Monday, October 10, 2011
Class 11.5: 09/29/11-Planning Session with Mentor Teachers
The purpose of today’s planning session was to meet with mentor teachers and discuss lesson plans for our upcoming teach. It was in a relatively relaxed environment, which created a great setting for students and teachers to voice their ideas and concerns regarding lesson drafts.
The actual event was set to occur from 6-8PM, but the room (SZB 312) was opened early for groups to get a head start. It was required that every group bring some form of rough draft of their legacy cycle. Dr. Petrosino was relaxed in how we presented our rough draft; word documents, Google docs, and notes on notebook paper were all acceptable forms of a rough draft. We primarily needed to have written evidence of an outline for our legacy cycle, proof that we had a basic structure; simply explaining lesson ideas to your mentor teacher without any documentation was not acceptable. There was no required structure of the lesson draft, contrary to the norm for 5E lesson plan drafts.
At approximately 6PM, when most students and teachers had arrived, dinner was served. The provided meal helped contribute to the relaxed atmosphere; there were several types of pizza, salad, cookies and brownies, and various sodas. Some groups took their meals upstairs to a vacant room on the fifth floor for a quieter working environment due to the congestion of the room. After about 20 minutes, every group had finished dining and was hard at work.
As mentioned earlier, groups needed to create an outline of their lesson prior to the evening planning session. Groups have had several collaboration periods during class, and many made significant progress on their legacy cycles during the field trip to McKinney Falls on the 26th. Meeting with mentor teachers during the evening planning session served as a time to review the progress made between the field trip and our most recent class period. A large portion of the discussion revolved around smaller lesson details, such as supplies, trouble shooting, and the order of activities.
Personally, my fellow group members discussed worst case scenarios with our mentor teacher. We predicted a maximum and minimum number of student attendees for each class to allow us to better predict the amount of supplies we would need and how groups would be formed for the lesson challenges. We made an extensive list of all the needed supplies; it contained approximately fifteen items. Within those needed items we determined which would be easily accessible through the UTeach supply room and which our mentor teacher could supply (such as scissors and sidewalk chalk). We plan to use Labquests in our challenge, so we planned how many we would potentially need and what we would do if we didn’t have access to them and/or they ran out of batteries. The solution to this issue was to collect GPS coordinates beforehand (we are using the Labquests for GPS purposes) or use a simple GPS app on a smart phone.
Another significant issue we discussed with our mentor teacher was how weather conditions would affect our activities. One of our activities involves measuring the height of an object by looking at its shadow. We visited McKinney Falls in the morning on our field trip, and we came to realize that shadows would likely be in a different location in the afternoon, when we are planning to teach. We thought of an alternative was to present the activity so it was not reliant on shadows; after all, even if we were teaching in the morning, there is always a chance it will be a cloudy day.