Danielle C.

January 7th – January 14th (2.27 hours) – Due to break, I was only able to go into my internship once in the past two weeks. The day that I went in, I did my usual routine of grading and filing at the beginning. At the end of first semester, I started to work more one on one with students which I enjoy a lot because I really get to see the students minds work. I have been working on sounding out words and sight words with some students which is very interesting to me because as a first grader, I really struggled with this. To be able to help them and see them get it, makes wanting to become a teacher so much more rewarding. This was one of my goals going into the internship and to be living it is so amazing. I can’t wait to see what kind of students the kids are at the end of the year.

An industry specific skill that I learned was how to teach a lesson and what the lessons entail. When I first started taking on this small role, I had a very difficult time learning how to make the lesson flow and how to keep the attention of the students. My mentor helped me whenever I would have a question and she would provide me with an example. This helped me a lot because I have been in school for so long and have seen my teachers teach me, however, I did not know the specifics behind exactly how to teach it. I am still practicing once every couple weeks and I really enjoy being able to learn and grow from teaching the lessons.

This will benefit my career because my career is surrounded by lesson plans and being able to teach the lesson. Due to being able to teach the lessons in my internship, I am already getting through the tough aspects of learning to teach lessons to the class. What I have learned is that teaching lessons is all about the word choice and how to get through to the students. My mentor has done a very good job in helping learn specific skills that will be necessary in my career.

A word that has been repeated time and time again is one on one learning. This is when the teacher works with students one on one and is focusing on their needs. I have done a lot of this at my internship mainly with students writing and words. When I bring students to the back of the classroom, this is what I focus on and I enjoy it because I am able to focus on the student and what their learning style is.

January 15th – January 28th (7.42 hours) –  A meaningful experience that I had was when I was able to help the students with a project. I presented to the class on what the project was and I enjoyed being in the front of the classroom. Every time my mentor tells me that I can teach the assignment, I get a little nervous and I am still trying to figure how to be comfortable in front of the class. When I gave the assignment, I was then the one to walk around the class and check on each student. Being the one in charge was a weird feeling because I had to come up with what I was going to say on the spot. My mentor is a great help when I have any questions about what kind of language to use and how to keep the attention of the students.

I had asked my mentor to describe the daily learning objective because when the teachers were planning, they were discussing the different ones for second semester. I have always known what the term meant but I wanted to know how they were written. My mentor said that they are based off the states requirements and common core. The class reads the objective at the beginning of class and they ask any questions that they have.

January 29th – February 11th (9.25 hours) – A meaningful experience that I have had in the last two weeks was being able to work with a student who has autism. This student is a bundle of joy and will never not make you smile. It can be very hard to be stern with her because she gets distracted very easily. This past week, I had her at the back table with other students working on understanding addition and subtraction with money. It was quite a challenge trying to balance working with her along with the other students. I had to find a way to keep her focused which lead me to think outside of the box in giving her different tasks. She is a very intelligent student and doing simple tasks can be difficult. The other students that were in the back were very willing to working with me because I think they could tell I was a little stressed… I can take away that I need to slow down but this taught me that each student is very different and I have to learn how to be flexible and teach to each students needs.

My first smart goal was to teach a mini math lesson or teach reteach with a small group of students. Over the course of my internship, I have been handed a wide variety of things to teach in front of the class such as worksheets, crafts, and projects regarding a certain subject. Math is a subject that was hard for myself to grip especially when it came to teaching a lesson or doing reteach with some students. Recently, I have gained more confidence in speaking in front of the class and how to word what I say. My first goal for this semester was to teach a mini math lesson or reteach students in a small group. I have worked with students, previously, one on one to assist them in homework or classwork. By having this opportunity, it was a great stepping stone for myself because it allowed me to learn how the students learn especially if they might be a slight bit behind other students. I got very excited when I started to connect the dots and what works as well as what I shouldn’t do when helping students. Recently, my mentor has let me work with half the class which consisted of students who need more help understanding and learning a concept. This concept was addition and subtraction with money. While this can be a difficult subject to understand, slowing it down for the students and going step by step, makes it a lot easier to comprehend. An aspect that I have struggled with is that students will get to a point in frustration where they just start guessing and getting upset. My mentor, Ms. Madigan, taught me that each student is very different and I could work with a student that is very advanced and turn around and work with a student that needs more assistance. My favorite part of being able to help the students is seeing their excitement once they grasp the topic and can take a problem and fly with it. Struggles that I encountered trying to reach my smart goal was gaining enough confidence in myself to teach the lesson and help the students. When I first got in front of the classroom reading stories, I still had to break down the barrier of being fearful even though I was simply reading. I do not know exactly why my confidence in talking to first graders went down dramatically because I can talk in front of middle and high school students all day. I spoke to Ms. Madigan on things that could build my confidence and in doing that, it help immensely. By doing these mini lessons and helping students, it will prepare me for the day that I actually start in the classroom. I will have got all the nerves out of the way and be able to feel full confidence in myself. Going forward, my personal goal is to be able to jump in front of the class at any moment without a second thought and not have to word everything out in head. I am excited to move forward and continue to grow as a person as well as in the profession of teaching.

