1. Planning Based on Children’s Needs and Characteristics
Knowledge of the students in my classroom allows me to access the strengths and weaknesses of my students and implement meaningful activities to further develop their academic needs. Teachers must use a variety of strategies to meet children’s social, emotional, physical, cognitive, and language developmental needs (Gestwicki, 2011). My second grade class consisted of nineteen students. There are only three students who are reading below grade level. The class as a whole struggles in math. My lessons have been developed to allow all of my students to be successful and I have considered their multiple intelligences and employed teaching strategies that include models for hands on learning. Since I am teaching on dental health, I feel it is beneficial to the students to use teeth models. Also these models help kinesthetic learners. Gardner’s theory is that people naturally have specific areas of strength and weaknesses, in fact” different ways of knowing” and all learners should be allowed to experience various concepts(Gestwicki,2011). I also used the Smart board to show interactive videos on dental care and information about the dentist’s office for visual learners. Creative energy can be channeled by implementing activities that incorporate learning concepts through art projects, group work, and discussion. I implemented a group project in which the students will be paired and were to come up with a creative advertisement for a new toothpaste brand. The students were to follow the guidelines of the rubric and be very creative. I found this activity to be enjoyed by the students. I even made my own ad to model for the students in which I enjoyed creating as well. Initially I integrated my unit to be taught in all content areas. Gestwicki (2011) states that, “An integrated curriculum takes advantage of this process by having all the subjects organized around a central idea” (p.113). My lesson plans are related to dental health since February is National Dental Health Month. Thematic studies in a project form the core developmentally appropriate learning activities in primary classrooms (Gestwicki, 2011).
2. Learning Environments
I made students aware of classroom specific safety rules for doing experiments. For example, the lesson involving the Sweet Tooth experiment will require safety rules regarding use of eye protection because of using vinegar which is acidic and emergency procedures in case of ingestion of any chemicals used. Also we used water which would contain an eggshell. It is important that students understand that all water is not for drinking. Lind and Wallace (2008) state that, “Some children think that because water looks clear it is safe to drink. Emphasize to children they should never drink water unless they know it is safe” (p.305). Physical safety in the classroom is essential to providing an effective learning environment. Students worried about their physical well-being won't be able to focus on studying or participating in classroom activities. Emotional comfort and security affect children’s readiness to teach (Lind & Wallace, 2008). In order to promote a feeling of emotional security for all children I had to foster respect and trust among students. This included respect for both me as a teacher, and for each other as peers. If students don't feel that they can trust me or each other, then they will be less willing to follow my lead and help each other. Children do not respect a teacher who is not consistent. Therefore I had to be consistent in my rules and my attitude. Above all, I never played favorites. Good classroom management means the rules need to be in place for everyone, from the student with the best skills to the worst. I also can’t slack off if I was having a bad day. I had to treat my students the way I wanted to be treated. This meant that no matter what,...