Susan Walters April 20, 2009 Reflection on Earth Day Lesson It is hard to believe that the experience of teaching my first official social studies lesson has come and gone already! This morning, my teaching partner and I taught a social studies lesson about Earth Day and being a good citizen in a kindergarten class at Meadowlark Elementary School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Although I was anxious at first, the hard work and planning that went into the lesson paid off because everything went very well and was an overall success. There is so much I can take away from the process of planning a lesson for kindergarteners. When the task of completing a social studies lesson in the schools with a partner was first assigned it seemed like a fairly easy task to complete, but ended up taking much more thought and intentional time to plan. All of the strategies and procedures we have been discussing in our reading and social studies methods classes this semester were a great help throughout the planning process. We were asked to use a read aloud book as the engage factor in our lesson, and when my teaching partner’s cooperating teacher asked us to plan a lesson plan about Earth Day, we chose “The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss to use as the focus of the first part of our lesson. We decided to incorporate an interactive reading process as we read (asking many questions and using the “turn and talk” partner strategy) and ended up reading the first half of the book in a pre-lesson session with the class the day before the actual lesson was taught. We planned to make a chart of all the students already knew about Earth Day and the environment, read the book, discuss some pollution facts, have the students write a few sentences about what they learned and illustrate it, and finally taught the students an Earth Day song (the entire lesson plan can be viewed on the pedagogy page). I was nervous this morning about how everything would go, especially considering we were teaching to a class of twenty kindergarteners who we have never taught, all while introducing a new topic in front of sixteen adults the kids have never seen before. We were also the first teaching pair to present, which put some extra pressure on us to do well. Despite all these factors that played into my uneasiness, all anxious feelings vanished as we began to teach. I almost forgot there were so many people there watching us. We were fortunate to have a wonderful group of students who were extremely well behaved and very attentive, especially considering they are kindergarteners. They responded to all of our questions and seem to understand everything we presented to them. I like that we had objects to go along with the “fun facts” we shared because the kids really enjoyed passing the objects around and it made the facts very concrete for them. My favorite part of teaching the lesson was being up in front of the students and teaching the Earth Day song. This group of kindergarteners is used to learning and singing lots of songs, which made the job of teaching them a song a lot easier for me. They did a great job repeating each line of the song as we learned it line by line, and even sang the entire thing through twice before the lesson ended! I was also pleased with the wrap-up review we were able to do at the very end of the lesson. I think it really helped reiterate what the students learned and showed that they did comprehend much of what was taught and discussed. I really did enjoy both the process and performance of teaching a social studies lessons in the schools. It was a great culminating event to the semester and was a great way to use all that we have been learning. The lesson went very well and I absolutely loved teaching kindergarteners!
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