Another thing that has been happening this week is major referrals due to computer use. One student (G.D.) had posted up a picture of Taylor Lautner (actor in the Twilight movies) shirtless as her desktop background. I had felt badly when I heard of that because I actually did not know that the students backgrounds were supposed to be of themselves. I had seen the day before a background of the same actor (albeit clothed) belonging to G.D.'s best friend. But since the behavior was inappropriate her mother was called and a major referral was written.
I.G. is a student who is really struggling. This is his second time in 3rd grade and his grades have been continuously dropping. His mother even called my cooperating teacher asking what was going on, because she has been taking away all of his distractions. During a time when the students were working on "Study Island," I walked past I.G. and he was artfully editing a picture of himself on Paint. So I closed the program, made sure he was logged into Study Island and had started a lesson and warned him that the next time he was going to move his card. I then was helping some other student when I noticed I.G. logging onto Paint again. I asked him why and he responded with a blank-stared "Huh?" and "I wanted to save it." I asked him to move his cad, made sure he understood that he needed to be working on something else for now. He nodded and I walked away. After the time was over, the students shut their netbook lids and lined up for a bathroom break. I decided to check I.G. computer to see if he had gotten anything done, and was greeted by the same picture on Paint. So I discussed it with the teacher and along with a major referral, he is grounded from the computer for two weeks.
It was a real wakeup call to the trials of technology in the classroom. I just feel at a loss with a student like I.G. He doesn't display any academic interests and seems unfocused. Any time you speak to him and direct a question at him, he responds with the same blank face and confused look. I wonder if he has any sort of attention disorder. It's something I think I'd like to observe and evaluate more, but the question is how?
In the ISAT filled weeks ahead, I hope to learn how to best encourage students during this testing time. My teacher has laid out a schedule with Math games, fun-filled centers and no Reading program. I think it's great, but that this time could be used to focus on thing there aren't often time for, like Science or Social Studies, I however have been instructed to think of a fun/art center to teach this week. I may not think that's the greatest practice, but I am not a veteran teacher and I have never seen what these tests do to students.
In Schmidt Chapter 6, I read a lot of information about writing. It seems that in this placement, the focus is neither on teaching creative writing or how to write academically well. No matter what grades I happen to teach in the future, I know that I will be teaching writing somehow because I believe it to be of extreme importance.
I love the strategy of using journals in the classroom. I beleive it's a great way to help students practice writing in a more relaxed way and to make writing a habit. I think that my favorite information is on pages 133-134. I love the idea of having jump starts for students who are intimidated by writing and pairing those journal prompts with reading other fiction in diary format (page 134.) I would love if I could introduce some of these writing techniques in this placement.