Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Volunteering: Term 4 in new class.

Today I started volunteering for the first Tuesday in Term 4 at D.H. When I came in, I realised that there was about one or two new practicum students in Mrs.M, so I was assigned to a less busy class under Mrs.H, also in the same year level.

Helping out in this class is really FULL-ON! There really isn't a minute free...! The class had Mathematics for the first half of the session, following a spelling activity in the second half.

For Maths, Mrs.H reviewed place value, talking about Hundreds, Tens and Ones. I was assigned to an indigenous student... He was one of those who needed much attention and the teacher knew that.

For Spelling, they worked with a worksheet working on words with the double vowel sounds "_oo_". The teacher also worked with the students on suffix "_en". They had to add suffixes to nouns to become words such as "oaken, ashen, brazen" etc. Words that I wasn't even familiar with! *LoL*

When I say spelling, it doesn't mean that they memorised the words and the teacher dictates it out. Actually, the students already DO do some kind of "spelling" when they compose words, but so far, I have not seen the same kind of spelling which I am used to in Malaysia that they do here. So when I say "Spelling" it doesnt mean the same kind of spelling that we are used to back at home.

During morning tea, I realised that Mrs. M didn't attend the normal Tuesday P-3 departmental meetings today. I guess this could be attested to the fact that she had new pract students who had come in and she may had to attend to them.

Right before morning tea, Mrs.H did Handwriting exercises with the classroom. As I looked at how she taught them handwriting, I realised that I too needed to practise mine in order to get ready for the lessons at pract as well too as I didn't know how the script goes...

After morning tea, Mrs. H did reading groups with the students. The students were assigned to 3 groups (one with me), one to Mrs.H, and one to the teacher aide. I was assigned to a Sudanese boy (who could read fairly well, but still needed assistance), a new Aussie white boy (who just arrived on Monday) and the same Indigenous boy (who had gone for Reading Recovery earlier). We read this book "Rascal" one of those books that came from a literacy reading series.

One of the strategies that the teacher asked me to use with this group was to look for words ending with "_et". So after that, the two boys took out their reading exercise books and wrote down all the words ending with "_et" we could come out with. When they were done with it, I asked them to compose sentences using these same words we had just made. Mrs.H then explained that the reason for this is because she was going to work with the same words on Wednesday for literacy.

I could see that both the teachers had different styles to managing the class. In this class, they did not have those "good behaviour" sheets to stick on the table for raffles and prizes. The students had less time to muddle on their own, and she was very much more strict with the students.

The students also did a lot of Procedural writing activities, as it was displayed all over the classroom. They had also done a Science display where they had done a bicarb. soda, balloon and vinegar experiment. I asked some of the students who were standing nearby when they were getting ready to go out for morning tea. They could explain to me what the experiment was all about.

Among the first things that I saw as I entered the classroom was that the Student Profiles were displayed on the wall. Each student wrote a paragraph (or more) to describe themselves and their interests. Based on those profiles, I could immediately work out whom among the students had advanced reading and writing skills. For the two students that I worked with, it was evident (if not obvious) that the short description of their profile matched their literacy skills...

For the term unit, the teacher explained that they would be doing Diversity (which is same for Mrs.M's class, except that the latter might also be doing an author study on one of the australian authors, Mem Fox, which in my opinion is more interesting though)... =P

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