Long Time, No Post!

Wow! It’s been over a year since I last posted! I have already finished my Pre-Student Teaching 2 experience and the first half of my Student Teaching! So far, I’ve had the chance to work with 6th and 7th grade math students at BMS and 5th grade students at Grandview Elementary. At Grandview, I taught an inclusion class and an accelerated class. I am currently working with accelerated math students. I am teaching grades 6 and 7 accelerated and Algebra 1. I only have about four and a half weeks left of this placement! Time really has flown! I can’t wait to graduate and be able to have my own classroom. If only I already had a job lined up…..


Finally Done! Reflecting on My Writing Process Never Felt So Relieving.

While reflecting back on my memoir writing process, I realize it was a long one but not as hard as I imagined it would be. The writing exercises we did in class really helped me find a topic. The one I think helped the most was when we had to write five names of people/animals that are important to us. After that we focused in on one person/animal, in my case my pet cat. We had to write five descriptor words about who we chose. Then we wrote a location of an event and wrote five words that came to mind when we think of the event. Finally we started to write a story about the event. This definitely helped me to choose the story of when I took my cat outside. The other activities we did didn’t really help me choose this topic, rather it helped me eliminate story ideas.

The digital story probably helped me the most in my writing process. I wrote out the script for the digital draft on my iPad and read from it as I made my video. I actually used this draft to write my memoir. I basically took the same sentences as an outline and added more details in. I think this was really effective and helped to keep me on track when writing my memoir.

When working with the final memoir group, I didn’t really get much from it. I think it would have been more beneficial to work with the fresh set of eyes before the day the memoir is due. That way if we were given suggestions to change something, we would have had the chance to edit it before we had already submitted our memoir for grading.

I think this memoir process has opened my eyes to a new way of brainstorming. I never thought to make a video or do the activities we did to come up with an idea. I was always told that brainstorming was writing things down on paper and making some sort of chart out of it. I definitely think the activity I named above is a better way for a person with my learning style to brainstorm. It was much easier being guided through the process rather than just doing it on my own. Usually I don’t even brainstorm before writing because I’m terrible at it and it never really helps me. Now that I have tried this new way of brainstorming, I will definitely implement it in my future classroom. Of course I will allow students to use other methods of brainstorming. One method is not always the best method for everyone. I’m just glad that I was able to try out a different method to better help my students.

Lyda, the Memoir

I’ve got some good news and some bad news, so I will start with the bad news. I forgot my laptop at home and cannot get it until next week. The good news is I happened to have a rough copy of my memoir on my iPad! I don’t really know how to post documents into a post on my iPad, so I have posted my rough copy below. The better version of this is currently in Greensburg, PA and I have no way of accessing it so I posted this copy. Enjoy!

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     This is the story of the time I took my cat for a walk outside.
     This story starts in the winter. My family was heading home from another trip to Grandma’s. As we were driving through our housing plan, I noticed small footprints wandering around my neighbors driveway. The prints were everywhere. They were extremely tiny too. I thought they could of been prints from a dog like a Yorkshire Terrier, but I knew they didn’t have a dog. Needless to say it confused me a bit.
     My dad said that the little girl there takes her cat on walks all the time. Spring, summer, fall, winter, the season didn’t matter. I thought this was the coolest thing since sliced bread, so I just had to try it. I was determined to get my cat outside.
     My mom took my brothers and I to Wal-Mart and bought a harness and leash for my cat, Lyda.
     By the time spring rolled around, Lyda had outgrown her harness and we had to buy another one, this time for a medium-sized dog! My brothers and I fought with her while trying to get the harness on just right. After we got it on, we were ready to take her outside. She, on the other hand, wasn’t as ready as we were. I scooped her up and took her toward the back door. She would not stop squirming as we got closer and closer to the door. When the door opened, she was twisting out of control that I just had to set her down, outside of course.
     The first place we put her was on the back porch. She looked around, most likely wondering how she could get back inside. She spotted our outdoor couch and trotted up to it. She paced back and forth until she leapt up onto the cushion. We let her sit there for a few minutes before deciding to take her into the yard further. We set her down on the porch and watched to see what she would do. She looked around and took in the sights for a minute and then plopped her body onto the ground and refused to stand up.
     We thought she was being boring so we tried to get her to move. When she wouldn’t budge, I picked her up and carried her to the edge of the flower garden. She walked along the edge, probably looking for a nice spot to lay down. When she didn’t find a satisfying spot, she stepped down from the ledge and continued across the yard, heading to the back door again.
     My brother Jason scooped her up and carried her to the corner of our neighbors yard. We nudged her along the way until she ended up on the pavement of the road. She proceeded to walk down the street cautiously until a giant truck came speeding down the road! As soon as she heard the truck, she jumped and started to scurry into the grass of my neighbors yard.
     By this time Lyda is extremely panicked. She ran up the side of my neighbors house and right up to their back door! She pawed at their door hoping someone would let her in. When no one came to her rescue, she stood up.
     She looked so traumatized that I just had to take her back home. I lifted her up and carried her back to our backyard. I set her down on the porch and let her walk up to the door. She scurried to the door so fast and sat down in front of the window. She kept staring inside until I opened the door to let her back into safety.
     She took one last look outside after the harness was removed before she darted upstairs, probably to hide under Jason’s bed.

