Required Summer Blog #2
Summer school seems to be an overwhelming success for the one student in our classroom. She excels at just about everything that is given to her, and sometimes it makes us as teachers wonder how in the world she ended up in summer school. In particular, there is one lesson that I taught that seemed to be most successful. We were discussing the body systems and Ms. Mathis had just finished a great lesson on the excretory system. Our student, MM, did an excellent job and we had drawn an outline of her body on a long piece of butcher paper and were drawing all of the organ systems on it. My lesson was to focus on the circulatory system. We identified the organs and other things involved in the circulatory system and were in the process of tracing the flow of blood throughout the body. MM was having a difficult time understanding how oxygen-rich blood left the heart and oxygen-poor blood came back into the heart. I then related to her an analogy. I told her to imagine that the heart is the North Pole and Santa is the blood. When Santa leaves the North Pole, he carries lots of toys. He then travels through the whole world and distributes the toys and returns to the North Pole with no toys. Blood leaves the heart with lots of oxygen and then distributes it to the rest of the body and returns to the heart with no oxygen. MM suddenly came alive and took charge of the lesson, explaining everything else to me without any prompting. It seemed as if a huge barrier was lifted once she understood the way the heart pumped the blood and she took off. I can assume that this took place because the analogy made the function of the heart clear and gave her the confidence that was necessary to take hold of the rest of the lesson by the proverbial horns and flourish. Another possibility for her success is the fact that she is the only student in the class and it forces her to pay attention to what is going on in class. I really think that was the reason she failed...she lost interest and quit paying attention.
The lesson that was least successful was a lesson dealing with DNA. She was out of it and I was out of it and it ended in pretty much a train wreck. Being a Spanish teacher by trade, science was sort of out of my element and I hadn’t studied DNA since my freshman year of high school. The lesson tanked because I had no idea what I was saying and she was sick and wanting to go home and go to sleep. Sometimes things just happen.
I feel that my instructional procedures are pretty good. I feel like I can relate to my students very well and choose procedures that engage them and bring the material to life in a refreshing way.
Differential instruction is pretty much a non-factor when there is only one student. I don’t have to appeal to the different learning styles with only one student in the class. However, I do mix things up with her. We’ve done some hands-on activities as well as just taking notes from the overhead. If she seems confused I make up a story to tie it all together. It just seems to flow.
My lessons would improve and the students’ achievement would increase if I had a better knowledge and understanding of the material. In a Spanish class, I like to think that I’m always two or three steps ahead of the students, but in a science class, it could be a dead heat at times. Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.