My Capstone Project was to teach a class at my middle school that I previously attended: Greene Street Friends School. I wanted to teach them about math, which is a subject I’m passionate about. I introduced the students a new concept a bit ahead of time, which the teacher whom I was working with encouraged. I also worked with a partner; Peter Ricker, who was also teaching a math class in the same school. We collaborated with our mentor and the math teacher in order to finalize our learning plan and what concepts we were going to teach the class. We researched many topics on how to keep children engaged in learning and how to convey new concepts to children who may not get it the first time. Teaching the class proved harder than we though, and a newfound respect for teachers blossomed from my experience. However, it was an engaging and learning experience that I thoroughly enjoyed.
After going over the warm up problem for the class, I walked around to help the students get an idea of what to do and see what their answers were. I wanted to see their progress and their work and what their thinking actually was before trying my best to steer them in the right direction without outwardly telling them the answer.
This was after conversing with the teacher about the problem and how to go along with teaching the class about the new concept. Here, I write down the steps on the board and take questions as we go along, the class thoroughly engaged.
Canon, Chris. "Engaging Students | How to Keep Students Engaged!"YouTube. YouTube, 8 May 2013.
Web. 30 Jan. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-39RPNvmoE>
This video provides me with more information about activities for students in the classroom. It also provides information on the types of activities and how they should be set up in order to keep students engaged in the activity itself. This source is very useful because it provides me with idea on how to set up the activities and drives me away from doing worksheets or a short quiz at the end of the class. However, one limitation is that the author talks about keeping them engaged during the entire year, not just on the first day, which is difficult because I’m only going to be with the kids for an hour during the day.
ESL5204. "The Toughest Class You Will Ever Teach: 9 Tips for Engaging Middle School Students."
BusyTeacher. BusyTeacher, n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.
This source provides me information about teaching a middle school class, basically the age group I’m aiming to teach. It also provides me with information about to construct a lesson plan and classroom activities in order to keep the kids engaged. It gives me ideas about discussions and physical activities, and how the middle school mind works. They describe it as “... what does a teacher do when her students are too young to think like adults but are trying their hardest to escape childhood?” That quote helps me think about how their minds work and what I was like when I was in middle school. However, one setback to this source is that it’s not very detailed and doesn’t give examples of what I could do.
"Free Resources for Teachers: Middle School." Free Resources for Teachers: Middle School. National
Institute on Drug Abuse, Jan. 2014. Web. 30 Jan. 2015. <http://www.drugabuse.gov/free-resources-teachers-middle-school>
This source gives me a lot of links and different resources about teaching about drug use to middle school students. This is extremely helpful because it gives me many resources to use and activities to do with the kids. It comes from the National Institute on Drug Abuse so I know it’s accurate information that’s being given to me, and I know it’s helpful in making middle schoolers understand the dangers of drugs. I knew I was going to have a hard time explaining drugs to middle schools in order for them to understand, and make them comprehend the dangers, especially since high school is right around the corner for them.
Johnson, Ben. "The Art of Managing Middle School Students." Edutopia. George Lucas Educational
Foundation, 4 Sept. 2014. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.
This source provides me information about middle school student behaviors and how to deal with them effectively. It also gives me ideas about engaging the students and making them pay attention to me and what I’m teaching. One setback to this source is that the source puts down the advice, thinking that the teacher who is reading the source is an adult, while I’m a teenager, someone who is at most four years older than the kids I’ll be teaching. Demanding respect from kids as a kid myself is a bit difficult, since I know as a middle schooler I wouldn’t pay a senior in high school any mind at all. However, I shall still use this source because it’s still helpful in other areas, and maybe I can implement the advice given and be successful.
"Marijuana: Facts Parents Need to Know." Talking to Your Kids-Communicating the Risks. National Institute
on Drug Abuse, Mar. 2014. Web. 30 Jan. 2015. <http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-facts-parents-need-to-know/talking-to-your-kids-communicating-risks>
This source provides me with information about talking to middle school children about drugs, specifically Marijuana. It gives all the warnings about it being addictive and crushes some myths about it as well. This source is going to help me talk to the kids about drugs in general, not just marijuana. One limitation to this source is the fact that it’s only talking about marijuana and not any other drugs, which makes me think that I should only talk about marijuana since it’s the most prevalent in high school.
Milkova, Stiliana. "Strategies for Effective Lesson Planning." Strategies for Effective Lesson Planning.
Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.
This source provides me with information on how to create a productive and interesting lesson plan, especially without having to teach kids about something they already know. It will help me formulate every aspect of the teaching/learning plan, and combined with other sources, will help me have a layout and be more organized with this learning process. It gives me detailed explanations on how to do each part of the lesson plan while keeping students engaged. I selected this source because it stemmed from a teaching department in a university, which I would think would be experts on how to teach children.
"Publications - Mind Over Matter." Publications. National Institute on Drug Abuse, n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2015.
This source provides me with information and games and activities about drug abuse and the effects it has on the brain and body. They seem really fun and interesting for the middle schoolers to play, and they don’t require any technology to play and do the activity. I chose this source because it’s from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, meaning these games are accurate and truthful and don’t contain anything that’s inaccurate or might throw my lesson off track. This source is very useful because it gives me ideas of activities the kids could do in order to enhance their learning experience and make the class interesting and fun and very engaging.
Strauss, Valerie. "Five Key Strategies to Get/keep Kids Engaged at School." Washington Post. The
Washington Post, 29 Oct. 2013. Web. 29 Jan. 2015. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/10/29/five-key-strategies-to-getkeep-kids-engaged-at-school/>
This source provides me with information regarding student engagement in the classroom. The content in the article comes from a book called “Classroom Q & As: Expert Strategies For Teaching,”, published by Education Week. It talked about how to keep students engaged throughout the year. However, one setback of this source is just that: it’s about keeping kids engaged throughout the year instead of just one classroom session at a time. Despite this though, I can still use this source to help me formulate a productive and interesting lesson plan for the middle schoolers in order to keep them from falling asleep at their desks or talking to one another.
Taylor, Miranda. "A Lesson in Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse for MN Middle Schoolers." Health Talk.
University Minnesota, 02 Oct. 2013. Web. 30 Jan. 2015. < http://www.healthtalk.umn.edu/2013/10/02/prescription-drug-abus-education-for-mn-middle-schools/>
This source provides me with ideas on how to teach the middle schoolers about drugs and the effect they can have on their lives. It even talks about talking to them about high school and making them realize they’ll be around drugs all the time once they come to high school, and learning how to politely turn away from people who offer them, no matter what they say. And even they give some examples as to what the kids might ask me and how I can even incorporate humor and some silliness into the conversation so that it won’t be so tense in the classroom. One limitation to this source is that it’s more of an article talking about what some people from the University of Minnesota did while teaching kids about drugs.
Wolpert-Gawron, Heather. "Kids Speak Out on Student Engagement. "Edutopia. George Lucas Educational
Foundation, 26 Apr. 2012. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.
This source provides me information about what keeps kids engaged during a lesson in the classroom. The quotes on the article come from actual eighth grade students, right around the range I’m looking to teach for my Capstone. This source is very helpful because it gives me ideas on classroom activities and things to do so the children can stay engaged and actually pay attention to the point of the lesson, along with having fun and giving them something to remember. It makes my job easier when creating a lesson plan so I know what to do and what to give the kids in order to have a productive classroom experience.