Teaching Practice at a Bilingual School – 2 whole days of teaching

Last week, I asked juf A. if I could do the whole day this week on Monday. This, of course, was not a problem. Next is the program of the day, what we did during this time and how it went.

0815 – 0845 Play
The parents had time to say goodbye to their children between 0815 and 0830. After that, I clap and the parents then know that it is time to go.

0845 – 0930 Circle
In the circle there is time to tell the children about this week’s goal and games. I told the children that we were going to be working with colours. I started with showing them a domino game. I gave 4 different stones to 4 different children of group 2 (but made sure they would fit together). I chose to give them to group 2 because there was a higher chance that they knew how the game went. I asked them if they could stand next to each other so that the stones would fit. This way, we could show group 1 how the game worked. This would be convenient as they were going to make their own domino game during work time. When asking this from 4 of the children of group 2, I asked them to hold the domino stone in front of them for the others to see. One of them was being silly and held the stone the wrong way intentionally, as it was important for group 1 to understand the game, I asked him to sit down and asked another child from group 2 to come and stand in his place, without giving attention to the child who was being silly.
When they all sat down again, I asked everyone if they understood. I wanted to check this by playing the game together. I put one of the stones on the table and about 10 others faced down next to it. I asked one child at a time to choose one of the faced down stones and see if it would fit the stone in the middle. If it did, they could put it there and if it didn’t, they had to turn it around again and the next child could come and take one. They all liked the game and understood it.
I looked at the time and saw that it was almost 0930. So I told the children want they were going to do during worktime. When they all knew what to do, I told group 2 to sit down at their tables first. Then I spotted Flip the Bear and realised I forgot about him. As only a few children stood up, I told them that I forgot Flip and asked them to sit down again. I read Flip’s story.
Now I thought it was time for them to work, but the children all said they still needed to do ‘Stapperdestap’. This is a song they sing while all children who are wearing new clothes that day walk around the tables in a circle, showing off their new clothes. I didn’t realise that they did this every Monday. I quickly did this with them and as I was in forgetting-mode, I saw that I forgot to do the days.
When asking for feedback from the juf A., she told me that sometimes when it doesn’t fit in the program, she doesn’t sing the day-song with them and just leaves it. So if I forgot about this, it was fine for once. I didn’t have to do it afterwards. Also, the only point of feedback juf A. had for me is that she saw that some activities took too long for the children so I could have stopped it earlier. Some children were messing around in the circle and she told me it would be wiser to correct them earlier. I waited too long with this, so the chance it escalates is bigger.

0930 – 1030 Work
The children of group 1 were making their own domino game. Juf A. sat down to guide this activity with them. The goal of group 2 is difference in contrast of pictures. They are expected to make a puzzle and name the difference (dark/light). I sat down with group 2 to make a mobile. At first, they needed to cut out all the pictures, I used the same pictures as on the puzzle. In one of my previous teaching practice places, I once made the mistake to not make black lines surrounding the pictures where the children could cut past, so all the children cut out the pictures around the lines. Now, I remembered to make these. When the children were finished cutting, they could make 2 holes in the pictures, one on top and one on the bottom. After this, a thread of wool could go through all the holes so that they would hang from the same line. The children did not have time for this anymore today. All the children of group 1 did finish in time, but then again, it was less work than group 2 had to do.

1030 – 1100 Snacktime
I brought two books to possibly read today. So I read one of them during snacktime. All the children were listening to the story and I didn’t hear a sound but me reading.

1100 – 1200 Play outside
Kind of speaks for itself. We played outside. Nothing special happened.

1200 – 1230 Lunch
When the children are finished eating, they can get a book to read. When 2 or 3 children had a book, it got quite noisy and children who were still eating were looking at their books and their eating stagnated. I thought maybe it would be nice to read the book I brought to the whole class. I told the children who already had a book that they could choose to either listen to my story or read their book. But if they chose to read their own book, they had to do this quietly as others did want to listen to my story. I heard children say ‘Nooo, I don’t want to listen.’ So I told them this was fine, as long as they were quiet. When halfway through the book, I saw all the children of the class looking at my book.

