Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Intern...Becomes Reality

Post Written By: Abi Nixon
Year: Senior
Major(s): Middle Childhood-Early Adolescent Education
Minor(s): General Science

Hello again!  This semester has been very busy for me.  I am currently finishing up Field 2 at Lincoln Middle School.  Compared to all my semesters at UWL, this semester has flown by.

From the beginning of my journey through the education program at UWL, I knew that I was interested in applying to the internship pool for student teaching.  I initially discovered this unique student teaching opportunity by exploring the SOE website and looking at all the different student teaching options.  I was intrigued.  This fall, I went to the informational meeting about alternative student teaching options.  At the meeting, they gave us information on WIP Teaching Internships, Educators Abroad, and Institute for Urban Education in Milwaukee.

After the meeting, I immediately applied for the internship pool.  I had to answer a questionnaire and write a short statement about why I should be chosen for the internship pool.  Then, I had to write down three SOE professors that could speak to my teaching ability.  A few weeks later, I was notified that I had been accepted into the internship pool.  I was very excited!

One thing that you have to consider after you have been accepted into the internship pool is where you are interested in teaching.  There is a large variety of options and new internships are released every week.  It took me about an hour to look through the entire internship book and narrow down my list.  Once I narrowed my list down to three possible internships, I notified Cindy Duley, and she contacted the schools.  My first two choices decided to hire long term substitutes to fill the positions, but my last school, Nekoosa, still had openings.

From here, the whole internship process went very quickly.  Cindy told me that the principal wanted me to send him my resume, and after I sent him my resume, he asked me to take the TeacherInsight quiz.  The TeacherInsight is an assessment that school districts use to identify the best potential teachers.  It took me about thirty minutes to complete this assessment, and it was very neat to see the interview process begin.  The next day, the principal emailed me that they wanted me to come and interview the next day!  The next day, I drove an hour and a half to my interview in Nekoosa.  My future cooperating teacher gave me a tour of the school, and then I was interviewed by both the principal and cooperating teacher.  I would highly recommend making an appointment with Brenda Leahy to practice interviewing and to get some great interviewing tips.  One thing that I think may have set me apart from the other people applying to this internship was the fact that I came with about seven thoughtful questions about the school and the school district.  I spent a large about of time exploring the school's website, Facebook page, and district page to learn about the school.  I had a blast interviewing.  Even if I did not get offered the position, I knew that this was a great learning opportunity about what it is like to interview for a full-time teaching position.  However, the next day, I got offered the position!

I felt at peace about accepting this position and the fact that my mom and I found housing for me in Nekoosa reassured me that I was making the right move.  I am very excited to see what next semester has in store for me.  If you have any questions about the internship pools or my experience, feel free to contact me (nixon.abig@uwlax.edu)!  I will keep you all posted as I move to Nekoosa to teach second graders!  Let the adventure begin!

Friday, November 13, 2015

A Bit About Me!

Post Written by: Mary Rebro
Year: Senior
Major(s): Early Childhood-Middle Childhood Education
Minor(s): Early Childhood Education



Hello! This is my first time EVER blogging and I am thrilled to share my journey in Education with you! My name is Mary Rebro, and I am a senior. I chose UW-La Crosse because it was a good distance away from my hometown, Milwaukee, but yet close enough to go back home whenever I wanted to see my family! The Education Department here at UW-La Crosse is wonderful and the professors are here to make a difference by sharing the knowledge and passion they each have for this profession. I fell in love with UW-L when I first visited the campus and I knew that this is where I wanted to spend the next chapter of my life.
                My major is Early Childhood-Middle Childhood Education, enabling me to teach birth through grade six. I am currently in my second field placement at Southern Bluffs with third graders, and I absolutely love it! This field placement is all about engulfing yourself in the classroom and doing as much as you can to gain the full experience of working alongside a cooperating teacher and his/her students. Growing up in a family of ten and always being around children, I knew at a very young age that I wanted to be a teacher. Making a difference in the lives of children and sharing the knowledge that I have gained at UW-L is what I aspire to do as a future educator.

                At UW-L I’ve had the opportunity to work with a group of exceptional students through the S.M.A.R.T (Standing Up For Rural Communities) and MRA (Mississippi River Adventure) enrichment programs each summer. These programs are both organized through the Office of Multicultural Student Services on campus. The goal is to prepare students for college, build leadership skills, learn intercultural communication skills, and build friendships across cultures. I have loved every summer that I have participated in these programs because I've had the opportunity to positively influence the lives of children not only being a mentor, but also a friend, guide, and teacher. 