A word that I recently learned the meaning to in the classroom is “practical skills”. A practical skill is a skill done by hand and without any thought required. A student who has autism has been working on her practical skills and growing without any hesitation. Many of the things she does are off hand and done very quick but when it comes to skills such as socially or things that many know automatically what to do, it becomes difficult. Working on continuing to push her to do a lot of things without assistance is a very large goal that we have.

February 12th – February 25th (13.34 hours) – Over the past two weeks, I was able to work more one on one with students on their math and any classwork that they had not finished yet. I enjoy being able to work with the students simply because I get a better understanding of how they are as a student and what I can do to help. The students that I have worked with just need a little bit of a push to be able to understand what they are leaning and by the time we have completed their work, I started to do a small reflection of what they learned for repetition. During the past two weeks, it was Valentines day, so I went into the classroom with some treats and the students loved it! I love feeling apart of the class and I enjoy it very much.

A term I learned was “collaborative learning” when working with students at the back table all together. Though the definition is in the word itself, I learned that when the students all work together in groups to complete a task is called collaborative learning. Group work is another term used when the students are all working together.

February 26th – March 11th (11.14 hours) – Over the course of 2 weeks, I got to work on teaching small groups and working one on one with students who might be struggling on a certain aspect or topic. Throughout my internship, I have been able to work one on one with students but each time I am working with students it reminds me of how much I want to become a teacher and it motivates me to keep going. The students that I work with have taught me a lot about how to teach as well as what works and what doesn’t work. I have grown a lot in my confidence with teaching in front of the class and I have been able to get up in front of the class and speak more fluidly instead of letting my nerves get to me (Yes, even with first graders). My mentor has been a very good at encouraging me to get up in front of the class and just be comfortable but she also allows me to just observe and take a step back at some times to grasp how to teach the lesson. One of my new goals for the end of the year is to teach a lesson in front of the class and feel completely comfortable and have my sentences flow well and make sense.

My second smart goal of the semester was to learn how to write a lesson plan. Having grown up around teachers, I have seen them write hundreds of lesson plans as well as seeing my teachers in the class write lesson plans. I have always wondered how exactly one writes a lesson plan and whether they were difficult or not. I had concluded that they are simple and anyone can write one in minutes, though when it was my turn to write one, I found that it was the complete opposite. While with practice they might become easier however they don’t just appear within minutes after sitting down to write one. To start off with this task, I asked multiple teachers, not only my mentor but my parents, my teachers at school, and family friends who are teachers to send over an example lesson plan that they have written. I compared each of the lesson plans and decided which forms of plans that I liked and those that I did not like. I got lesson plans from P.E. teachers, elementary, middle, and high school teachers so across the board, they were all very different from one another but they had the same foundation in one way or another. I decided I would write up an IEEI which stands for Inverted Essential Elements of Instruction. I chose this method because I felt it was the type of lessons that I want to teach and the style that would fit best in the classroom. I liked this way because it allows the students to be given a problem and have them find the solution before the teacher provides the lesson and instruction. A hurdle that I came to was creating the direct instruction portion of the plan. This aspect can be written a thousand different ways and this is the portion in which the teacher is actually teaching the students after they have attempted to solve their problem. The reason I struggled with this aspect is because I have been working on what to say when I teach a lesson and how exactly to say the words so having to type those words out under direct instruction became confusing. A majority of the time, I am able to think on my feet and say what I see fit in the situation but here, I had to think about it and make it clear as to what I wanted to say. Many things went well while writing this lesson plan for instance, I was able to get a good idea of how to write them as well as how much time I should give myself to be able to complete one. Another thing that seemed to go very well was that I had a lot of assistance and guidance from teachers which helped be form a good lesson plan. I will be able to use this a lot while I am a teacher because this is one of the key fundamentals that comes with being a teacher and while many don’t like writing lesson plans, I find it was a good skill to be more organized in teaching lessons whether it is for myself or for a sub. Overall, I felt that this taught me a lot about how I want to organize myself as a teacher and what exactly it takes to get there which started all from a small lesson plan.