1230 – 1300 Routine math
I didn’t exactly know what this is. In the program it says that each day they have circle time in the afternoon again, but I have never seen it. The teacher told me that in the beginning of the year she always did this but last time there were other things to do. I decided to put them in a circle and play a game with them that I had thought of doing this morning during circle time but didn’t have time for anymore. I had different shapes in different colours. The shapes were not important. I told all the children to repeat after me. If I said ‘red’, they needed to repeat it. I would put a red shape on the table. Now, I would say ‘red, blue’, when putting a blue shape next to the red one. They had to repeat red and blue. After 3 of 4 colours, I told them we were making it a little bit more difficult. Every time I said blue, we would have to put one hand in the air. This was quite easy. When wanting to make it more difficult by putting the other hand into the air when saying orange, it got too hard. We practiced it a few more times and then it was time to stop. It was only 1245, but I saw that the children had enough of this game. I thought that if I would continue the game, they would not take any of the information in anymore.

1300 – 1330 Choose
During choosing time, all the children can choose what they want to play with. Nothing special happened.

1330 – 1400 Play outside
It was raining cats and dogs so we did not play outside. Instead, we made ‘choosing time’ somewhat longer.

This week, I could also do the whole day on Thursday. The difference is that Miss P. is here today instead of juf A. and I talk English to the children. On Wednesday afternoon, we spoke about what the plan would be.

0815 – 0845 Play
The parents had time to say goodbye to their children between 0815 and 0830. After that, I clap and the parents then know that it is time to go. Because there is gym in the morning, it was easy to change clothes before going in the circle. So instead of playing until 0845, we stopped a little bit earlier so we would be ready with the clothes around 0845. For the gym, I bought some balloons yesterday. I thought it would be wise to leave them in my car so that I wouldn’t forget to bring them today. Seemed like a good idea, if I wouldn’t have forgotten to get them out of my car and inflate them this morning. Oops!

0845 – 0915 Circle
I started with asking the children what day it was today. The last time I did this, the feedback I received was that it might help the children if I would walk over to the board where the day is on. This way I could point at the days when asking what day it is today, yesterday and tomorrow. I remembered this and today, I walked over to the board.
The theme of this week is colours. I found a nice activity about naming colours. One of the children had to stand in the middle and a certain coloured shape would be passed around the circle while saying “There is something (colour) in my hand, it is going to travel across the land”. When I would say ‘Stop’, the children stopped passing the shape around the circle and the child in the middle had to guess where it was. The children all really liked this activity. My mentor told me afterwards that it would be nice to put on a song and when the music stops, they need to stop giving around the shape.
There was one activity left but it was time to go to the gym, so maybe next time! But I’d rather have some more activities in mind that we don’t have time for than have time left but no more activities. When children are not being quiet, Miss P. told me to use the ‘silent sign’, which is your index finger vertically on your lips and your other hand in the air. The children then also need to do this and be quiet. When another child sees one of the children sitting like this, they know to be quiet and need to copy this sign.

0915 – 0945 Gym
Yesterday afternoon, my mentor and I set up 3 different things in the gym. I picked these activities from a book that they had lying in the gym. In the first part there were balloons and they could try to keep them from falling on the ground using their hands or feet (or knees or elbows..). In the second part, there were 3 small mats. I told the children that when Zwarte Piet (part of the Dutch tradition of Sinterklaas) was walking from one roof to another (one mat to another), he had to make sure that he didn’t fall off (between the mats). So the children had to be careful when jumping from one roof (mat) to the other. In the third and last part there was something to climb on with stairs and slide of with the slide. When doing this, they had to bring a little beanbag and at the end throw it in one of the goals. This explanation took a long time because with every part, I asked the children what they thought they needed to do. Because of this, there was little time left to play. One of the feedback points from my mentor was to make the explanation shorter.
I divided the big group into 3 smaller groups of 7 and told them where to start. When they were busy with the first, I saw that the children who started at the mats, all of a sudden in the last part. I told them that they needed to stay with the first game. I clapped and they were all listening, I told them it was time to change and told every separate group where they needed to go now. When busy with this second round I counted the groups and noticed that with one game, there were 9 children. I told them to go back to their game. When this happened again with other children, I decided to clap so that all children were listening and then told the whole group that they were supposed to stay at their own game until I tell them to switch.
All the children were visibly having fun. My mentor told me afterwards that that is what counts. The next day, one of the parents told me that her son was really impressed by the ‘Pietengym’ and talked about it at home. This is always nice to hear.

0945 – 1030 Snack
During snack, I read them a book about a monster. The book was very nice and all the children were involved and focused on the book. My mentor asked me if I minded children going off their chairs while I was reading the book. It distracts her when she is reading so what she does is going over the rules when the teacher is reading before starting the book, like “Stay on your chair” and “put your rubbish under your chair and throw it in the bin later”. She gave me this tip, which I think is a good one.

