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Student Teaching Weekly Log

Name: Matt Lakis

Date: 1/18/2013

Classes taught or assisted in this week: Popular Fiction/Composition III Most satisfying experience(s): Working with students one-on-one crafting their Mini-Essay in the lab reminded me exactly why I got into teaching in the first place. The opportunity to sit down with a couple students, re-explain the purpose, and help them discover their own thoughts is so rewarding. I also had the opportunity to sit down and strike up a conversation with a troubled student that left his seventh period class to cool off. I was in tutoring in the lab with nothing to do so I reached out to the student and helped him work through his home problems. He came in nearly crying and left smiling with a thank you. Personal connections like that are priceless and I can only hope that there are other opportunities (hopefully some begin more positively) where Im given a chance to show my students Im more than just a teacher. Teaching techniques that worked (Why?): Using movie trailers and technology like Moodle in class on Monday seemed to really captivate the students attention. The chance to interact in a forum immediately through the Internet and have their voices heard are what I believe motivates the students to engage with the activity. Using an alternative form of essay development really helped me connect with the students. I assigned a mini-essay working with the concept of connotation and had students reflect on their relationships with words. In third hour there definitely was a disconnect between what I had envisioned the essay looking like and they had interpreted it as being. So rather than ignoring the tension/confusion, I went back and developed a pre-write with an association web diagram. I think anytime we can make English (and the abstract connections that go along with the language) visible, more students will succeed. I learned the importance of pre-writing/outlining techniques and diagrams this week. Teaching techniques that didn't work as expected (Why not?): Monday was a technology driven lesson with a powerpoint and hyperlinks, as well as having the students practice using the online class forum, Moodle. I wasnt prepared for the hyperlinks to not work or for students to not have a log in. In response, I scrambled to find my links in a browser and reset the settings on Moodle. Ultimately, things ended up fine, but about 5-10 min of class time was wasted. Tuesday during Composition III (p. 6) I introduced my first mini-essay. In addition to crafting an assignment sheet, I also put together a graphic organizer to help congregate my students thoughts. On paper, the essay seemed to make sense, but I could tell there was a definite disconnect between what I had imagined the essay looking like and what they perceived it. Upon further reflection with Emily it became obvious that my assignment was asking them to focus on too much. Concentrating the essay down to just reflection, instead of reflection/critical analysis, would probably be a much more manageable task that still gave them freedom to be creative. By mapping out my students thoughts ahead of time with an organizer, I was limiting my students to how I thought. Im not surprised that they were confused because their thoughts probably didnt mimic my own pattern. Im planning on changing the assignment for last hour, so we will see how the students respond. Targeted areas of improvement: I know about 80% of my students names. I need that to be 100% so that when I call on individual students (not just the most common volunteers) I can refer to them by name and make them feel noticed. I also feel like there is a little too much down time at the end of some of my lessons. Specifically in Popular Fiction, days of just reading and writing/reflecting are necessary (especially since I told my students I would make a conscious effort to give them in-class reading time), but I would like to couple those days with a short activity as well.

Approximate % of time spent in classroom: Observing______ Teaching_100__ Supervising______ Planning______ Misc______

Student Teaching Weekly Log Name: Matt Lakis Date: 2/4/2013

Classes taught or assisted in this week: Popular Fiction/Composition III Most satisfying experience(s): The reflections or group discussion after the Comp field observation was without a doubt my most satisfying experience. People who ordinarily never speak up were speaking openly in front of their class about their opinion of the school building and the positive memories they associate with the schools features. Its amazing to hear how reflective some silent voices can be. One student specifically talked about how they thought it was interesting that schools preach the importance of individuality or creativity, and yet the school is an extremely bland structure, in both color and style. I loved listening to what they had to say. I knew it was a great discussion because I barely had to talk; the students allowed their ideas to flow naturally. Students have also been stopping to talk to me about their self-selected novels or just life in general after class. When I envisioned being a teacher, experiences like these are exactly what I had hoped for. My teaching style is centered around personal relationships and earning my students trust. Its great to see that my relationships are really starting to develop into something meaningful. Teaching techniques that worked (Why?): I thought that the Write N Pass activity for popular fiction was a total success. The kids were engaged and reading/writing their peers work the entire class period. Anytime students who are usually silent ask me for more time to write, I know that Im doing something right. Not only did the WNP give them a chance to demonstrate their creativity, but it also gave them a chance to apply what we have been learning (plot diagram) to their own work. In Comp, my lesson for having students develop their descriptive and reflective writing was to get outside the classroom do some field observations. We traveled as a class to three or four locations around the school, and each student documented the objective details they sensed. Because most of the students spend 50% of their day located at the school, I thought it was important that they slowed down and soaked in how the building influences their identity. I could tell that they all enjoyed having an opportunity to extend their writing beyond the four walls of the classroom and their reflective discussion following the observations were filled with wonderful connections. I couldnt have been happier! Teaching techniques that didn't work as expected (Why not?): My first attempt at peer editing transitions for Mini-Essay 3 didnt go as well as it could have in my first period of using the lesson. Its amazing how forgetting to say one thing during direct instruction can make or break a class understanding. I neglected to mention how a transition statement could be defined as stating the connection between two paragraphs main ideas (not just placing the two main ideas together). In subsequent periods I remembered to highlight that point and it was clear that the transition statements my students created were much better examples of fluid writing. The following day, I made sure to go back and make sure I reiterated the point I missed with 3 rd period. We reworked a few transition statements and Im very confident we all learned from our previous mistakes. Targeted areas of improvement: Monday mornings are definitely a targeted area of improvement for me moving forward. I need to make sure that all the little wrinkles of my lessons are ironed out before I step into the classroom. Ordinarily during the week I fix those by bouncing ideas off Emily or someone in the department, but after a long weekend that isnt usually possible. My morning periods have suffered slightly because of my explanations or logistical missteps. Im going to fix this issue by creating a more detailed lesson plan over the weekend, and walking through my lesson with someone else before I step into the classroom. This will ensure that my lessons are accessible for others, not just myself. Approximate % of time spent in classroom: Observing______ Teaching_100__ Supervising______ Planning______ Misc______

