Comparative Adjectives

My students still want to talk about The Butterfly Circus, so I prepared for them a daily lesson plan with examples of The Butterfly Circus and their learning environment. The daily lesson plan is about comparative adjectives. This is the lesson plan I prepared to them: Comparative Adjectives

The most important sentence of The Butterfly Circus, “The greater the struggle, the more glorious the triumph,” has two comparative adjectives, so it is perfect to discuss this lesson plan. I also prepared a Power Point presentation for them: Comparative Adjectives

I also created a sheet of their beginning class routine. Here is that sheet:

Beginning Routine

 

Besides preparing and correcting this lesson plan, preparing and correcting the Power Point presentation and giving the class about comparative adjectives using the beginning class routine, today I organized some papers of the teacher binder and the lesson plan binder, and tabulated the student’s interest inventories and homework. I prepared a sheet for having evidence of their activities, classwork and homework’s hand in date, so I can know who handed in his work and when, and who did not. This is the sheet: Classwork and Activities

Of course, the original sheet has my students’ names written on it, but I will not share a document with my students’ names on a public blog. I shared a blank sheet instead. I did the table with space for two different hand in dates because in case there is a student absent I can have another day to receive his work.

Finally, today I also observed the first grade ESL class. They had a fashion show today. The teachers created a paper runway, each student dressed with their favorite outfit and each one described the outfit of a classmate. They are learning everything about clothing. It was really fun. Here is a picture of the beginning of the fashion show:

FashionShow

I confessed a very deep secret to my third grade students today: I hate tests, but they are part of assessment, so we must face them together and we are going to learn how to face them together.

I will continue today’s Power Point presentation on Friday.

Let’s keep growing!

My Graduate School Admission Essay

I plan to finish my studies leading to my certification as elementary ESL teacher at June 2018. After that, the plan is to get a job during the days and to study a master’s degree during the nights. I am eager to begin working, I do not see myself studying full time more time beyond the necessary. I am currently requesting admission to the graduate program of the Faculty of Education at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras campus. I am interested in studying a master in Differentiated Education. I think it is a good combination with the ESL certification and with my interest in personal-formation based learning. I want to study at UPRRP because they have a very good institutional support system for the reasonable accommodations.

In order to request admission to that program they require a few things: completing the admission’s form with two recommendation letters, the EXADEP or the GRE (the graduate admissions test), a bachelor’s degree, a minimum of 3.00 undergraduate GPA (that is proved by sending two transcripts) and an admission’s essay.

I began the admission’s process with the two recommendation letters. I requested a recommendation letter to my pre-practicum teacher and another one to my practicum supervisor professor in December, so that part was easy to complete.

What about doing the EXAPEP or the GRE? I could do the GRE in English but I chose to do the EXADEP in Spanish for the simply reason that it was cheaper than the GRE and I needed no reasonable accommodation for doing the EXADEP (it did not had any handwritten part or any written part that needs extra time to complete). These are my EXADEP scores:

EXADEP

Considering that the graduate program I am requesting to be admitted does not require a minimum score (some graduate programs in the same faculty and in the UPR require an EXADEP minimum score of 500), 667 is a very good score, specially the English score, where I got a 75. The maximum score per part is 80. I expected a lower score in math and analytic reasoning not because a lack of analytical reasoning but because I have not studied math since high school and I could not pay a review for taking this test, as I did for the PCMAS (the teacher certification test). It was my lower score indeed, but it was higher than the expected score if I considered my circumstances with maths (I had never liked math a lot and I had never been good at them neither).

The undergraduate GPA of my Humanities bachelor’s degree was 2.90 when I graduated, but that was before taking all my ESL teacher certification classes, where I have got all A’s except for one B in a Humanities literature class (that profesor was too memory-based, his assessment was based in asking very small details of our readings in a multiple-choice test, without any discussion of the literature work; that’s why I got a B in an elective class). With all the A’s I got in the ESL teacher certification program, surely that GPA got above 3.00, so I had no problems with that requirement neither. I sent my two transcripts without hesitation. Although I have not checker exactly where my GPA is, I assume that it is above the 3.00 minimum GPA. I will request a student transcript and check that out soon.

Finally, I needed to write an admissions essay. This part delayed the completion of my graduate school admissions forms during weeks, since the lasts weeks of December to be more exact. I had an idea of what things I wanted to write, but the instruction of doing it in only 500 words requires time and patience from my part, because I tend to use a lot of words and integrate many diverse ideas when I write essays. I finally chose which ideas and details I wanted to include and completed my essay a few days ago, using exactly 500 words. I focused it on my research interests, my professional interests and on personal perspectives pertinent to the studies I wanted to pursue.