1030 – 1100 Circle routine math
The children were still sitting in the circle. My mentor and I printed out a map where squares were on with numbers in them. If there was a 3 in the square, we had to put 3 blocks on there. Like this, we could make the stable of Amerigo. I told them that we were making this and asked the children if someone knew what a stable was in Dutch. I was surprised to hear that one of the children knew. I asked him how he knew this word. Apparently he has friends that go horseback riding and he goes there sometimes. I let a few children put blocks on there, taking turns. After some children went, I notices that it took too long for the rest of the children. It was only 1045, so I asked my mentor what she did in a case like this. She said when it takes too long for them, I could stop sooner. So I let one child do the last one and then told everyone what we were going to do next.

1100 – 1200 Work / Choose
I was going to make a booklet with the group 1 children. In this booklet they could paste pictures of toys they would like to have. They could cut out these pictures from folders of toy stores. They also made the booklet themselves by folding a red (cover) and white (inside) paper and pasting a yellow cross on the cover. I started with half of the group and afterwards wanted to do this with the other half. All the children of group 1 were excited about the assignment. When one of the children was ready, I decided to tell another child that was playing to come and make one. This would go quicker than to wait for every child to be finished and then make it with the other half of the group. When the children saw that I did this, some children played close to the table, hoping that I would pick them to go next. D. was waiting by the table the whole time. When a child working on the booklet went to the toilet, D. asked me if this chid was ready and he could go. When I told D. that the child was on the toilet and would come back in a minute, he looked disappointed. When another child was finished, D. asked me if he could go now and I told him he could. It is nice to see children so excited about assignments. Group 2 worked with Miss P. on something else. It was almost 12 o’clock, so time for lunch. Because the children were working so well and happily, I asked my mentor if we could keep working and postpone lunch for half an hour because after lunch, we would work again so perhaps we could switch lunch and the last working time. She said that this was fine to do. So we stopped work at 1230.

1200 – 1245 Lunch
Nothing special happened. At the end of the lunch, we watched yesterday’s and the day before yesterday’s Sinterklaasjournaal on the television.

1245 – 1315 Work / Choose
Already did this before lunch.

1315 – 1400 Play outside
My mentor said she still wanted to finish some things with some children, so we were going to go outside for just about 15 minutes and then go back in to work. So we went outside from 1315 to 1330. After that, we went back in and worked on things that needed to be finished.

New letter
I observed my mentor teaching group 2 about the letter m. Miss P. told the children how it was written. You begin on the top and go down, then go back up and make half a circle and go down again. Again, go up, make half a circle and go back down. She writes the letter m on the blackboard. Around this big letter m, she writes words that begin with this letter. The children may say words that they know which start with this letter. She underlines all the m’s. The children now move to the digiboard. They can all write the m on the digiboard. The teacher asks the children why they learn how to write and has a conversation about this. Because I was sitting with group 1, I couldn’t hear the entire conversation. When done with this, all the children get a sheet were one big letter m is one and three smaller ones. They write over the letter to practice.

Today a new story about the different animals wearing different coloured caps. There is a weird sound coming from the home of the tigers. Jo, the little rabbit is brave enough to take a look. Jo was the little rabbit who got a white cap of the tigers for being brave. The weird sound is coming from sowing machines in the tigers’ house. Jo goes back to the rabbit house to tell them. All the rabbits sing and are happy because Jo is back! They all come out of their houses in the middle of the night to do this, so they probably are not scared anymore. All the rabbits receive a white hat that the tigers sowed them for being so brave.
When busy with the story, two children are tidying up a corner in the classroom. They have a problem because they are missing one clothing hook so they tell the teacher. Miss P. tells them that they are helping really well by tidying up and are wearing their white caps. When one child is messing around with his chair, Miss P. says to him “Can you put your white cap back on? It is hanging on the back of your chair.” One child is humming and the teacher says to the children “Who has turned on their radio? Could you please turn it off” These comments she makes helps me to learn how to say things in a different way. It is better to say it that way that to tell a child to stop doing something all the time.

So sweet!
I saw the most adorable thing. When Miss P. told the children it was time to go home so they needed to put their chair on their table. One of the boy was struggling so a girl came to help him. They did it together. When it worked, they pouted their lips and gave each other a kiss.


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