Week 6

    What I have found this week is that some of the dynamics in the classes have changed dramatically.  We have had a new group of 5 students move into the village from Anchorage.  They are siblings who are all in the same class, which has doubled the class sizes for the 4-6 grades.  They have been here for a week and things have been steadily going down hill.  They are not interested in anything I present them with and the worst of all is that it is rubbing off on my original group.  The original group loved the word tools we were using in class, but now there are some bumps in the road.  The indifference is not isolated to the ELA class I’m teaching, but across the board.  Yesterday was the low point as I and the two other teachers I work with had to focus on classroom management.  Needless to say these students are quite unhappy about their situation both at home and at school. 

    I think this week’s data will have to be sifted a bit before I can arrive at a true representation of what is going on with my research because of variables beyond my control.  Things were fine up until Wednesday.  This is when I noticed a downward turn in attitude.  Before this, however, we were moving right along and the use of the technology and tools a fun and meaningful activity for everyone.  I plan to implement some more comprehensive tactics to get things back on track this next week.

    On a positive note, I have been working with our K-2 class teaching phonics, reading and writing.  We have been relying exclusively on the Saxon curriculum for this, which has been going well thus far.  This last week I was able to put an older Mac computer in the classroom and set up a computer station and started using a couple cool websites to enhance the phonics and reading instruction.  The best one I have found so far is Starfall Education (http://www.starfall.com) there are others that we can use as well.  Another website that we have been toying with is ABC Mouse (http://www.abcmouse.com).  Although I have been looking for free digital tools this one has a 30-day free use option.  If it works well the school may be able to purchase a subscription.

    As far as research goes and my original research question I am hoping to salvage the work done with the older kids and stick with my plan.  However, I am thinking of modifying the scope of my research question to add in the K-2 class, but with the same parameters for the research focus put forth at the beginning. 

References:

 Starfall Education. (2002–2012). Retrieved from http://www.starfall.com 

Age of Learning, Inc. (2007-2013). Retrieved from http://www.abcmouse.com

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5 thoughts on “Week 6

  1. Hopefully things will settle down a bit with the new additions to the classroom. Change is hard by many and the process of testing you is one way of coping. Stay strong!

    I teach Kindergarten and have used iPads in the classroom as an independent center. I do not have a whiteboard but do have a projector and screen. i project online learning websites for the whole group to interact with. I have used starfall.com and abcya.com with much success and student engagement.

  2. Hi Kevin, I was in the bush for 8 years and saw this typical behavior in both villages I lived in. I know how one negative behavior can spoil the whole barrel! I hope your new strategies this week will help bring it all back around. It will help when the students get to know you better, and know what to expect. Usually students coming from Anchorage raise the bar in the classroom, but I’d venture to guess these have moved back and forth a bit, so they still have what we called the “village mentality” for education. I know this whole process has been difficult to start with and then to have a wrench thrown into it all is exasperating for you! If you ever need to talk, get my email and I’ll be glad to lend an ear. I hope your project will be okay. I just feel like this type of research actually should take longer to do, with more brainstorming and organizing time. Hang in there! Can you say what village or district you are in?

    • Hi Karen,
      We are in Tatitlek, which is between Valdez and Cordova. Up until this past week everything has been great, but now with the new dynamic I and the other teachers here are having to make some changes. We are having to tighten up our classroom management and take action to get things back on track. I have some ideas that I am going to start implementing tomorrow and go from there. Another fun thing is that our head teacher flew up to Fairbanks with three of our students for a week of AFN. So its me (student teaching) and the other teacher who is new to AK and who is also in her first year of teaching. It’s going to be fun!
      Anyway, if this ‘test group’ proves to be too problematic I can scrap my research with them and focus on the K-2 class. We’ll see tomorrow.
      Thank you so much for your encouragement! I’ll keep you posted how things are going.

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