Marginalia, Graduate Blog

Almost There

Danielle Holtz

I am halfway through student teaching. Today was the first day that I took the majority of control of the classroom—I was the primary teacher for all but one subject. My cooperating teacher asked me how I felt halfway through the day. My response was, “Good. Scared, but also like I know what I’m doing.” I think that quote would probably be accurate for not just me, but for all of my fellow student teachers. It’s scary to take control, but it’s also what we’ve been preparing to do for a year and half. I think we’re in that place where we really know what it takes to be teachers… and we’re also doing it. It’s a pretty exciting place.

Most of my lessons today went well. I had spent a lot of time writing and prepping what I would need, so it would have been very difficult to fail. My students are working in guided reading groups for the book 26 Fairmont Avenue, which means that I plan activities based on student ability and they work in small groups to complete the tasks. Today all of the students were investigating character traits and finding evidence in the book to support their opinions. I overheard a lengthy debate on whether the main character was better described as “goofy” or “silly,” along with a lot of evidence to support both points. I love it when kids dig deep, when they ask questions, and when they work hard to prove their thinking. It was a good day for that in my classroom.

Today was also the first day of my unit on writing circles. My students took a pre-assessment on some of the themes we’ll be uncovering for the next five weeks, and then we had a discussion about whether or not we consider ourselves authors. I was very surprised to discover that many of my students do not think of themselves that way. I’m hoping that when this unit is over I will have changed their minds! I’ve been working non-stop on perfecting the overall arc of this unit, and now I get to dig even deeper and plan the nitty gritty of the daily lessons. I really can’t wait to share what I’m creating. My biggest hope is that these kids walk away from this unit knowing the power of their own voice.

Have a great week! I’m off to keep planning!

Almost There

I am halfway through student teaching. Today was the first day that I took the majority of control of the classroom—I was the primary teacher for all but one subject. …

Elementary Education MAT Danielle Holtz, danielle.holtz@loop.colum.edu
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

The Graduate Experience