I was able to get a lot accomplished this week. After working on my TPA for two and half weeks I was able to submit it, and I’m looking forward to the response. Overall it was a positive experience, and it is still a new assessment so some glitches were to be expected.
I was also observed by my SPU coordinator at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, which went well, but it was unusual since it was a one-on-one reading lesson with a fairly high functioning student with autism who exhibits a lot of behavior challenges. He was actually very well behaved. My feedback was informative, and my coordinator mentioned shorter blocks of instruction, which should help. She also talked about working on his communication skills, and that is something we constantly work on with him every day and an ability he is improving on. Then I was observed by my school principal at 1:00 p.m., which was a lot of observation in one day, but I really wanted to get her input since I have started looking for a permanent teaching position. Being a principal at what I consider to be an exceptional school gives her insight for what other principals look for in a teacher.
My lessons went well with a few behavioral issues. Two points that stuck out to me were expanding our writing group to do some non-concrete fiction writing and seeing progress with a student in my math group. Our writing group usually sticks to very concrete and simple subjects such as tigers or elephants when writing about Asia. This week we studied and wrote about rice as a plant and food, and they surprised me with some of their creative brainstorming. In my math group we have a student who is probably the highest functioning at math, but he has such severe behavior and communication challenges that it becomes difficult to include him in even a small group activity. We work as a group, but for most of the year he has worked individually within the group. Now with some added strategies, such as giving worksheets individually instead of in packets and some extra individual attention he is staying with the group and participating. Now that he is at the same pacing my next task will to involve him more in the discussion and activities, which due to his behavior is a difficult, but achievable, goal.