(This is one of the classrooms in this school).
Field Experience #1: Students and the Learning Environment
Today is February 8, 2018, and I have begun my field placement at École Connaught Community School. This school was recently rebuilt this year, being that it was 102 years old; it was time for an upgrade. This school includes grades K-8, with around 430 students attending this year. This school is bilingual, having both English and French immersion programs.
On my first day, both the staff and students made me feel welcome at the school. Before starting I got a tour of this brand new school. I have been placed with a Literacy and Numeracy Specialist, and Learning Resource Teacher, her name is Sarah Kydd. Sarah is an amazing person! She doesn’t work with a specific grade, so I will get to have many experiences in different classrooms.
Today I was placed in a grade 5 and 6 English class, where I observed the class and helped the students with their opinion papers. For their opinion papers, the students would think of an opinion and then they would have to back it up with 3 reasons. For example hockey is the best sport in the world. Then the students would have to answer why they chose their opinion. I found this assignment very interesting and unique because it allows the students to build up their writing skills, in a fun and creative way. I enjoyed working with all of the students and listening to their stories and jokes that they would tell me!
This classroom is very different from mine; not only being that everything is brand new, but some of the classrooms have garage doors. The teachers could open up the garage doors to make the classroom more open and allow children to work outside of the classroom and in the common area. At the back left corner of the classroom there is a C – shaped table where the educational assistant sits. Then in the middle of the classroom there are rows of long tables facing towards each other where the students would sit. Towards the front of the classroom there was also a few long tables where the students could sit and along the left side of the classroom there were a few long tables to. The teacher’s desk is at the front, right side of the classroom. The front wall of the classroom is blue, with whiteboards and posters. Off to the front left side of the room there is a reading area, with a little nook by the windows. At the back off the classroom there are 2 sliding doors that connect to another classroom, which I thought was pretty neat. The students had chairs at their desks that would rock or spin, so that they wouldn’t be constantly sitting still, which is a brilliant idea.
At 2:15p.m. class was over and it was time for the students to go outside for recess. I headed to the staff room to see where I would be placed next. Sarah asked my partner and I if we wanted to be placed in a gym class, we both said “why not.”
At 2:30p.m. I went with my partner to the gym and waited for the class to arrive with their teacher. The first grade that arrived was a grade 2 class. When entering the gym all of the students had to do 2 laps around the gym for a warm up. After doing 2 laps they met the teacher and grabbed a dot, in which they took to the middle of the gym and sat on. Once all of the children were seated they did a few stretches and played some games. The first game was tag with pool noodles, which were cut in half. The teacher would choose who would get the pool noodles to tag the other children. Once a student was tagged they would have to go sit on their spot and crouch in a ball, while waiting for the teacher to free them. After playing a few rounds the teacher switched games, and they played “Clean Your Room.” For this game the teacher tossed a whole bunch of objects (balls, Frisbees, bean bags, balls with paddles, etc), around the gym, and he split the students up into 2 teams. In order to win the game you had to have the “cleanest” room, by moving all of your items to the other side of the gym without crossing onto the other side. Each item you would have to move a different way, like throwing a frisbee. When the teacher blew the whistle the game ended and the students would stop and line up on opposite sides of the gym. The teacher would determine the winner, or whoever had the “cleanest” room. After this game, their gym class was over and the grade 1 students came in. It was exact same process as before. The grade 1’s ran 2 laps around the gym and played the same games. I enjoyed playing with both grade 1 and 2 students. At 3:30p.m. school was done and the students started to leave, my first day came to and end.
I had a great first day at École Connaught Community School and I cannot wait to go back next week!
Field Experience #2: School and Community
Today is Feb. 15, 2018 it is my second field placement at École Connaught Community School. When first entering the school, there is a bulletin board on the right side of the hallway with all of the staff members’ pictures and names. École Connaught Community School has pre-K to grade 8 English teachers, grades K-8 French teachers, teacher associates, educational assistants, a secretary, a P.E. specialist, a music specialist, a specialist, an English learning resource room teacher, a French learning resource room teacher, a nutrition coordinator, a band teacher, a head facilities operator, an evening facilities operator, a school counselor, a speech pathologist, an education psychologist, an occupational therapist, a librarian, a vice principal, a principal, and a school superintendent. All of these people help contribute to the success of the students’ education and learning. École Connaught Community School is a brand new school located in the Cathedral Village. This school is a community school which has both English and French immersion programs.
