Learning from experience (just not my own!)

Hello everyone! It is already the end of the quarter for us at Nikiski High School, I can hardly believe how fast time flies! Friday was an in-service day; we wrapped up grades, collaborated with the middle school science, and dug deeper into our professional development project on differential instruction. It was a very positive experience and I look forward to many more.

Now on to my classroom observation reflection . I’m fortunate to be mentoring under my old high school teacher who has 25 years of experiences to share. It has been great to learn from his experiences and I look forward to more to come. While I observe my mentor teacher every day, the specific observation I recorded was for a lecture about Bohr’s models and the periodic table (just to give everyone an idea). This was the second day of lecture in a row so class started off immediately with review about what was discussed the day before. I really like that my mentor teacher begins class this way because it allows him to immediately engage students and keeps them responsible for remembering the material from the day before. It also allows him to do an informal check of their understanding so he can go over a topic again if needed. The lesson for the day begins with the teacher reminding students that the expectation is that they are taking notes and that these notes are to be kept in their notebook as per established classroom procedure. I really like this method. The students know exactly what is expected of them and they are reminded of it. He is consistent in that he expects them to keep ALL papers. I like the idea of a 3-ring binder that stores all material for their class and it is graded once per quarter. This is something I will implement in my classroom.  This established procedure helps students and the classroom stay organized.

As the lesson continues, he keeps the students engaged by relating the information to them. There are a few students who remember information from previous classes and he allows them to contribute as well as tests their knowledge by seeing how much they remember. It helps this students feel important and respected in this classroom.  Finally, in closing he gives the students five minutes to record in their notebooks what they did today. They are expected to keep a table of contents with a daily entry at the beginning of their notebook. This gives students time to reflect and pack up for their next class. It also keeps the teacher from having to yell or struggle to keep the students attention as they eagerly await the bell.

Students who were tardy were dealt with immediately. They were asked why they were tardy and then told to get to work. My mentor kept the interruption to a minimum so the rest of the students were not affected. Another common transition or interruption is students needing to leave class for the bathroom. A procedure that is followed by the whole school is to write a pass and have the teacher sign it. The students do not even have to ask the question, they just write the pass and ask for it to be signed. This keeps students from raising their hand to ask to go to the bathroom in the middle of a lecture. The pass system is much quieter.

Overall it was a great class and mostly everyone was engaged on this day. Hope everyone else is having similar positive experiences.

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