Week One // Friday 26th, 2016
Description of work completed today/this week
This was my first week officially working on the project in the classroom, and it was met with great excitement! Through the early hours I refined the overall design of the artwork and arranged what I wanted from the students by the end of this session. Michelle gave me the opportunity to run the class (with her guidance) which I found greatly satisfying as a learning experience.
I arranged the daily plan on the board with examples of the tasks, and secondary tasks for students who may complete what I needed them to do early. These tasks were;
1) Complete an outline of your hand, filled with significant aspects of “who you are”.
2) When this is completed, continue with your water colour paintings (as needed by Michelle).
Michelle did explain that I needed to simplify or change my wording, bringing to my attention that most year six students will not have a grasp of “who they are” and to give examples of what this may mean for them to make sense of the concept, which I did through the use of a mind map.
The hands each student made will not only give me an insight into who these students are, but will also be incorporated into the final design.
The majority of students completed the tasks I set out for them, with many moving on to the second part of the lesson plan made up of Michelle’s instructions. A few students however did drag out the initial task and required more guidance and encouragement to complete the work, with a couple of students handing in half finished hand prints. However, I was very pleased with the overall outcome from the students and their ability to follow my instructions from start to finish with very few issues.
How do I feel about today’s experience?
I’m really happy with how today went overall – I have never run a class in this way and I found it to be a great experience which gave me a small insight into what being a teacher is like which affirmed I am going into the right career!
What have I learned about the children’s needs?
I have learnt that the use of language and explanation is very important for students to have an understanding of what they are doing, and that I can’t assume all students will understand a concept, even if I understand it to be self-explanatory or simple. Something I didn’t realize was that a couple of my students are hearing impaired and require me to wear a microphone that allows them to hear me better through their hearing aide devices. I found this to be an amazing way for these students to be included in classroom discussions and was something I was unaware we had the technology to do in schools!
How am I going with my objectives and meeting my placement goals?
So far so good, already in this early time we have obtained our main materials and the design is about 80% complete with an understanding it may change as we progress due to space and time. However the foundations of everything have been set which Will allow me to start setting the board up for painting by next week.
What feedback has my mentor given and how can I incorporate his/her recommendations?
Michelle’s main feedback so far has just been to keep instructions simple and defined – giving a class of this age range options with their work is less likely to be successful than by giving them direct instruction to follow. Even though I felt I had given them a simple task with easy instruction, as I walked around the classroom I recognized that I could have refined it further by saying “draw a maximum of three things that make who you are” as some students spent a lot of time drawing lots of little things, even though I had said to keep it “simple” (which I realized was also something that perhaps didn’t have much meaning to them) – this is something I will definitely remember and imply in future teaching.
What do I need to do now?
Before next week, I need to further refine the overall design and decide on the key elements that I will be drawing onto the board as well as design and collect materials for the frame that will surround the artwork. In this weeks session, I aim to prepare the board through the use of sandpaper and primer, and if time allows draw an outline ready for painting which students will be able to begin with instructions from Michelle designed by myself.
What implications arise from today’s work?
That I need to recognize that direct instruction and telling students exactly what I need from them is the best way to achieve a task set out in the time we have. I was concerned with having all students involved and included in the project with a right to their own creativity, but reminded that too much freedom can lead to tasks being incomplete or over-complicated, and that the final piece is required to have a certain “look”. In other words, even if some students work won’t be incorporated directly through means of ‘creative license’.
What is the next step or way forward?
The next step is to collect materials for the frame, prepare the board and refine the design so that I can hopefully project it onto the board to make the outlining a fast, simple task.
I am really enjoying this project so far and have had a sense of achievement through starting to work with students along side my mentor, who has been giving me great advice and direction. I feel like I am in the right place, an can’t wait to continue my work next week!