I learned what the term IEEI stands for which is Inverted Essential Elements of Instruction. I came upon the term when learning how to write a lesson plan. This being one of my SMART goals, I learned many different lesson plan forms though this one was the most interesting to me. This lesson plan allows the students to attempt a problem and find a solution before the teacher provides them with the answer. I liked this form because I believe that students need to attempt something on their own and then have the teacher teach them the topic because it allows them to grow and believe in themselves.

March 12th – March 25th (8.55 hours) –  Over the last two weeks, we had spring break so being that I am in a vail school, the school was also on break. I was able to go in and assist with intersession to gather some more hours as well as a different learning setting. We had a class of 11 and we split them up so we had two groups. I was able to work one on one with a group on site words as well as their writing. I loved that I was able to do this because it gave me a different experience when working with the kids. I also enjoyed that it was more focused and I could really interact with the students. Along with this, my confidence grew a lot and I was thinking off the top of my head how to get the students excited and involved. Before, I would have to word out everything I was going to say and then when it came to saying it, it didn’t flow. This time, I just had fun and my mentor taught me how to have my sentences flow especially to attract the attention of 1st graders.

A word I became very familiar with was context clues and how to teach them. During intersession, we worked on having the students be able to break down a story and tell me the little details. While I learned this as a student myself, it was neat to see how it is taught and how to teach it to a 1st grader. The students were very interested in how to break it down but we did hear some funny answers that weren’t even related to the story but they were thinking really hard so it was enjoyable!

March 26th – April 8th (16.71 hours) – Over the past two weeks, I went into my internship site multiple times just as we wrap up the quarter. My mentor has given me a lot of opportunities to work with the students more one on one which I really enjoy doing. In working one on one with the students, I am able to help them in an homework or classwork that they had not yet completed. I get to understand how the student learns and how they comprehend the information being taught. We had a student who was out for quite some time and when she returned we had to play a lot of catch up but by doing a lot of one on one work, she was able to get caught up with the rest of the class.

A key thing that the internship program taught me about myself is that I need to work on my confidence when teaching the students. It is very easy to jump in front of a class full of my peers but when I got in front of first graders I got nervous for some reason. This is something that I will continue to work on and grow from. Another thing that I learned about myself is that I need to work on how I approach different issues when something comes up. Being able to be flexible has never been a great characteristic that I carry but by being in this internship program, it taught me that that is something I need to work on to be a better educator for the students.
2. Maintain a strong relationship with your mentor, Mrs. Wahl and Mrs. Polivchak
3. Have fun and don’t procrastinate anything!
A term that I became very familiar with these past two weeks was “assessment”. An assessment is when a test is given to the students to see their progress on the lessons that have been taught throughout the year and this is mainly for the states requirements. The students take formatives to go over the past week of information that they learned.

April 9th – April 22nd (6.4 hours) – During the past two weeks I was able to in way wrap up the end of this semester by really focusing on learning the most that I could. The students are a lot of fun to work with and I enjoy getting to see them so often and working more one on one with the students. Recently I have just been a support to my mentor, as I have been over the past year but I know exactly what tasks to do when I come into the classroom which is simply a routine now. Whenever the students have work that they need to catch up on I work with them on that. By doing this I am able to see the students progression over the year and as things come to a close it is crazy to see just how much they have grown. In a few short weeks, I will have to say goodbye and wish them the best of luck which is sad to think about but I am so so happy for the students and I can’t wait to see where second grade takes them.