Student Teaching Weekly Log Name: Matt Lakis Date: 2/11/2013

Classes taught or assisted in this week: Popular Fiction/Composition III Most satisfying experience(s): Abstract-associations for Composition made for a really enjoyable class. Integrating media (Jimmy Fallon clip) into the lesson worked beautifully and the kids took the concept and ran with it. The best part was when associations came up for the class and students described it as being fun, enjoyable, and entertaining. Thats what I want to hear as a teacher. Yet again, a student stayed after class to discuss their book with me. I sometimes forget to listen because Im so focused on how passionate they are about the book! We are definitely creating lifelong readers in this class. Teaching techniques that worked (Why?): I thought watching a Modern Family episode in Pop Fiction helped the students practice the skill of abstracting a theme from a text. It may not be the exact same as reading a story, but watching Modern Family requires students to pay attention to character development, conflict, and resolution (which are all crucial aspects of identifying a theme). Emily claimed this was the most thorough she has seen her classes be with the topic of theme. Making the topic relatable to each class is essential in getting them to buy ineven if they dont know that they are.

Teaching techniques that didn't work as expected (Why not?): My plans for Thursday got scrapped because of the wrestling tournament. It was a little frustrating because I have the whole unit mapped out. Im finally starting to learn the importance of being flexible. Coming up with activities for about 10 students is a difficult thing to do last minute and I think that 3rd periods write and pass didnt go as well as I would have liked. In the future I need to have smaller activities on standby just in case this happens again. It seems like more tenured teachers have an endless supply of reading/writing activities, and I hope to pick some up along the way. Targeted areas of improvement: I need to figure out a way to motivate 5 th period a little more. Thursday Emily was unable to come in and that class saw the situation as an opportunity to get out of work. I can control most of the students and steer them back on topic, but I can tell offering more points and consistent behavioral corrections is not how to connect with this group. Perhaps playing a more proactive role in all of this would help (i.e. moving seats, student conferences before class, etc.) Approximate % of time spent in classroom:

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Student Teaching Weekly Log Name: Matt Lakis Date: 2/18/2013

Classes taught or assisted in this week: Popular Fiction/Composition III Most satisfying experience(s): First week completely on my own without Emily and the students have been very supportive of the transition. It was a little difficult at first not having someone to talk with, but Ive quickly found there are students in each of my classes that love talking with me. Its a rewarding experience when students stay after class to ask for advice or fill me in on what they are thinking. Teaching techniques that worked (Why?): The GRR has yet to fail me. Working with entertaining examples like the blog, Missing Missy make teaching very easy. Immediately my Pop Fiction classes were engaged and naturally followed the GRR model. My only hiccup was when 5 th period wanted to focus more on the story in Missing Missy and not the topic of tone. Ive learned they need more time in the modeling stage of the GRR in order to understand what Im looking for. Teaching techniques that didn't work as expected (Why not?): I presented a mini-lesson on dialogue for Composition III and although I think they understood what I was saying at the time, Im not sure it truly resonated with them. We applied what we learned to a movie script I found online, but I didnt model enough. I could tell by their repetitive questioning and confused faces. In Popular Fiction, I want to do more with tone, but Im out of time and really at a loss for ideas. I collaborated with another teacher and used our ideas, but I still feel like there was something else I could have done to really hammer the point home. I guess I will find out in their projects whether or not they get it because judging from their exit slips, 85% of them understand and the rest are struggling to get their completely. What do I do with that? Im thinking of setting some time apart while the whole class is in the lab to work with each student individually. Targeted areas of improvement: I need to come more prepared. Before I had Emily to rely on to remind me of the little things that are easy to forget about as a teacher (attendance, missing work, making extra copies, etc.) Its like a whole new aspect of the teaching has been placed on my shoulders.

Approximate % of time spent in classroom: Observing______ Teaching_100__ Supervising______ Planning______ Misc______

Student Teaching Weekly Log Name: Matt Lakis Date: 2/25/2013

Classes taught or assisted in this week: Popular Fiction/Composition III Most satisfying experience(s): This week we spent most of the time in the lab working on our projects in both classes. I always enjoy getting to work one-on-one with my students. The chance to get to know my students better through their writing and our conversations is the most rewarding part of the job. I am also finally getting the hang of the little nuances that go into becoming a prepared teacher. Things like attendance and other logistical points do not slip my mind. It helps that I have something for the students to work on the second they come in the room. This short period of student work offers me time to collect myself and run through my checklist. Teaching techniques that worked (Why?): The in-class pre-write for the reflective-descriptive essay in Comp went really well. I attempted to help students overcome their writers block through diagramming their descriptions and guiding their writing processes as a class. A lot of students took the experiment and ran with it. I also found an opportunity to integrate previous lessons, which really helped solidify the purpose for my classes. Teaching techniques that didn't work as expected (Why not?): I asked students to stay focused the entire week in the lab to complete their projects. What I found is that even with a check-in deadline, some students still arent motivated to turn their things in until the last possible day. Its frustrating because I intentionally set up these deadlines to motivate these students and only the usual students check their work in on time. Targeted areas of improvement: Find a way to motivate the procrastinators. What can I do better to focus the kids while they are working in class? Work on shorter, more concise reminders before the bell rings.

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