This fall I had the opportunity of observing the Grade 1/2 and Grade 5/6 classes at Sedley Community School. The following is one of my class blog posts I wrote following a morning working with these great kids and teachers.
Week three was a little bit of a different outlook for me. Today I worked with a Grade 1/2 class instead of my regular Grade 5/6 class. It was intriguing to see the similarities and differences between my personal Pre-School classroom, the Grade 1/2 class and the Grade 5/6 class. All the learners have their own unique differences but they also have multiple similarities in behaviour and learning strategies.
I will use a combination of both teachers to guide my blog response this week as I feel they both offer very valuable yet very different teaching techniques. Both teachers offer a variety of learning forums. At some points throughout the morning they both use traditional teaching techniques where the students sit at their desks with a piece of paper and a pencil taking notes. However, they both have integrated technology throughout their lessons, they use visual aids, they do many hands-on activities, and they encourage self-led learning. I believe they integrate as many learning styles as possible so that they kids get the best out of their time at school. The grade 5/6 classroom has a high number of students with exceptionalities so it is super important to do so especially in this class.
The teachers promote knowledge in the classroom by asking the kids to teach each other in the classroom. Today the Grade 2’s had to read to the Grade 1’s which I think helps the little ones become more attentive listeners and the bigger kids to become stronger readers. The teachers also acknowledge kids who are listening and being respectful so the other kids follow suit.
The Grade 1/2 teacher has been in her field for over 30 years so she has tons of knowledge on what works and what doesn’t but she has veered away from using much technology in her classroom because I think it’s something she’s not completely comfortable with. Her supports would really just be having the preparation done so that she has enough work for the kids to do throughout the day. There are no kids with exceptionalities in her classroom so she does not have an educational assistant.
The Grade 5/6 teacher has only been teaching for a few years so she uses a ton of technology in her classroom. This can almost be a hinderance at times when it doesn’t work the way she wants it to. She records a lesson for one of her grades so that she can teach two math topics at once. Last week her video did not work so the kids had barely any time to work on their assignments when she was finally finished teaching both lessons after trying to get the video to work for so long. This classroom does have a high number of kids with exceptionalities but this teacher is awesome at integrating the kids into every class activity so whether or not the educational assistant is there it does’t really matter.
The Grade 5/6 teacher is excellent at enhancing her professional knowledge specifically for the technology sections. She is not afraid to fully integrate technology in her classroom and she has spent a tremendous amount of time creating these activities. Both of the teachers also attend professional development days whenever they can, and continue to read and assert themselves into any learning opportunity that comes about.