My graduate admissions essay is this one (in Spanish):

¿Por qué me interesa completar una maestría en educación diferenciada e investigar el cómo aplicar el Project Based Learning (PBL) en la educación diferenciada? Hay al menos tres razones: una personal, una académica y una profesional.

La razón personal para querer investigar la aplicación del PBL en la educación diferencida es que yo misma soy una estudiante excepcional. De hecho, soy twice-exceptional: tengo ADD y también soy gifted (Mi IQ es de 140). Sé en carne propia las dificultades que puede confrontar un estudiante excepcional a la hora de aprender: el aburrimiento feroz ante un trabajo que no requiera aplicar, la profunda impotencia por no poder hacer las cosas como los demás, la gran frustración que provoca confrontar el que un maestro piense que eres “bruta” el mero hecho de no ser aprender según su método… Todo esto lo he vivido en carne propia. Estoy determinada a encontrar métodos que ayuden a la población excepcional a aprender de manera más integractiva. El concepto de “educación integractiva” me lo inventé yo. El término “integractivo” une los vocablos “integración”, “acción” y “realización”. Esas tres palabras me parecen fundamentales para estudiar la educación diferenciada de tal forma que abarque la totalidad de la formación personal. La formación personal es importante para mí porque pienso que lo que más caracteriza a la educación diferenciada es que necesariamente se aplica a la persona, cosa que debería ser una meta para toda educación, no solo la diferenciada.

La razón académica, intrínsecamente unida a la razón personal, para querer investigar la aplicación del PBL en la educación diferenciada es que es un tema que necesita ser investigado. Al buscar respecto al tema solo encontré, y con mucho esfuerzo, dos artículos en inglés. No hay un solo libro en Amazon respecto al tema. Así pues, este tema es uno en el que puedo hacer una aportación académica relevante. Si bien es cierto que hay muy pocas referencias de este tema en las bases de datos disponibles en la biblioteca de la UPR, hay algunos artículos que pueden dar luz respecto a cómo conseguir más referencias en otras bases de datos. Además, la maestría de educación especial provee la oportunidad de hacer un action research, pues tiene una práctica integrada, por lo que hay otros medios para investigar el tema.

Finalmente, la razón profesional para querer estudiar este tema es que actualmente el PBL se está aplicando con muchísima más asiduidad en Puerto Rico. Como maestra me interesa dominar el PBL para poder aplicarlo oportunamente en mi salón de clase cuando me toque impartir clases. Aunque mi certificación docente actual sea en inglés elemental, al aprender a aplicar el PBL en la educación diferenciada también aprenderé a aplicarlo como maestra de inglés, por lo que estudiarlo en mis estudios universitarios graduados será de muchísimo provecho en mi quehacer profesional. Así pues, al estudiar este tema no solo podría hacer una aportación académica relevante en el campo de la educación diferenciada, sino también en el campo de la educación puertorriqueña.

I had no space to mention that I also have dysgraphia and problems with handwritting (I thought about leaving the IQ part out, so I could have space to mention the dysgraphia, but usually persons ask themselves what I mean when I describe myself as “gifted”, so I left the IQ information there because is the shorter way, although not my favorite way, to describe what I mean when I use the word “gifted”) or to make reference of this blog to look for further information about me. It had a small but clearly visible typo too, in the beginning of the second paragraph (I saw that typo when I copy-pasted the essay here).

Once I completed this essay my admission’s form was ready to be sent to the graduate admission’s department. I completed the whole graduate admission’s form a few days ago.

Let’s see what happens with this admission request, and let’s keep growing!

My First Lesson Plan

Today we had a living museum in the school: the first grade students dressed each one like a famous person, and when you stepped in a construction paper star that was glued in the floor, in front of them, each one would describe who he or she was. It was a very creative activity.

Today I also made my first daily lesson plan. It is a very particular daily lesson plan because it is not only about English: it is about integrating diversity, but it is given in English. Why did I chose that theme for my first class? Because I am a twice-exceptional student: I am gifted and have ADD and dysgraphia at the same time, and I need my students to understand that I won’t be writing a lot in the whiteboard due my dysgraphia. I am very creative, but because I have problems writing by hand, I avoid using the whiteboard and use the computer to write a lot. I wanted to start my classes explaining to my students that I have a disability, I can’t write by hand too much, but I am also gifted: I know English and can teach very creatively. So, I planned my first class about the theme of diversity using the short movie “The Butterfly Circus”. That way I can explain that I have a disability and a giftedness explaining the protagonist’s disability and his ability to swim despite not having arms and legs. I just sent my lesson plan by email to my cooperator teacher, let’s see what he says.