This school is very connected to the community; parents, students, and the staff try to keep the community updated in all events that are occurring at the school. École Connaught Community School has a SCC, which links the community and school together. The SCC is comprised of parents, staff and community members, who get together and plan events for the school in which the community can attend. They have these events so that the community can come and see what the children are learning, and also to help support the school and the students.
In my opinion I feel like the school and the community both have very important roles in the success of the school and the students learning. I enjoyed my second day of field placement, and I cannot wait to go back to École Connaught Community School next week!
Field Experience #3: Teachers and Knowledge
Today is March 1, 2018 it is my third field placement at École Connaught Community School. I have noticed from being placed in numerous classrooms that some teachers use different methods of teaching. Last week I was placed in a grade 8 English class, where the teacher uses a lot of technology to teach his students. He pulls up the instructions on a smart board for his students so that they can see what they are supposed to be doing. Almost all of the students had Google chrome books in which they logged onto Google classroom to work on and submit their assignments through. The teacher would also pull up a timer on the smart board so that the students would know how much time was left to work on their assignments. This teacher’s method of teaching is very different from how the teacher I was put with today teaches.
Today I was put in a grade 1/2 split English classroom, where the teacher used stations to teach their students. There were 6 different stations: a PWIM station, writing journal station, IPad station, sentence station, teacher station, etc. Each day the students would alternate stations, so that they would all get a chance to be at each station. I found this teaching method to be very interesting; letting students work on different things, while learning new skills (writing, and drawing).
As teachers we rely on one another to help us get through the day. Having good co-workers creates a good environment to work in. Teachers rely on EA’s in the classroom to help work with children who have special needs or who need extra help to excel in the class. Without EA’s teachers would be so focused on the students with special needs and trying to satisfy them first and they would be so distracted, that wouldn’t be able to teach the rest of the class. I feel like some teachers also rely on their students to get their homework done on time, and to behave in class. Teachers trust that their students will be respectful in class and obey all of the classroom rules.
As a teacher you are constantly learning from one another and your students. You learn from the stories that they share with you and experiences that they might’ve had. Teachers also have to attend conferences and training days to learn new skills and build onto their professional knowledge. There are also online resources that teachers can learn from and use to educate their students.
I really enjoy being able to be in a variety of different classrooms, and getting to see how teachers use different methods of teaching so that their students understand what is expected of them in order to succeed in class. I cannot wait to see where I’ll be put next!
Field Experience #4: Inclusive Education – Diversity and Difference
Today is March 8, 2018 it is my fourth field placement at École Connaught Community School. Within this school every child is unique in their own way, and staff and students accept each other for who they are. École Connaught Community School is very diverse, being that there are students from different ethnicities, children who speak different languages and children who are at different learning levels. After being in this school for awhile I have noticed that the staff and community try to do everything they can to accommodate their students needs. École Connaught Community School has all gender neutral washrooms to make their students feel comfortable. This school also offers both French and English programs for their students, and this school has plenty of educational assistants to assist and help students with their learning.
Some forms of diversity that I believe are not visible are the students home or personal life, and some underlying illnesses that they may have. What I mean by this is that not all teachers know if their students have a good or bad home that they are going back to at the end of the day. Also some students might only have 1 parent, or both, or grandparents who look after them. I believe that a student’s home life can affect how they learn in school. Having a loving family who cares and supports them will have a positive impact on their education, but if a student is lacking love or support they might not try to do better at achieving in school. As teachers it is important that we get to know our students so we can build a trusting relationship with them and help them achieve in school. In doing so we can also gain a better understanding of where they come from. I noticed that in different classrooms different teachers have different teaching methods to fit and support their student’s needs. Teachers modify lessons so that the students learn and understand what is being taught to them; also they modify some assignments or projects so that students have a choice in expressing their work using any mean.
I feel like École Connaught Community School does an amazing job when it comes to inclusive education, because they want to make sure that their students feel safe and welcomed at their school. When students feel included they tend to succeed and have better experiences at school. Inclusive education matters; “If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn” (Ignacio Estrada). It is our jobs as teachers to make sure that our students are getting the education they need to succeed in the future.