A term I became very familiar with was active listening. Active listening is when the students hear something instructed by the teacher and then repeat what was said and demonstrate that skill. We used this when working on the carpet with the students.

July 20th – August 13th (36.09 hours) – A meaningful experience I have had would be when I read to the students at the end of the day. Reading to the students was exciting and fun because I was able to use different voices and interact with the students while reading. Though it was a very simple experience, I was able to take what I learned from Ms. Madigan when she read and apply that to how I read. Going into it, I thought, “Oh, this is going to be simple. All I have to do is read”. Little did I know, the students would have a million questions about the story, want to look at the picture on the page for 20 minutes, and be moving around a ton. Having to keep them all quiet and in check is a lot more difficult than I expected it to be.

From Mrs. Wahl I hope to learn all the necessary skills it takes in the getting hired process. I have already learned so much that I wouldn’t have learned if I wasn’t in this program. The hardest part about a job is the technical aspect. Sure you are a perfect fit but having to display all of it in a professional manner is the tough part. From Ms. Madigan, I am excited to learn all of the ins and outs of being a teacher. Myself as a student, I haven’t seen what it’s like to plan meetings, prepare a lesson plan, and what it takes to execute the day as smoothly as possible. By shadowing her, I will experience everything first hand and be able to know what I am getting into.

Two things I have already learned from the program would be how to be prepared for the interview and steps that need to be taken to get to the interview point. I have also learned how to write my resume which is a super important aspect of the job world. I have learned that I am super motivated to start my career as well as I am a people person which to me, is important for the career I want to pursue. Being a people person is great for interviews and making different connections in education. As a student, I am organized with all my work and I turn everything in either on time or early. I am highly motivated through this program and I can’t wait for what’s to come.

August 14th – August 27th (4.35 hours) – One meaningful experience I had was getting to read to the students at the end of the day. When I go in, I have a pretty set routine of what I do which includes grading, walking around the class helping the students, and also helping Ms. Madigan with any projects she needs completed. Reading at the end of the day is a treat for me because I get to interact with the kids and have fun while telling the story. Personally, when I read to them, my personality shines and I get very animated. When I read, it reminds me of how much I love teaching and how excited I am for my future. I am most excited because I chose teaching because you get to see the students grow and watch as their minds are spinning like a hamster wheel searching for a new question to ask.

August 28th – September 10th (6.92 hours) – These past few weeks, a meaningful experience I had would be when I was able to help the students with their writing and correcting basic writing errors. Every day, they do a journal about what the class has been reading and when I get to the classroom, I call the students back and have them read their writing to me. Having the students read out loud allows them to hear themselves read and what the words sound like and it gives me a better understanding of what I need to help them on. When they are reading, I can see their minds spinning and putting their words together like puzzle pieces. When they get stumped on a word, they sound it and work through it which is neat to see because they are growing. I felt really proud of myself these past two weeks in helping the students because it also allowed me to grow as an intern and move all the frustration aside of them not know their letter sounds and just watch as they work through it.

The appropriate conduct in the classroom and something I had to get use to was being the adult along with the teacher. When you go into a first grade class all you want to do is be sweet and not be the “mean” teacher but there has to be boundaries. After the first day, I got very use to this. The other teachers are very professional while also being fun and being able to joke around. My mentor, Ms. Madigan, has a lot of structure in her classroom and the students know what she expects from them so they are very well behaved. During the teachers planning period, they don’t mess around and they get their work done. They use the time given to be very productive. Sometimes, they plan out months in advance for some of the things they will teach. This is neat to see because I have known many teachers to be disorganized and just give busy work but my coworkers don’t do this. They are also very proactive in giving the parents updates and communicating very well which if I were a parent, would be very important to me because I always have a million questions.

There is definitely a pretty relaxed environment however, that is not to say it is not professional. In the beginning and occasionally, I would dress up very nice and look exactly like my coworkers. I spoke to my mentor about my dress code and she appreciated that I was proactive about my attire but also mentioned that I don’t need to all the time. Now, more often I wear something that is comfortable as well as semi-professional because it is a very relaxed job. One aspect I needed to work on was my sense of always being nice to the students and not having a stern tone with them. Having the fine line of wanting to be nice because they are so adorable and having to be strict is difficult because finding that balance is difficult. In the past couple of weeks, I have been able to have that balance and it has been so much easier. At first, I felt out of place and it was difficult to always be professional but I have been getting the hang out it and now I am way more comfortable.