For that class I made an “abilities” handout, so we can discuss our diverse abilities together. This is a pic of the handout:

Abilities Handout

Many people have asked me how I am able to be so good with the task of writing ideas if I have so many difficulties with writing by hand. The answer: my dysgraphia is very mechanical, it doesn’t affect my written expression but my writing mechanical capacity. I struggle with writing by hand, but I am quite gifted with the task of putting my ideas on writing with the help of technology. As a matter of fact, I usually organize my thoughts through writing, so my iPad is almost like a best friend!

My third grade group is right now discussing the comparative adjectives, so it seems that my second English class, after the first class discussing “The Butterfly Circus,” will be about superlative adjectives. I won’t be seeing them today: I leave early on Fridays. Usually their English class is on the mornings on Fridays, instead of being in the afternoon like the rest of the week, but today, as an exception, their English class will be in the afternoon, so today I won’t be seeing them.

I am eager to give my first class on Monday! Here is my lesson plan: The Butterfly Circus

Let’s keep growing!

My Presentation Letter

Today I created a presentation letter for the parents, using the template of a fellow student teacher from the School of San Juan. It is a fun presentation letter, full of color and with my most basic information. I included the web address of this blog, in case anyone of the parents want to know what I am doing with their kids, they can know right away. If you are a parent of any of my students, welcome to my teaching blog!

Here is the pic of my presentation letter:

Presentation Letter.jpg

I still have not started giving my assigned third grade class. I am in the preparations to start giving the class: I am observing the class and trying to learn the names of everyone while observing them (today I discovered that I have already learned three names), I am planning an interest inventory to know how my students are, I am talking with my cooperator teacher to know where the students are and what I must teach, I am coordinating a meeting with the differentiated education teacher (also known as special education teacher, but I prefer to use the term “differentiated education” or “exceptional education”) to know which reasonable accommodations I must take in count when planning my classes…

There are few things to do prior beginning to give an ESL class. I am on those kinds of things during these days. One of those things is recording my cooperator teacher’s beginning routine so I can make his same routine when giving my class, because I think that it creates continuity in the learning environment and that is easier to the students to learn when there is some continuity between the different teachers in the classroom. Today I am going to do those recordings, so I can practice the welcome song and the today’s song, among other practices of my cooperator teacher’s beginning routine, during the weekend.

This week I had been doing a lot of desk job, and I am not used to be on a desk so much time, so in my lunch break I go to the hallway just to walk. Students are prohibited from running in the hallways, they have the Physical Education class for that, and they do run a lot in that class (my third grade class has ESL class just after Physical Education, and they enter to the classroom with very red cheeks). Although the students know they are forbidden of running in the hallways, three of them begin to run there. A teacher catches two of them and punishes them: they must remain seated the rest of the lunch break. The third student hides behind a door, so the teacher does not see him, but I do see him. The poor student jumps, freaked out, when I walk besides him: he did not saw me coming. I adopt a serious face: “you know the rule, and you know the consequence…” The student defends himself: “the teacher did not saw me”. I erase the seriousness of my face, put myself at his height and try to be more understanding with him: “Let’s see, we are going to make things wrong because others can’t see us or we are going to make them right because we want to grow as persons? Relax, I will not tell the other teacher that you are here, but please answer my question…” The student relaxes when I say to him that I will not tell the teacher he is there and answers my question: “I am going to make things for growing.” Then I say to the student: If you know that the norm is not running in the hallways, that your classmates were punished for running in the hallway and that you were running in the hallway too, what is the best thing you can do?” The student answers me quickly: “not running in the hallway again, although I am not seen…” I tell him: “Besides that, what else you can do?” This time the student does not answers me so quickly, so I just smile to him and tell him: “Let’s think…” The student concludes by himself: “I can go a sit down with my punished classmates and accompany them, although the teacher did not catch me…” I smile widely: “Exactly, very good. Go and seat with them, and do not run in the hallway again…”

My lunch break was over pretty soon after that, so I came back to my desk to keep working in the preparations to start giving ESL classes. I completed my philosophy of education.

