Elementary Education: Give My Love To Rose

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Week one of classes is complete, which also means that my first week of homework is (almost) complete. I want to jump right into what I’m doing in class, so here’s my course list for the semester:
  1. Student Teaching Planning
  2. Educational Psychology
  3. Methods of Teaching Language Arts at the Elem/Middle School Level
  4. Methods for Teaching Reading at the Middle School Level
  5. Technology in the Classroom: Audio-Visual Equipment
I’ve only had Student Teaching Planning and Educational Psychology thus far. Our first project in student Teaching Planning is to create a unit using the children’s book Ubiquitous. The book is a chronological look at different species on Earth that are “survivors.” It cleverly uses both poems and non-fiction accounts, so it is incredibly useful for merging language arts and science. Our professor spent some time reading from the book and then asked us to make a list of potential big idea topics for the planning of a unit. After some debate, the class settled on Adaptation and Evolution. This week we’ll be discussing those big ideas to try to determine what essential questions we’d want a classroom of students to think about. The goal of this lesson seems to be to learn how to plan an entire unit and from there eventually we’ll get to daily lesson plans. It’s a backwards approach and one that I’m interested to wrap my brain around. I hope to share a portion of the unit on this blog as we begin to build it.
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I’m feeling much more intrigued by Educational Psychology than I first imagined I would be. Our first class started us on the path to breaking down what makes a good teacher and why they teach that way. Throughout the course we’ll be keeping a personal journal about our own learning experiences. Our first assignment for the journal was to write about a successful teacher we have had and how we might emulate this teacher in our own classroom. This was of particular interest to me, because the reason I decided to pursue graduate school for teaching was largely because of an undergraduate professor, Dr. Rosemarie Bank.
Here is an excerpt from my journal:
Dr. Bank taught Theatre History I, II, and III. She had a reputation among many students as being tough, and I remember that even before meeting her. However, the smartest and most engaging students who had her spoke of her reverently as being the professor who sparked something in them – either a new pursuit or interest in a style of theatre or simply a new way of thinking about text analysis. She was an excellent lecturer, although she would spend the majority of class sparking lively debate about the deeper meaning; the connection to the time period, the beauty in a new style, or the need for a type of theatre that arose from politics or war. She always encouraged us to delve deeper, to care about our pasts as artists and to look into difficult subjects with vigor. I remember she spoke so passionately about Waiting for Godot that she was moved to tears. She represented something that I think was otherwise missing in my undergraduate program – an interest in preserving the sacred, the complex, the history of what we do and why we do it. Dr. Bank proved to me every day that my work in her class was meaningful, that I was learning something profound, and that if I carried it forward it would always be of use to me.
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See you next week!