Reflection on Artifacts for Standard Four
Standard Four: Classroom Practice is where I feel I need to work the most on in my student teaching. The artifacts I posted demonstrate my start on this standard, my attempts and failures in mastering classroom practice, where I excel and where I need to continue working.
On the first day of class I gave a mini-lesson on the difference between historical documents and historical artifacts. I took the class on trip to Earth from Mars to find a deserted providence of the future where they found only two t-shirts from the 2004 champion Red Sox and asked them what they could learn about this society from those shirts. They got into it and had a lot of great answers. It was a great way to open up the lesson, during which I quickly gave definitions of both historical documents and historical artifacts and then gave a couple of examples to the class and asked them how they could be used as either one or both. Then to assess their understanding I asked the class to do an exit ticket giving an example of both a historical document and a historical artifact. The students all excelled at determining the difference and giving a clear example of both. This form of assessment also gave me into their lives as some of the students opted to write very personal examples from their own lives. For example, one student pointed to the newspaper article about her cousin being shot and killed as a historical document and another student pointed to a piece of jewelry she received from her mom before she was deported as a historical artifact. This was great because not only were the students learning historical skills and terms but they were also connecting history to their own lives a fundamental goal of our curriculum this summer. For homework that night students were assigned to bring in a personal historical artifact to share with the class the next day, another form of assessment of understanding and another great opportunity for us and the students to get to know each other and set up a positive classroom environment.
It largely went down hill from that lesson. When we realized that students were talkative during journaling on the first day and that we didn’t clearly scaffold, explain or model journal entries (including entrance and exit tickets) I decided to try to scaffold, explain and model proper journaling technique the next day. This was a frequent problem throughout the summer, I didn’t scaffold, explain, provide the necessary skills or model enough for students to get the most of assignments and activities. While this lesson went well, my co-teacher and I didn’t really reinforce it through the summer as well as possible. I should have made a bigger point of making sure that students were following all the journaling guidelines (not just being quiet) and scaffold the journal entries more to ensure they were working not just on their writing but also their critical thinking skills.
The anticipation guide was both a great activity and a failure. It was great because it got the students thinking about some of the major themes of the text before we read it and students spent quality time and thought developing their answers independently as evidenced by their work. But I and my co-teacher did not scaffold the debate and educate students on debating skills so the lesson fell flat as the “debate” turned into side conversations and petty arguments.
In the lesson on the colonization of Africa, I had the students sitting taking notes for too long and didn’t have the students moving around actively in engage in the material for enough time. And the two activities I gave them to engage with the material I didn’t provide enough structure or time for them to make meaning out of. I will work on this in the future.
And lastly the lesson on primary and secondary sources was one of my better ones. I gave students time and opportunity to engage with the material in a non-linguistic way and share their prior knowledge with each other. I also gave students time to apply their skills and knowledge learned in a worksheet to determine whether items were primary or secondary sources. The problem with this lesson was I wasn’t sensitive to their understanding and didn’t move on and have better pacing when I realized they understood the material.