In the classroom, there are two students with IEP’s which stands for Individualized Education Plan. I have heard the term before however I never really knew the full extent of the term. One of the students has autism and their para pro was talking to me about their specific needs and they had referred to the students IEP. Individualized education plans’s are set in place for students who require certain needs for their education and they are sort of like a reference sheet for anyone new that will be working with the student(s). The student with autism requires occasional walks and has focus words to help reel them back in which can be found on their plan.

September 11th – September 24th (11.3 hours) – In the last two weeks I was able to work one on one with a student and help him with his simple writing skills. This student has a difficult time with sounds and figuring out which letter is which so to help him, I came up with a little game we could play. I thought this would be the best way because it made it a lot more fun. For myself, being able to be creative with how I taught and how I assisted the student with their writing allowed me to figure out my strengths and my weaknesses when it pertains to writing. Over a few days, the student knew how distinguish his letters and seeing how proud he was in himself made me very happy and accomplished. While it was a struggle at times, we were able to overcome that together and we both found out what worked when it came to learning and teaching.

A term that I learned the full extensive meaning to was a “reading comprehension assessment”. This test is taken by the students to see exactly where they were on the spectrum of their reading and how the teacher could place them in groups. I knew what the simple reasoning of the test was however, I did not fully understand why they do them so often. I believed that once you had the first one, you were done, but then I realized that you have to see where they fall over a certain time period to see their growth.

September 25th – October 8th (0 hours) – Being that I am interning in a Vail school, the past 2 weeks we were on fall break. I wasn’t able to go to my internship site which is why I don’t have any hours for those weeks. To cap off the quarter, I absolutely love being in the 1st grade classroom with my mentor and I have realized that teaching is something I am very passionate about. I learned that I am very good at working with the students individually and I am going to start working on teaching a whole lesson. I am very excited now that I have set goals for my internship this year. My mentor has been a great role model for me and I am very thankful to be able to learn from her. Going into the classroom is always the best part about my day because I get to do what I love which is learning how to be a great teacher.

The method of communication that my mentor and I use most often would be texting. We don’t communicate on a daily basis so being able to send a quick text is the easiest method. When we started the school year, we emailed more often because it is more professional however my mentor and I were not looking at our emails constantly when either might have asked a question that needed to be answered fairly quick. Texting also makes it easy because my mentor always has her phone on her and it’s quite easy for her to send a quick text while teaching than respond to an email. In side the classroom and at my site, I use in-person communication because it would be very difficult not to.

I am very comfortable with the method of communication that my mentor and I use. It would not be fun to not have good in-person communication because we are in the classroom together as well as working with coworkers because they are close. It is very beneficial for everyone to want to help and communicate well so that it results in a good flow. As well as with texting my mentor, I am very comfortable with because outside of the internship, I know my mentor very well so we have been able to create a great professional relationship. It allows us to communicate easily and timely for both of us. Because of this, I believe I am doing a very good job with my communication with my mentor.

A term that I learned was the “objective” which is what the students will be doing that week or that day. Now, I knew somewhat of an objective because I have been in school for 13 years but learning it from a different perspective was new. In the first grade classroom, it the focus changes everyday but it still stays on topic.

October 9th – October 22nd (5.07 hours) – One meaningful experience I had in the last 2 weeks was helping a student with their writing/spelling. When I was younger, I was not the best at writing and I was very bad at my spelling. I had to learn how to get really good at it and it took awhile. I was in the same spot that this student is so being able to help is a confidence booster. When working with them, I taught them some tricks that really helped me when I was younger and I noticed that it was able to help them as well. This made me excited because I was able to apply what my teachers taught me in order to help teach this student.

A word that I learned was direct instruction. This means that the teacher is the one standing at the front of the room teaching a lesson step by step. I learned this term when sitting with my mentor and the other 1st grade teachers as they were creating lesson plans for the next couple weeks.

