Exploring Nature and Our Environment with Kindergarteners

During my Internship I had the opportunity to teach a unit on exploring features of our natural surroundings. I started off with having the kindergarteners brainstorm what “Nature” is and I recorded their responses on a piece of large chart paper. With all their ideas, I was able to create my lessons based on what they knew and wanted to know.

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Here is the unit plan I created:
K Science Unit: Nature and the Environment 

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Process of Becoming

Every experience that we have in this life will shape us and work toward giving definition to our lives. Some experiences are very positive and up-lifting while other experiences are challenging and hard to go through. We also have a choice on how we will allow these experiences to shape our thinking and our lives. My pre-internship was at Regina Huda School in the grade 4 classroom. This experience was brief, yet is one of the experiences that will shape who I am moving forward.

One learning experience that is still on-going is the fact that planning a lesson on paper and actually delivering a lesson are two very different things. I would always have a picture in my mind of how my lesson would go but when it was time to implement it, it was always different. The student discussion and interaction always added a richness that could not have happened otherwise.  The people are the aspects that change a lesson and make it flow into something great or into something not so great. Many of the comments made by these grade 4 students impressed me time and again.There is always at least one student that seems to try to make the lesson fail. These are the moments that I was thankful for learning about good questioning as it is a good strategy that contributes to classroom management. Also, questioning can be a great tool to engage the students in deeper thinking. This is a skill that I am looking forward to being better at. To flow with a good conversation and have enough background knowledge to be able to pull out some good questions and move the lesson into the places that I want it to go–this will come.

My lesson planning has gotten better over the course of this semester. I have made a few lessons plans before this semester but the art of implementing it was a whole new experience. I definitely feel more confident in my lesson making abilities, though they aren’t where I want them to be yet. So this is one of my ongoing goals. To write better, with more information, and more detail is what I will be working towards.

The goals I had at the beginning of this semester were getting to know each of the students and their names, using different teaching/ instructional strategies, giving directions and learning classroom management skills. I did learn each grade four students’ name by the end of my time at Regina Huda School and made a pretty good connection with each of them. I feel that I made an effort in trying different teaching strategies throughout my lessons but I did feel I was more comfortable with using direct instruction. Throughout the weeks, I did plan to use different methods like interactive instruction, indirect instruction, and experiential learning. This is still a future goal for me the explore. For my last goal of giving directions, I learned that repetition is key! Although it might seem clear to me as to what I want the students to do, it might not be the case for the students. I learned that it is better to say the directions verbally a few times and have the students repeat it back to you so you know they understand the task. It is also good to have the instructions written on the board or posted up so the students can refer back to it. As we know, classroom management is essential in a classroom. Classroom management really helps in managing or eliminating behaviours in students. It also helps in avoiding chaos especially if you are asking them to do a task that involves the whole class and makes things run smoother. Although I have learned a few classroom management skills such as giving clear directions so students don’t get frustrated or confused and they have clear expectations, engaging the students in activities that are interesting, alerting and giving the students enough warning/ time for an activity, and having withitness, I am still continuing to make this a goal in my journey into teaching.

Moving forward, a few new goals are:

  1. Consistency – Scaffolding and building upon the lessons that I teach.
  2. More awareness of classroom dynamic – Staying aware of relational issues between students and being present in those situations will make classroom management easier and flow more freely.
  3. Cross-Curricular Content – knowing when and how to tie it all together.

So even from simply looking at the way I wrote the goals I first posted until now I see a shift in the way I see a classroom and in the way I think about teaching. The first three are more self focused in that they are about how I perform or how I will do my job better. The second set of three goals are more about actually creating a place for students to come and learn something. Consistency, Classroom Dynamic, and Cross-Curricular are more about meeting the students’ needs and abilities. I hope to continue working on my previous goals along with developing my ability to scaffold and build on the lessons (which I think will be easier when I teach a unit during the 3 week block), develop my sense of withitness in the classroom and be more aware of the classroom dynamics, and work towards tying my lessons to other cross curricular content.