Wednesday, March 31, 2010

High School Internship: Day 4

(32 hours down, 8 to go)

Wow, am I tired! I had a hard time falling asleep last night; I was nervous about filling 55 minutes with my Prezi today on The Harlem Renaissance. I tracked down a good video on United Streaming (which is through The Discovery Channel, it has great video clips on numerous topics) about the rise of the Harlem Renaissance just in case.  When I talked to Ms. S about it this morning she was surprised that I was asked to teach an entire class, usually she said she is expected to simply teach what she has, and then be done with it.

The lesson actually went pretty well. I taught it twice, and the first class was split (they had lunch right in the middle of their hour, with a half-hour of class time on either side) so I tried to stretch the Prezi through the first half of class. It was actually just fine, I had done enough research on the topic to stretch it easily, however I think the presentation suffered for it; I felt that I was talking too much, too. The second class seemed bored, although I was doing the same talk, although it was incredibly hot in the room which made everyone a bit sleepy.  The poem share went well, and led to a good discussion on issues of racism and how America today is really not much different than the America that Langston Hughes lived in.

I was frustrated a bit because I set up the projector for the first hour, and it got moved so when I set it up for the second class time the presentation was blurry and I couldn't focus it in better (I'm not used to having to deal with these kinds of technical issues since my school has ceiling-mounted projectors already focused and ready to go) which did not help me seem like a credible source (in my opinion), since I was also trying to explain the advantages of Prezi.

I asked the teacher if she had any advice and she e-mailed me:

Thank you for coming to my classroom and for your presentation to my lit kids.  I think they enjoyed the concept of Prezi - I know I'm going to check it out for future use!  I'm sorry my "clicker" didn't work for you!
I have some suggestions for you and I appreciate that you asked me to share them.
I noticed there was a spelling error in the visual presentation; you mentioned the Savoy Hotel, but it was spelled as Savory in your presentation.  I also picked up on several verbal grammar errors - I was probably the only one who noticed - if you present in an English classroom again, this might be worth noting.  Several times you used subject/verb disagreement (i.e. "there's jobs," "the jobs was..." and "there's places" etc.).
In presenting to high school students and expecting them to take notes, it is often helpful to have either an outline format and/or shorter sentences.  Even with this very visually stimulating format, I think the presentation could have been in an outline form, or with bulleted points, so they can better track the information as they take notes.  High school kids really relate to the visual images, so perhaps more photos of your topics would have been helpful.  You did a great job of filling in information that was not included in your "slides." 
It could not be helped that the focus could not be perfected, but perhaps we should have previewed the presentation and then made font adjustments to help the clarity.  It seemed the larger fonts were more clear than the smaller ones.

Useful overall, odd that I was committing so many pronunciation errors; I was nervous, but those aren't mistakes I knew I made.  Definitely worth keeping in mind.

After I got back to the LMC I was absolutely exhausted! I felt like I had been talking for two hours straight (which I pretty much had) but I still had some energy to be of some use. I set up another book display with memoirs featuring people from all different backgrounds including; Chinese Cinderella: the true story of an unwanted daughter, Burnt Bread and Chutney, and a lot of other very interesting looking books.

I had a chance to talk to Ms. S about some interesting online sites. She discovered that her Netflix account can be accessed at work, and used at up to eight computers. So she decided to get a free month-long trial under the school's name to see if teachers would take advantage of the video streaming feature, which puts movies directly onto their computer (and can then be projected). Ms. S did call Netflix first, to see if this was acceptable use.

I showed her GarrisonSites , which is where I get good website ideas. We were looking around and discovered Lingro , which can translate any website into a learning tool. By entering a website into the Lingro site, it makes it possible to then click on any word on the website and hear it read outloud, gives a definition, and can translate it into 10 languages.

Ms S showed me Destiny Quest , which I didn't know was a part of the Destiny online catalog. It is a very cool "social network" type website which enables students to have friends, see what others are reading, write book reviews, and even recommend books to friends. I am looking forward to introducing this to my students.

One frustrating thing about the day was my challenge to desensitize books as I checked them out. Every single book I checked out I forgot to desensitize until the student walked through the door and the alarm went off. It was really embarrassing. I am not used to having to desensitize books, but still. I should have been able to remember.

Only one day left, which is a bit surreal. It has been really easy to fit into the rhythm of the media center. I am going to bring my camera tomorrow to take some pictures of my experience.

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