Last week flew by so fast I forgot to write about it!
MONDAY – 7th grade classes did the lung capacity activity where they blew up a balloon in one breath and then calculated the volume of the balloon in order to determine their lung capacity. The first period, we split kids up and half the class worked with balloons while the other half used microviewers; the groups switched halfway through class. While it was a good idea to work with smaller groups of kids, chaos ensued. The second period, we just did the balloon activity and allowed students who finished sooner to work with the microviewers. I almost lost my cool with some students who would not focus, but I forced myself to be patient until the end of the period.
6th graders did some data analysis of an ecosystem with several populations as well as biotic and abiotic limiting factors. I love watching the kids sift through charts and be able to make meaningful conclusions. This was the third data analysis exercise in a row, so we were tempted to scrap it, but I’m glad we didn’t because it is a tremendous moment when the kids have gained enough skill from the first two attempts to successfully analyze complicated data!
TUESDAY – 7th graders had a quiz and watched the Magic School Bus episode on Digestion. The kids enjoyed watching and we did to! My favorite line from the episode: “In my old school we weren’t allowed to be digested.”
The 6th grade classes began research for their Ecoscenario projects. Each table was assigned an ecoscenario from the book; these included National Parks and preserved areas around the United States. Part of the assignment was to infer enough information from the articles given to create a food web. It’s amazing to me that they expect all the answers to be given. I had to explain countless times that the info should be inferred and not copied. It worked out well to assign the ecoscenarios as opposed to give students a choice since a brawl over Yellowstone National Park almost broke out!
WEDNESDAY – 7th grade officially began the Digestive System unit by discussing mechanical and chemical breakdown. 6th grade continued to work on their projects.
I covered two periods of the 12-1 class (a classroom for remedial students to have more one on one time with a teacher). It was a great experience and I loved the relaxed atmosphere. Each student had their own personal workspace and the room had its own fiction library. At one point, two students started verbally squabbling and quickly escalated to hurling insults and arguing. I recognized right away that I could not handle the situation and called the Vice Principal (who had already offered assistance if needed). I am glad I knew when I needed to ask for help and that the VP was there to support me. As soon as I called, the disagreement dissolved on its own. My training as a Writing Intensive Tutor in college came in handy since I spent both periods helping with their Biography assignment.
THURSDAY – my last day for the week since I took Friday off. The 7th grade classes learned more about the digestive system and had the opportunity to ask questions about anything related to the human body. We showed a plastic model with removable organs and the kids were totally grossed out; it was great! At one point a girl asked where a baby in utero would fit since the intestines are already squished up in the abdomen. The conversation continued down reproductive lines as another student asked about belly buttons. Finally, my cooperating teacher was trying to remember the word “placenta” and asked for the sac that carries the nutrients. One student rattled off every name in the female reproductive system and proudly announced to the class, “I’m the best at Sex Ed!”. It was hard to contain the giggles!
Only 2 weeks left of student teaching – I can’t believe it!