Finally, My First Classroom Visit

Yesterday I was finally able to visit my PS2 classroom. I had to plan to go over Spring Break because the school didn’t have school on the Friday before break. I was so excited to meet the students I will be working with in a few weeks! When I arrived at the school I met my co-op and the other teachers in the classroom around his. Then I found out that I am unable to go into the classroom for the next visit day because student teachers aren’t allowed in the classroom at all during PSSA testing. Oh joy. I am really glad that I decided to go yesterday otherwise I would have only had one visit before we go for the full four weeks! I still don’t have any idea what I am supposed to do for our unit plan assignments, so I am really looking forward to working on that…

Anyway, back to the school day. There are 8 periods during the day, 7 are actual class time. In period 6 before lunch, my co-op has planning time which is also a resource time. Students are able to come into his classroom to receive help with any math questions they have. My co-op had to run to the office at the beginning of this period, so I waited to see if any students would come over. I had a few students come over for help. I was so excited to work one-on-one with them!

My co-op has 3 Seventh Grade and 4 Sixth Grade math classes. The Seventh Grade classes were reviewing proportions while the Sixth Grade classes were using a website called Study Island to review for the PSSAs. This site lets teachers create a combination of questions to help the students study based on their needs. The teacher can select which subjects need reviewed and Study Island prepares different questions for the students to complete. The cool thing about this program is that the questions are always different. Students cannot share answers between classes because none of the questions are the same. The students respond to the answers in class with clickers. The answers that the students choose do not show up on the page, the only thing that appears is a check mark saying that they answered the question. This helps prevent embarrassment if the student chooses the wrong answer. The teacher can later look at who chose what answer to help out individual students.

I really enjoyed my first day in the classroom, even though the only thing I did was sit in the back of the class and observe. I cannot wait to go back on March 30th with a “Get to Know You” activity to complete with the classes.

Lyda’s Big Adventure?

I’ve been thinking about what to write about for this memoir project. I was confused why we would have to create a video memoir first when we haven’t even written the memoir yet. As I was typing up a script for my video, I realized that it actually would help me to create a full draft for the final project. Now I already have the basics written and can just add detail wherever I see fit.

I also wasn’t sure if we were supposed to tell the whole story through the video or just an introduction. I decided the easiest way (for me, at least) would be to just tell the whole story in the video. I have provided the video below for your enjoyment!

I Have To Write What Now?

The latest assignment in MIDL 425 is to write a memoir. What’s a memoir, you ask? When you google the word memoir, this pops up: “An autobiography or a written account of one’s memory of certain events or people.”

We have been completing exercises that are supposed to help us come up with an idea to write about. My life is extremely boring and these exercises haven’t been helping me. The only things I am coming up with are stories about my cats (my first cat and my current cat). The story I came up with about my first cat, Mr. Missy, is sad but I don’t want to tell a sad story. I thought of things that I have done with my current cat, Lyda. After much thought, a more entertaining story came to mind.

That’s a picture of my cat, Lyda. The story I came up with about her is about the time that my brothers and I wanted to take her for a walk. We had seen cat paw prints in the snow that winter and thought it would be the coolest thing to take Lyda outside. We went to Wal-Mart and bought her a harness and a retractable leash. By the time spring came around, she had grown larger and we had to go buy another harness, this time for the size of a medium dog! We were so excited to take her outside and let her explore, but we weren’t prepared for what would happen next.

I think this is the story I might write about. I want to write a happy and/or silly story, and I think this story will work great. Now to get writing…

Once Upon a Time There Was a Digital Story….

In class we were shown a variety of examples of digital stories. After reading Chapter 3 of “Can We Skip Lunch and Keep Writing?“, I wanted to look into digital storytelling more. I went to YouTube and looked up different videos on what a digital story is and examples of digital stories. Below is a video I found that explains how to write a digital story.

I loved the idea of creating digital stories. I think that this is a great alternative to creating a book of stories in a classroom. When I was in elementary school we would write a story and illustrate it by hand. We were limited by our artistic ability to fully illustrate our story. With digital storytelling, students have the opportunity to use real photographs of the event to tell a story. I feel that using real pictures to tell the story helps the reader see and put themselves into the story. Creating digital stories also gives students more options to express their creativity.

Digital stories also give students who have a fear of public speaking the ability to share their work. The digital story will already have a voice recorded telling the story, all the student has to do is click play. I think this is a great way to have all students share their work with the class. Teachers can also use digital stories to host a book reading in their classroom. In elementary school, my brother’s second grade class hosted an event like this. Parents came to the classroom to listen to their child read the story the child created. I was invited to this event as it was at the end of the school day and my teacher let me go to his classroom in Pod 2, which happened to be the same pod I was in. I noticed that some of the students stumbled over the words they wrote. If digital storytelling had been around then, this would have been a great way to present the best work that the student created.

I would definitely implement this concept into my classroom. I think it’s a fun change to the way class is run and the students would enjoy it.

Poetry Schmoetry.

Poetry has always been difficult for me. I was taught early on that poetry has a rhyming pattern. Now when I see poems that do not rhyme, I do not consider them poems. To me, poetry that doesn’t have a rhyming pattern is just a paragraph



to look like a poem.

Teachers have always told me that it is much harder to write poetry that rhymes. I have also been told that sometimes getting the lines to rhyme creates a less than satisfactory poem. I have always enjoyed the challenge of rhyming the lines, normally in an A-A-B-A-B pattern. I just don’t think that free-verse is a poem.

As an assignment for MIDL 425, we have to write five poems. I was excited at first! I love to write haikus (I occasionally write them when I’m bored) and wanted to write them all in this style. Once I learned that we have to write at least two poems in free-verse, I was kind of upset. I started to write poems that didn’t rhyme but I just kept throwing them away. It might just be my opinion, but I thought they were terrible. I’ve tried to write poems without rhyming patterns but I am having a lot of trouble trying to get them to sound good. I will keep trying to get these poems to sound good, and hopefully I will have good news to report in my next post!