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Old 11-10-2017, 12:41 PM
 
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I have taught for six years, all in upper grade until this year.

I just had my first observation as a first grade teacher. It was a disaster. I was in years the rest of the day. I was told that my groups were too big for the sort we were doing. There wasn't enough engagement. I spent too much time correcting little behaviors that didn't matter. She didn't like that I used sticks to call on students because then other students "checked out.". I was trying to do too much. If I had more engagement, I would have less behavior problems.

I have 32 first graders. About 8 of these are major behaviors issues. Three of them don't care about consequences. What do I do? I asked admin to come back on January or February to watch another lesson.

This was a new lesson. I guess they weren't ready for group work and I should of just kept to boring routine for my observation. What should I do next time? How can I make sure everyone is engaged in every lesson?


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32 kids!
Old 11-10-2017, 06:15 PM
 
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I'm sorry this happened to you. Of course, they ignored the gigantic elephant in the room... 32 kids in a first grade class!

In my 30 years of teaching Pre-K to Gr. 2, I've found it best to do your regular lessons during an observation. The kids know what to expect and you can anticipate their behaviors to some degree. When I know an observation is coming, I tell the kids that the principal is watching them as well as me, to see which classroom is the very best. I know some disagree with this, but I tell them there will be a reward for everyone who behaves during the observation (extra recess or computer time, small prize, no homework, etc).

For engagement, I would have the kids share their answers with a partner rather than use the popsicle sticks. With 32 kids, they will rarely get a turn. After the partner talk, I would ask one child for an answer and then "raise your hand if you agree with Billy". Then ask if anyone has a different answer and repeat. In math, you want to ask them to explain how they got their answer. In reading, ask where they found the evidence in the text. Make sure to mix it up a bit - a short video or powerpoint, a song, a whole class or partner game, etc. in addition to the regular stuff. I follow the I DO > WE DO > YOU DO format for most lessons.

If you have a smart board, check out Plickers for a great student engagement tool and a way to assess who "got it" at the end of a lesson. I've just discovered it and tried it once. I hope to use it a lot more in the future.

https://plickers.com/

Last and most important, ask the person who evaluated you if they could teach a model lesson in your classroom. You would just love to see their strategies with a large class in action. Pick your most difficult time of day and say you would like to observe how one teacher can keep all 32 first graders engaged throughout the lesson. GOOD LUCK!!!
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Sorry
Old 11-11-2017, 06:39 AM
 
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this happened to you. I made the transition from upper grades to 1st last year, and it is a steep learning curve! You can do this!
The PP had some great suggestions. For partner engagement, perhaps look at Whole Brain Teaching Turn and Talk. I did that as part of my observation (after lots of practice beforehand), and the principal loved it. Whole class lessons are more predictable, so I would keep to your routine. We have a checklist of things that admin are looking for: student engagement, posted objectives that students can repeat, student practice work matches the lesson taught, etc. Do you have a list of what they are asking for?
Hope that helps, and feel free to message me if there is anything I can help with!
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Old 11-12-2017, 02:34 PM
 
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Thank you for your support. You both helped lift my spirits. I asked her to come back to watch another lesson after the holidays. I will be sticking to routine. I knew it was going to be rough one. There kids had been off all week. We are year round and we track off in a week and a half. Thursdays, the day she observed, are already the hardest days. The other days we have things scheduled to break up our day (library, computers, etc). Thursdays we have nothing and the kids get restless. We have to do lots of brain breaks. Should I have include that in my lesson?
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Brain breaks
Old 11-12-2017, 04:01 PM
 
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Yes, I would include a quick brain break, especially when you start seeing them getting antsy!


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