In the third grade ESL class my cooperator teacher reviewed adjectives. The teacher asked for an example of an adjective. A student told him: “Your t-shirt is black.” The teacher said that it was an excellent example and asked the student to explain her example. The student answered him: “black is describing your t-shirt.” The teacher asked her: “What word is describing my t-shirt?” The student said: “Black.” The teacher asked her: “And what king of word is t-shirt?” The student answered him: “A noun.” The teacher asked her: “Why it is a noun?” The student said: “Because adjectives describe nouns.” The teacher helps the students to understand the material by themselves. He keeps students connected and asks “why” a lot. I am observing and learning everything.

Today was a great growing day. Let’s keep growing!

My Teaching Practicum Classroom

Today was the first time in my life that a student called me “teacher.” She was a fourth grade student that wanted to ask me something. I did not realized she was talking to me the first time she said “teacher” because I had never been named that way before! When I did not answered her, she pulled my oxford shirt and almost shouted “teacher!” and then I finally realized she was talking to me. I laughed and apologized to her: you are the first person who calls me teacher.

Today I also received the permission to create my lesson plans in the school practicum time because I don’t have power in my house yet due hurricane Maria. That is a huge help for me, because I am very limited without electricity at home.

In the first of the morning the fourth grade had a test about adjectives. The theme of the test is rainforests. A student asked me what “warms” means, another student asked me what “feathers” means and the same student came back to me to asked me what “conspicuous” means. I knew the first two words by memory but I needed to check the third word in Google to know what it means. Besides asking the meanings of some words, they needed no more help. They completed the test by themselves without any problems. It was during that test I was called “teacher” by a student for the first time.

At the other periods of the morning and in the first period of the afternoon I helped my cooperator teacher, teacher Richard, to correct yesterday’s third grade test. It was also about adjectives.

At the second period after recess I knew for the first time the group that I am going to be teaching as student teacher: third grade. The two earlier days I needed to leave at 12:30 pm and that class begins at 1:20, that is why I did not meet them before. The teacher presented me as their student teacher and we discussed the test I corrected.

Now I am going to describe my teacher practicum classroom. It is a big classroom, with 26 student chairs and a student worktable with three chairs. It has two teacher desks, one per cooperator teacher (two cooperator teachers give class in the same classroom, at different hours), one computer desk with a computer used mostly for printing documents and two reading corners with many, many, many books. The classroom also has a Smart Board, a whiteboard and five bulletin boards.

I located myself in the student’s worktable, because there is a big power outlet for my computer right beside that table. The students use that outlet to charge their tablets.

Here are some pics of my teaching practicum classroom.

Classroom1

Classroom2

Classroom3

Classroom4

I like my teaching practicum classroom a lot, it has a lot of creative and thinking space. Technology is a plus!

Let’s keep growing!

Learning Principles

SecondDayPracticum

This is me, sitting in my desk in the English classroom. When this photo was taken, I was pondering about the school’s learning principles. The school principal explained us five principles of the school’s learning community:

Aperture to diversity: there are students of diverse talents and there are exceptional students with diverse capacities. We as student teachers must embrace them all.

Aperture to participation: is everyone’s responsibility to participate in the school’s activities.

Aperture to learning from mistakes: for learning to read and to write students must commit many mistakes. In order to learn we must embrace mistakes all times.

Aperture to resolving conflicts positively: there are problems in all schools, but we must teach how to resolve conflicts positively and peacefully.

Aperture to reflection: reflection is important because we must teach to reflect constantly how to do things better.

I have another “learning principle” of my own:

Aperture to personal growth: in everything I do I must be open to my student’s personal growth. I must be focused on helping them to grow as persons the best way they can. This includes promoting the best academic achievement but also promoting school values as honesty, justice, democracy and peace.

Besides pondering these principles, today I helped fourth grade students making Power Point presentations about the Universe.

Let’s keep growing!

My First Day as Student Teacher!

FirstDayPracticum

Today, March 12, 2018, is my first day as student teacher. I am going to be student teacher at the UPR Elementary School.

I arrived early enough to drink a coffee before 7:30 a.m., when we were scheduled to start our teaching practicum. The classes start at 8:00 a.m.

One of the first things I was informed by my cooperator teacher, teacher Richard, once I got into the classroom is that I am going to be giving ESL classes to the third grade, after noon. However, I still observed the 8:00 a.m. fourth grade class, it was about adjectives. I also attended a meeting to participate in a research about the perceptions of speaking English among the students at the school and attended a meeting with the school director for all the student teachers of the UPR Elementary School.

Here I am, in the entrance of the school with all my student practicum classmates.

GrupoPractica.jpeg

Here I am with my teacher practicum supervisor, the professor Cristina Guerra, and my ESL student teacher classmates.

GrupoPracticantes.jpeg

Today had been an amazing day! Let’s keep growing!