Nevertheless, being inside the actual class yesterday filled all of the missing information I’ve been looking for—which also enables me to figure out what goals I wanted to get from this experience. Below is the list of my selected development plan—because posting them all is just too ambitious.

Handling Students’ Attention

Part A. Names

I’ve been mostly introvert within the classroom—which is the total opposite outside—so I wanted to practice bringing the extrovert part of me inside the class. I think this will be essential to get the students’ attention. I will be teaching a full lesson of Grade 8 Math next week which is consists of 40 students. I am usually in a classroom of 60 students when I was in school in the Philippines. However, the rules and atmosphere were really different so I’m quite nervous for next week’s experience, especially that the class didn’t have a formal seating plan. Based on observation, I have to learn a skill that will catch my students’ attention.

To achieve this, I believe that I have to start by memorizing the names within the whole class. I will start by familiarizing names by attaching it with visuals or anything related. Another possible way to achieve this is by avoiding looking on the floor or the walls and actually make eye contact throughout the room. Its effectiveness will be measured by successfully calling a student’s name while looking at them—or at least knowing which side of the room they were in.

Part B. Set and Closure.

I mentioned above that the class was big and I observed how much time they consumed to actually find a good spot within the class after both 7/8 classes merged. As a result, I wanted to develop a good set that will allow them to be interested in listening instead of catching up with their friends. The class is also followed by lunch break and I knew how the “remaining five minutes before the bell rings” felt like, so I want to keep them engaged until the time—or at least provide a proper closure for the class before the bell rings.

To achieve this, I will try handing out index cards as exit slips at the beginning of the class and have an interactive set—like poll or something like that (the activity doesn’t necessarily have to be technologically related). On the other side, my observers can take note of how much of the class actually participated.

Speaking to the children

Since the class was Grade 7/8, I want to start addressing the students by either their names or by saying ladies and gentlemen. Last semester, I learned about the hidden problem of our language. It feels normal to address anyone by considering everyone as “guys” but the term alone is problematic because it was a result of our unequal patriarchal society. I’m not claiming that we are perfectly equal now nor consider everyone else who uses the language as immoral; it was more of a personal reason and development. Due to the design of the classroom, I also want to make sure that I move around the classroom and reach everyone instead of staying in the front or on one side.

To measure this, I plan to provide a chart for my observers and ask them to mark how many times I address students by name, by guys and girls, by ladies and gentlemen, and generally as a whole class. I will also provide a mini blueprint-like of the classroom structure and ask them to mark my position every few minutes.

Evaluating Progress

Currently, assessment was one of my concerns in the classroom. I want to apply and effectively follow Bloom’s revised taxonomy in our class. I want to have a mixture of assessments (formal and informal) for the three assessments that I need to do: diagnostic, formative, summative.

To measure its effectiveness, I want to ask my observers to note how often I evaluate the class and the types I used, as well as the reaction of the class to my evaluation: do they looked confused? How many participated? Etc.

All these goals make me feel like I’m drawing another box around my own comfort box; I decided to draw a bigger box. At the moment, maybe it still looks ambitious but with all the motivation, guidance, and support that I have, I feel hopeful that I can establish confidence in successfully walking within and around this bigger box.I look forward to the changes and development that I will earn and share after the future experiences. I don’t have that much chances left so I’ll try to make the best out of each week of experience.

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