October 23rd – November 5th (8.1 hours) – One meaningful experience that I had in the last 2 weeks was helping one of the students with their vowels. My mentor had me work one on one with this student because they were just having a very hard time focusing on tests and assignments given to them. When I was the students age, I had the exact same struggles in school and every little thing would distract me. When I am able to help any of the students, I am proud of myself for being able to teach them things that always worked for me. I love being able to see them work through the struggle and how excited they are when they realized that they can do anything if they just work hard and say they can. For a couple weeks this student has been struggling and both myself and my mentor have tried almost everything but this go around, it actually stuck and they have been working so hard are not getting as distracted and actually understanding what they are learning.

When I go into my internship it is normally around 12:40 and when I walk into the classroom, the teachers are having their planning period. One day, my mentor was at a meeting so I decided to sit with the other teachers as they planned. They were working on formative assessments and I was able to help create some different questions and give input based on some of the students in my mentors classroom. It is really fun and a great learning experience to be able to branch out and work with my coworkers. They enjoyed having a “younger” perspective on some of material they are teaching to figure out if it would be fun or not. Also with my coworkers, I help them with any materials they might need for their lessons such as different crafts made and so forth.

The only time I would say that I interact with my coworkers for social reasons would be during their lunch period because no one is working on classwork for their students. It is a lot of fun to feel like I am involved in the environment at the school. My coworkers are always very curious about high school and the transition from middle to high because a couple of them have kids that will be making that transition. I am very comfortable talking to them about almost everything and I feel that they are the same. The environment at the school is very upbeat and positive which makes going into “work” very enjoyable. I am happy to say that this year will go by very fast but I will enjoy every minute because my coworkers make it worth it along with the students of course.

A word that I learned at my site would be cooperative learning. Cooperative learning is when students with all different learning abilities put their skills together to complete the task in teams. The students are all at tables with groups of 4-5 so having them complete these tasks is very simple. This week I created a new seating chart and my mentor expressed that she wanted groups that would work very well together. This was a hard task however, being able to stick strong learners with slower learners was easy because I know which kids would work well together and help one another out.

November 6th – November 19th (2.18 hours) – I was only able to go in once these last 2 weeks due to an abundance of reasons. Every time I go in I do pretty much the same thing but I LOVE it. I am still working with one student who has some tendencies to get off track with their work. I was the exact same way as a child so it is very easy for me to help them. I enjoy just sitting down with them and working out the problem. Recently, I have been working on math with them which was a struggle for me but teaching them the things that helped and seeing them understand it make me happy. I was also able to do an activity with the whole class which I was very nervous for but in the end, it taught me a lot about how much work goes into each lesson small or large.

I feel as if my attendance was low this semester and I could have gone a lot more than I did. I am a very proactive and involved student at my school so having to make a schedule around unknown events and dates is a struggle each week. I started to go every other day which was working but then my school came first. My mentor is very understanding when ever I would email or text her that I was not going to be able to come in. She had mentioned at the beginning of the year that if I ever was not able to come in, that would be okay which took a very big weight off my shoulders. For this upcoming quarter, I plan on going in every Tuesday and Thursday because those days seem to best work with my school and I can balance it well. I know that sometimes, I am very last minute with informing my mentor that I won’t make it and each time I feel very bad. Working on this and becoming more professional is my goal as well for this next quarter.

I feel like I have done a fair job with my time management but when things come up with different clubs, it can be very difficult. I had a tendency to put things over my internship but for this next quarter, I am going to work on making it more of a priority. The only piece that suffered was my internship due to myself choosing school work over it but I have realized that it gets me no where. My internship should be one of my top priority because of how important it is to be in the classroom learning specific things that will better my future. In second semester, I plan on going in every Tuesday and Thursday to benefit both myself as well as my mentor so she never has to question if i’m coming in. I will create a calendar that has everything planned out in it so I can’t change it around. I am looking forward to getting better at my time management because it will benefit me greatly in the future.

A term that I learned at my internship is one-to-one learning. One-to-one learning is helping one student focus on the task at hand. I, myself, benefit most from this technique because for me to fully understand something, it needs to be written out in bold letters. With one student, I work a lot on simple and large tasks that they just need a little help getting focused on the assignment. When working with this student, I can tell that they can do the task but they get distracted very easily so being able to isolate the student so that they can get focused is very beneficial.