Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A delayed #shadowastudent day

Even the best plans need to be adjusted.  I was going to shadow students over a week ago, but instead I was a guest teacher all day.  Today I got the chance to shadow a 6th grader in the morning and a 7th grader in the afternoon.  Interested students completed a Google form and I used a random number selector to choose the students I would shadow.  This is a picture and text story of my day.

I started out with Ashley, joining her in art class for some time with clay.  She did an awesome job and I only wish I had taken the plunge to join her on the potter's wheel.  A shirt and tie with dress pants kept me off of the wheel, but I was close enough to get splattered.  Ashley never gave up on her creation, despite some difficulties, and I was proud of her for that.

After art class, we went on to RtI, completing a word sort with time to read.  I was able to take part in a word sort discussion and realized I have some work to do.  I ended my morning with Ashley with Language Arts time, reading and preparing for a mini-lesson.  It was an awesome morning!

I took a break from shadowing for lunch and recess duty and then began my afternoon with 7th grader Emily.  She was in gym class, playing badminton, so I sat on the floor and learned a bit about the statistics being collected by the students.  Once we were done with gym class, I joined her for Literacy.  The 3 minutes of passing time was just enough to get from the gym to the classroom.  In Literacy we read a book and had some discussion time about what we read.  The other students treated me just like a student, and I was even called on to answer a question!

We moved from Literacy to Language Arts.  I was able to participate in the Circle of Power and Respect, sharing my favorite flower with the class as we prepared for Valentine's Day.  We followed that with some time to read or to find a new book.  When the students returned from the library or the classroom library, it was time for the mini-lesson.  We learned about citing evidence from a text and then had the chance to either listen to it read to us, while we followed along, or going to another room to read it on our own.  After the mini-lesson, we moved to the work room and Emily started working on her preassessment while I started writing my blog.  What a great afternoon!

So here are my thoughts after shadowing for the day.
  • It's great to be able to move from one class to the next.
  • It's great to be a student and have the students treat you like a classmate.
  • The students have the opportunity to read every day, so I did, too.  I almost always have a book when I move about the building so I can read when the students are reading.  It sure doesn't hurt to be a reading role model.
  • Our teachers are prepared for our students every day, and our students are prepared for our teachers.  They have procedures and expectations in place and although it may take a reminder or two, the students get right back on task.
  • Our students get to move around and socialize between classes.  I'm sure they might like more time between classes, but you can connect with your friends in the three minutes between classes.
  • There is little down time for our students during their classes.  They are "on" nearly all of the time, but they still have some choice (reading books, partners, groups) that give them responsibility.
  • The teachers treated this as a normal day.  They knew in advance that I was shadowing but they didn't change anything that they had planned for the students that day.  Maybe it's because I'm in their classrooms a lot.  It's definitely not because I look as young as any of our students, or teachers.
  • I need to shadow more often.  It helps me to better understand what the students are asked to do on a daily basis.  And I think they are more willing to talk to me about their day because I have their perspective, too.
Thanks to Mrs. Johnson, Miss Koch, Mr. Pomeroy, Miss Depies, Mrs. Hess, and Miss Francoeur for letting me shadow in their classrooms.  They treated me as a student and included me in activities that the students were participating in.  The students treated me like a student, too.

I certainly would like to hear your thoughts.  Maybe we can compare notes.  Maybe I can encourage you to give it a try.  The phone calls and emails will be there when the day is done.