Over spring break I went to Aldine Texas with the Education department. Actually it was all early childhood majors except me and Dr. P's son. We went to see the Aldine school system. We left Saturday March 4 and came back late Tuesday night. Our flight was delayed 2.5 hours due to who knows what, so we got to Houston around 4:30-ish which would be 5:30-ish in Ohio.
We decided to go to the Texas Rodeo, because most of us wanted to see Billy Kurington, but we missed the concert, so we just went to the huuuge carnival. Sara and I split yummy barbecue ribs and funnel cake. We were going to ride rides but decided not to do that, because the tickets were expensive. We got back to the hotel around 11:30 in Texas which was 12:30 in Ohio so pretty late.
On Sunday we went to Nasa space station in Houston and took a tram tour of some of the buildings including the old mission control center that was used for the first landing on the moon in 1969, and also the training center for the astronauts. It was cool, but I do wish I could have seen them. We went through a building that was the whole space craft that was the length of the building. It showed the rocket boosters as well. I also got an "audio tour" which was basically an MP3 player and a sheet with numbers that you typed into the player to hear what they said about whatever you were looking at, but I just ended up typing in some numbers to hear information since I obviously couldn't see what was around me anyway. Sara and I got dip-and-dots! They were sooo good! We had trouble getting the vending machine to work. Yeah, a vending machine for dip-and-dots. Weird, huh? We finally went to the actual stand and got them.
After Nasa we went to Galviston, (which I didn't realize is completely an island), and after driving around for awhile looking at houses and trying to decide where to eat, walked around on the beach. Bilko loved running around on his flexy leash. He even went into the canal for a little bit! It wasn't deep at all and no waves but he did like walking around in it. He did drink salt water, and I kept having to stop him, so I fed him and he drank pretty much a full bottle of water.
We finally decided to go eat at some famous Texas place called Lubi's, but it wasn't there anymore, so we went to this Italian and seafood restaurant called Mario's and I got lobster-stuffed ravioli that was quite good and jelato for desert. It was good. I'd never had and before, but the meal and it were expensive. $25 for everything. We had a really cool waiter who gave us tons of samples of jelato and Sara and I took a picture with him.
Monday we went to a EC Pre-k school that was a public pre-k-- weird since we don't have them in Ohio. It was a montessorri school for economically disadvantaged children. Here are my notes from it:
Preschool: montessorri schools are very structured and quiet. Did a song about reading before reading a book. (Read a book called The Cow Boy mouse. Haha!) Read aloud together. The teacher read the book but the kids did read it too. Lots of repetitions. They use a lot more difficult words than many preschools. Lots of singing. Lots of repetition used in instruction and memory techniques. Sounding out words. 100% participation (everyone gets to participate.) Visuals for everything. A lot of songs that the students sing to tell peers good job. (That's the way I like it for example.) Songs for rule following. lots of songs and motions. (I am happy when you follow the rules. I am sad when you don't follow the rules. to the tune of if your happy and you know it.) I don't like how she used pink for girls and blue for boys when giving students writing paper. The classroom is very colorful and everything is labeled. The curriculum now is what we learned in kindergarten. LOTS of repetition. They repeated the learning goals for the lessens after the teacher said them. In gym they were more like typical kids. They played a game where they had a "magic clip" and whoever had the clip had to run around the room until they found their partner and then they had to go get the number of beanbags that was said and take them back to their spot. They shared, practiced counting, and got exercise as well as listening. The teacher also had a moddle of what the kids were supposed to do on the mats, (where they put the beanbags), on the wall.
When they spell things a lot of times they just have the kids sound it out. (cow, Ca-ah-wa.)
The special Ed class wasn't as montessorri based because of having to teach to IEPS. Many of the kids have language problems. The second teacher was louder than the first, the classroom also seemed more open. The students were also more talkative. She didn't use the cards either. The walls aren't as crowded. She did a lot of repetition. The cards were used for when they were at stations. After we got back Sara and I wanted to go to the hot-tub, but didn't have much time, so we went for like 15 minutes and came back to get back in our professional clothes to go to a meeting the BG grads working in aldine. I looove Aldine! I'm not sure intervention majors can apply to student teach there, but I really want to! It is amazzzing! We had a wonderful "ar salking to the PR guy that does all the hiring of teachers in Aldine, and some BG grads that are now teaching in Aldine. We then just hung out in our hotel rooms for the night because we were all tired.
Tuesday we went to this engineering school for K-4. Yeah! An entineering-based elementary school! They had sessions where they did different types of engineering, although I didn't get to see any. It was really neat! Here are my notes from that day:
4th grade at an engineering and math science elementary school. Class 1 room number 30. She starts out with a warmup activity for the class, (a packet), she is reading the activity too 2 kids. A lot of independent work is done at the beginning of her class. This teacher randomly sings her instructions! Hahahaha! The class came up with weird words to make sure they had the right multiple choice letter. (one kid said "call of duty," when she said "cookie" for C haha!) She used "tree diagrams" for organizing answers from two groups, (how many colors combinations can you get when...) Sometimes they play basketball where they get to answer questions against another group and whenever someone gets an answer right they get to shoot. (Didn't actually do this but was told about it.) The entire class went to the bathroom at once and went in groups of 3 guys and 3 girls. Read homework problems aloud to check them. Played a math game with angles where the teacher drew a bunch of lines on the board and the students had to write what angles they saw, (they were numbered.) One person was at the board and the rest were answering at their seats. If everyone got the answer right the team got a point, and if the person at the board got it right they got another point. Teacher was very enthusiastic, and repeated instructions a lot. She has multiple classes. The second class she actually practiced the "geometry Simon says," which she didn't practice before playing the game with the first class. (Right, obtuse, acute, translation, reflection, rotation, perpendicular, intersecting, parallel, line.)
Classroom 2: She graduated from Toledo U! Teaches reading but incorporates writing and language as well. Uses smart board. Plays trash can basketball and other games for TAX preparation. She also does "Bubba Bucks" which means every time kids do homework, answer questions in class etc they get bucks and when they don't do homework etc they pay her and can spend them at her "store" once a month. Teaches budgeting money. Does crafts to go along with books. She lets them be very creative. As long as they have what is needed for grading they can do what they want with the project. They do not have much art so she incorporates it into lessons. (Not much music either. Once every two weeks.)
The special education teachers in Texas co-teach and work with the students in special ed in inclusion settings. TAX is harder than OAT and determins whether or not the students pass the grade. If not they go to summer school. Everything in her classroom is labeled and she has students that are "table captains" that make sure everything is put away. Flash cards for sentences and sentence structure. Has set of paint strips, (free from Loes), that say A B C D and they kids use a close pin to show the answer and they can pick what color paint strip they want. A CD with prefixes, suffixes etc and they spin it and whatever there finger is pointed to when spin stops is what they have to use for the sentence, (also free.) MANY free reading activities.
Overall I think the elementary school convinced me more than the Pre-K since I can teach elementary. I loooved it! I'm totally going to apply for student teaching! (well if possible. I'll check into it when I get back to school.)
We had tex-mex for dinner and then went to the airport where the next crazy adventure began!