Field Experience #5: Inclusive Education – Diversity and Differences
Today is Mar. 15, 2018 it is my fifth field placement at École Connaught Community School. École Connaught Community School is a bilingual school, meaning that they offer both French and English programs at this school. They honor having different languages being taught at this school, allowing students to learn either in English or French. This school honors diversity and wants all students to feel comfortable and protected at school. Some things that I have noticed around the school are gender neutral washrooms. When the school was rebuilt recently, they chose to install gender neutral washrooms, allowing all students to feel welcome and safe. Gender neutral washrooms can be used by anyone, so that children don’t feel divided. Also another thing I noticed at this school is that in their gymnasium, on the change room doors, there are the letters A or B instead of genders. I thought this was pretty neat, as some children might not identify with the male or female gender binary. By having these types of washrooms and change rooms, it can remove the pressure of a decision in which a student would have to make; leaving them feel stuck or confused when making the decision.
At École Connaught Community School all children are treated fairly. Assignments are modified for students with learning disabilities. Today I was put in a grade 4/5 spilt health class, and the students were making safety posters. Most off the students were asked to list 5-6 tips on their safety poster, but for students who had a harder time on focusing and staying on task were asked to come up with three tips. I thought that this was a good idea, as all of the students are still doing the same assignment, just for some students it can be modified to make it fair. The staff at École Connaught Community School ensures that all of the students feel safe and welcomed at school. Teachers at this school promote no bullying, and when bullying occurs consequences are made. École Connaught Community School does and amazing job at honoring diversity, equity and human rights for all of their students. I am very glad to have the opportunity to be a part in the students leaning!
Field #6: Curriculum & Instruction:
Today is Mar. 22, 2018, my sixth field placement at École Connaught Community School. I have been placed in quite a few classrooms so far, ranging from grades 1-8. I enjoy getting to see what students are learning in each grade. Today I got to help Sarah Kydd in the learning resource room. The first group she had come in were a few students from a grade 4/5 split. The second group of students were a few grade 1 and 2 children.
In both groups the students learned how to pronounce sight words. Sarah would pull up from her laptop onto a TV screen and see how long it takes the students to pronounce all of the words correctly. After learning the sight words, Sarah gets them to write a sentence in their journals; she tells them what to spell and they figure out how to spell each word. When finished they all move to another table and read a book together. Each student takes a turn reading a page.
The students understand that all of these skills will help them in the future and now; making it easier for them to read and write on their own eventually. Sarah teaches the younger students a “scooping technique” when they read. She tries to get the students to read at least two words at time, so that when they read the words come together smoothly.
After this class we go with Sarah to a grade 4/5 health class where the students are making safety posters. On these posters the students have to have a title, 5-6 safety tips on a topic they choose, and a colourful picture. I really liked the idea of the posters, as it is a fun and creative assignment, and the students have a choice if they want to work in partners or alone. The students’ first step was to go onto www.kidshealth.org and pick a topic; fire safety, 911, dog safety, etc. Then they would begin thinking of some safety tips associated with that topic. I believe that some of the students understood the meaning and relevance of the poster assignment. They understood that they would learn useful information in the case of an emergency.
Today what the students learned is very helpful and useful for everyday life. I enjoy working all of the students and seeing how diverse all of the classrooms are. I cannot wait till next week, although I will miss being in the school as it is my last day at École Connaught Community School.
Field Experience #7: Relevance & the Big Picture
Today is March 29. 2018, my last field experience at École Connaught Community School. Today I had the chance of choosing what classroom I would like to go in; I chose the grade 2/3 classroom. Today they had a presentation, where another teacher came in and did an activity with the children. She taught them how to make brain eaters. They used clay to sculpt any kind of creature (brain eater) they wanted; although most students tried to create the same brain eater that the teacher made. They had to wait for their supplies to be handed out and wait for the teacher’s instructions before they could begin. The students learned about patience, and how to follow instructions in order to continue the craft.
Some things that the students are learning that we as teachers see are respect, patience, good manners, and polite behavior through every day skills. Everyday students learn to be respectful to each other, being polite to one another. The teachers at École Connaught Community School are always encouraging students to use manners, such as please, thank you, and you’re welcome.
I believe that the students understand that it is important to learn respect, and have patience, good manners, and polite behavior towards everyone, because once they leave school they will need to be able to be respectful, polite and use manners without being reminded by a teacher. In the real world as an adult you need to be respectful, polite and have good manners, in order to have friends, a job or to be liked by your community.
As a future teacher I believe that what the students are learning is very important for them in the future. The lessons being taught in school are useful lessons that they can use once they are done school and on their own. I really enjoyed being able to observe different classrooms and seeing what each student is learning. It is very sad to know that my field placement has come to an end at École Connaught Community School. Being able to work and be in classroom at a school has inspired me to follow and accomplish my dreams as an elementary teacher.