Today’s Adventure

The first thing I did yesterday at the school was correcting my student’s tests. In general, they did amazingly well, I even had several perfect scores. While correcting them I discovered that three students did a part wrong simply because they did not understand the instructions correctly. In the way they did it, their answers were correct, but in the way that the part was supposed to be done, their answers were incorrect. What I should do? After consulting it with my mentor teacher, I went to the third grade classroom in the morning and asked the three students to come to the English classroom during their lunch break to complete that part of the test again. When the break time came, I waited them patiently during thirty minutes. When I realized that they weren’t coming by their own, I went looking for them in the school playground. I found the three students in the library: they totally forgot that I asked them to come to my classroom during their lunch break! They made the test part again, but this time they followed the correct instructions. The three students did the test part almost completely correct!

When those students completed their tests, I could finally grade all the tests. I did it, and I wrote the test results in an excel table that I use as a grade book (I don’t have a physical grade book, all my grades are supposed to be kept digitally).

At the class time I discussed the test. My mentor teacher have an amazing and very practical protocol for doing this in order and avoiding the loss of any test during the discussion, what is important to me because years ago, when I worked as teacher (before studying to be a certified teacher), I accidentally lost a test and I had an awful time due that. How is my mentor teacher’s test discussion protocol? First, the teacher remembers the students that their grades are private and they are only supposed to share them with their parents or guardians. My mentor teacher explained me that I must do that because in third grade they are still learning to take tests and they constantly forget that their grades are private. Then the teacher gave the students their test face down, in such a way that only the student that completed the test could see the test’s grade. After that the teacher discusses the test, asking the students why their answers were correct. It took me so long to discuss the test that I almost did not finish on time for doing the next steps! The next step after discussing the test is asking the students to sign the test in a space, a small circle, provided to them to write their initials after they discussed the test and are agree with the grade. That way there is evidence that they saw and discussed the corrected test. After that, they write their test score in their English notebooks, in a table glued in the end of each notebook. Then they are supposed to give the teacher (me) the tests back in alphabetical order to file them in a plastic document filing box where all their summative assessments are, but I had no time for doing this. Instead, I asked them to give me their tests in alphabetical order and I would file them after the class.

After they left the classroom I took the plastic document filing box and began to file each test in their respective file. Suddenly I realized that one test was missing. I freaked out first but began to think coldly almost immediately: where that test could be if I always had in my hands the folder where I placed all the tests when the students gave them? I thought in several possibilities. The first one, the easiest one, was that the student forgot to give me the test, so I went to ask her. She told me that she gave me the test, so I eliminated that possibility. The next thing I did was checking the working tables to see if there was a test in any of them. There was no test in anyone. Then I realized that I could have filed the lost test in the precedent file in alphabetical order (the students gave their tests in alphabetical order). I mean: if the last name of the student of the lost test begins with “B”, her test could be in the file of the student whose last name begins with “A”.  I checked the files of the last names that begin with A, and I found the lost test! The big difference between the time I lost a test years ago and yesterday is that yesterday I did not spent time feeling awful due losing a test. Yesterday I kept myself thinking were the test could be until I finally found it.

That’s why I did not write a blog post yesterday after my class, as I usually do: I was busy searching for that test.

I made several things for today. First, of course, the new lesson plan for reading and discussing It’s Hard to Be a Verb, by Julia Cook. I will be using that reading for discussing several topics. The first one of them, the one I am discussing in this lesson plan, is the cause and effect reading comprehension strategy. You can see the lesson plan here: It’s Hard To Be a Verb Reading Lesson Plan

Second, I made two handouts for today’s class: one for discussing the story elements and one for discussing the new vocabulary words. These are the pictures of those handouts: Story Elements.jpg

My Vocabulary Words.jpg

Finally, I made a poetry handout for a poetry recital that the students are going to have on April 25 to celebrate English week. The chosen poem for the recital is the one that I proposed, “The Voice,” by Shel Silverstein. They need a handout of the poem for memorizing it for the poetry recital. Here is the picture of that handout:

The Voice.jpg

About thirty minutes before my class the school (along one million of Puerto Ricans) had a power outage, so my lesson plan needed to change because I couldn’t use the Smart Board to show the You Tube read-aloud video. Instead of using a You Tube video for making the read-aloud, I practiced making the read-aloud myself. Two days ago I transcribed the whole story in a single Word document and printed a copy for each student for use them in case of any technological failure, like this one, that do not allowed me to use the You Tube read-aloud video that allows me to show the book pages to everyone at the same time. I practiced the read-aloud by hearing the You Tube read-aloud with my iPad (my iPad has cellular internet). I also practiced the wiggle dance of the story, so I could do it while reading the book to make my students laugh. At the end, giving the class without power made it more fun. I gave a printed document with the story to each student so they could follow the read-aloud, I showed them the images of the story as I read it, and we did the wiggle dance. Another student teacher was so kind she took pictures of me giving class today and sent them to my What’s App. These are the pictures of today’s adventure without power, as my mentor teacher called it:




Although I give class to the third grade, I usually work in the fourth-grade classroom because that is the English classroom. Tomorrow is the school’s field day, and the whole school is going to wear the same t-shirt but each group is going to wear accessories of a color. I was told, very seriously, that if I come tomorrow with the color of fourth grade and not with the color of third grade I would be considered a traitor. Oh my goodness, I can’t be considered a traitor of my own students, I told them. I asked them which is third-grade color, and I was told by them that their color is marine blue. Then I asked fourth graders (I will be with them tomorrow for an extracurricular activity after the field day) which is they color. They answered: marine blue. I raised an eyebrow: the two groups have the same color? I asked further among teachers and I was told that there are two competitions in the same field day: one for kindergarten to third grade, and one for fourth grade to sixth grade. That’s why both groups wear the same color: they are in different competitions. So, I told third graders, tomorrow I will be wearing something marine blue (I still didn’t know what at that moment) and I cannot be considered a traitor by anyone because both groups wear marine blue.

I was given the school field t-shirt today. My mentor teacher gave me it as a gift (he paid for it) and I am really thankful for that gesture. I don’t know if there is a competition for student teachers, I hope not, but I will be there for cheering my group of third graders. I will be with the fourth graders tomorrow in the afternoon, but I will write about that in one of the next posts.

Due the power outage, I needed to take the bus until Bayamon because the urban train didn’t work. I took three very crowed buses to arrive there. Once in Bayamon, the bus left me in a small mall where things are very cheap. I managed to get a pair of tennis, earrings, a headband, a bracelet, a feather boa and some hula necklaces for my third graders (one per student), all in marine blue. I also found some giant bubbles to have fun. Here is the picture of everything I got today for under 40 dollars:


Tomorrow will be an exciting day! Let’s keep growing!