Sunday, 17 March 2013

2 Stars & A Wish: Establishing Boundaries

     My first week of student teaching is officially completed and I feel like I can now settle into a regular routine with my students. Two things I think went really well this week were:
1 ) Getting To Know My Students
- As I shared on Wednesday, I used my first teaching day to get to know my
  students. Through the activities that I facilitated, I feel like I was able to get
  a good understanding of my students likes, routines and learning needs.
- I know that this is no replacement for the knowledge that I will gain through
  time, but it allows me to prepare myself as much as possible in these first few
2 ) Introducing My Units To My Students
- In my past student teaching experiences I feel like I jumped into my new units
  without taking adequate time to Assess For Learning or provide a proper
- This week I took three days with each of my classes to introduce activities
  that allowed me to appropriately Assess For Learning with each student as
  well as provide a solid knowledge base before jumping into content.
- Some of these activities included "Snowball" brainstorming, Post-it evaluations,
  film clip responses, writing prompts, and sharing circles.
* If you'd like more information on any of these activities leave a comment below!

     One thing that I feel like I need to work on, however, is establishing clear boundaries for one of my students in my Grade 8 Social Studies class. In a meeting with the Resource Teacher, before I began teaching, I was told that this student can be a "performer" in class and is often very busy. Under the recommendation of both the Resource Teacher and my Cooperating Teacher, I planned my lessons to include shorter activities that built in time for my students to be out of their desks and interacting with others. 

     In class, I noticed that the student was easily off-track, wandered around the classroom when he decided he was finished his work, and often attempted to display "class-clown" behaviour. From the information that I knew about him, I decided that I would not reinforce his behaviour by giving him the attention of the class so I quietly approached him about staying on track but sometimes I would blatantly ignore his behaviour (like  when he was walking around the classroom). I hadn't felt like his behaviour was disruptive and the work he completed was correct and well thought-out despite his actions. My Cooperating Teacher, however, pulled me aside after class and warned me that he was "testing" me and pushing to see what my boundaries were. She was worried that if I did not address his actions that he would quickly escalate to disrupting the learning of those around him. 

     During the break I had a meeting with the student and asked him what his opinion on the class was. He responded that he thought maybe he wasn't being respectful and, together, we drew up the following plan for next week. We agreed that in order to make sure he and the other students could learn he would:
- Not walk around the room unless it was part of the activity
- Not distract those around him during work time
- Not speak while I or other students were speaking
To help him out, I would:
- Remind him of our agreement before class on Monday
- Plan activities that had us out of our desks
- Plan activities that allowed him to interact with other students

     I feel like this is a good basis for addressing this concern. Before class tomorrow I will individually remind him of our discussion and I specifically planned an activity that has them doing group work where he can interact with his peers. As of right now, I feel confident about the situation and will consciously work on this for the upcoming week. I will make sure to update and let you know how it goes!


  1. Hi Miss WBT, I've been busy so havn't dropped in but have been reading your posts via email. I'm very interested in the 'snowball' brainstormng you mentioned, would love to hear more about that. I'm really impressed at the way you dealt with the student who walks around the classroom all the time, very clever and look forward to hearing how he goes with it.

    Keep up the good work, your an inspiration!


    1. Hi Kylie! Thank you so much for staying tuned in and visiting my blog, I appreciated you stopping in :)

      A "Snowball" activity can be utilized in a lot of different ways but here is how we used it. We are studying Ancient Greece so I had each student write down one person that they might find in Ancient Greece society (emperor, merchant, Caesar, farmer, etc). We then went into the hallway, formed a circle, crumpled up our papers, and had a "snowball fight" with them. After about 30 seconds I had them stop, pick up the paper closest to them, sit down, and write down what they thought that person's role was. For example, if their paper said emperor, they might write "in charge of the community, make decisions".

      I then had them crumple up their papers again, do another "snowball fight" and then when we stopped the second time we came back into the room and wrote a journal entry from the point of view of the person on their sheet.

      I hope that is an ok explanation haha. If not, let me know if you need more clarification. It is basically just a fun way to mix up ideas while getting students out of their desks!

      Thank you again for your kind words :)


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