                               

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

EdTPA

Post written by: Erin O'Connor
Year: Senior
Major(s): English
Minor(s): STEP

The EdTPA has been this huge looming force hanging over my head throughout the semester. I guess that’s because there were so many unknown factors. I basically heard we had to do this huge assignment pertaining to analyzing my teaching and how it aligned with modern research through video clips of me in front of the classroom. The very idea of watching myself teach and then picking apart what was successful and not successful was stressful in itself. On top of that, the thought of finding research that backed up why I did the things I did sounded very intimidating as well.

However, once I actually started diving into the process, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Once I figured out the right balance between being detailed enough but also general enough, the writing started to come easily. Finding research was also fairly easy because at this point in my education career, I have read so many articles and books on teaching strategies. Once I picked out a strategy that I saw myself using, I could easily think of an article that I have read in the past and stick a little citation in.


Because I am in Field II, I am only composing a “mini” EdTPA (meaning that I am only working with about half of the material I will be working with in the full EdTPA that I will complete when I am student teaching next semester). However, completing this “mini” EdTPA has reduced my anxiety about completing the full EdTPA by about a million times. I feel like the point of this assessment is just to see that you are composing detailed lesson plans that are based in modern research; to see that you know why it is that you are doing the things you are doing; and to see that you are a reflective practitioner. These are all things that the education program here at UWL instills in your brain throughout your college experience. So, if you are like one-month-ago-Erin and the word “EdTPA” brings a clenching to your jaw and a cold sweat to your forehead, RELAX!! Its really not that bad.

Random Thoughts

Post written by: Erin O'Connor
Year: Senior
Major(s): English
Minor(s): STEP

Its amazing how becoming an education major can change you so much. I have always been a compassionate person who cares about the well being of others… but once I started taking education classes it was like that trait almost took over most of my consciousness. One of the main things that I have learned from education classes is that as a future educator, I have to hold a mirror up to myself and look really deeply into it; I have to know myself inside and out. This is because as a teacher it is vital that I become aware of any biases I may have and work to rid myself of them. Future students will look to me as the holder of knowledge, the expert, the professional. My beliefs will have a rippling effect on all of my future students because they will take my beliefs as truth.

For example, let’s just say, maybe you hold a bias against women, maybe even subconsciously… well that bias will come out in your teaching and the young women in your classroom are going to pick up on it. They may feel like they don’t have as much of a “place” in the classroom due to the difference in the way you treat men vs women. They may start participating less. They may start believing in themselves less. They may start buying into gender roles.


Its crazy how much impact a teacher can have on a student and it is my job to make sure that that impact is a positive one and NOT a detrimental one. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “A man is but a product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.” As a teacher, it is vital to examine your own thoughts because you will become your thoughts. Your students will be impacted by your thoughts.




Getting Into The Groove of Things

Student Name: Erin O'Connor
Year: Senior
Major: English
Minor: STEP

Every day I go into my classroom about 20 minutes before the school day starts and my mentor teacher and I chat about what she’s teaching that day and how I can get involved. We are reading a novel called A Separate Peace by John Knowles and she has been letting me introduce and guide different discussions about the novel. I’m so excited to be gaining experience with the students, but I’m finding that guiding a discussion is more difficult than it seems because the students are not really comfortable with me yet… so getting them to participate in a discussion is bit like trying to explain gravity to a two year old. There are a lot of blank faces and uninterested stares looking back at me. There are a few token students who will raise their hands willingly, but usually I have to force discussion and call on people. I have noticed a major difference in participation when I lead a discussion versus when my mentor teacher leads a discussion.


This is a little disheartening, but I think participation will improve once students start to trust me more. I guess its all part of the learning process. That’s something I have to get better at: accepting that I am still learning. I keep expecting to get in front of the class and have everything just work out, but that’s not how it usually pans out. Teaching is hard work. Its unpredictable. You have to get used to the fact that sometimes you are going to lead a lesson and its going to completely flop… But you also have to realize that that’s okay as long as you reflect and improve. Some people say live and learn; I say student teach and learn!




My New Bumper Sticker!



Post written by: Erin O'Connor
Year: Senior
Major(s): English
Minor(s): STEP



Friday, August 7, 2015

To Infinity and Beyond

Post Written By: Abi Nixon
Year: Senior
Major(s): Middle Childhood-Early Adolescent Education
Minor(s): General Science


"Breakthrough is a memory that I will always have in my life. It has shown me that there is a group of scholars who mean business when it comes to education. That there is a group of future teachers who will be amazing teachers one day, that show that they care about who you are as a individual and want you to succeed in live. Who never gives up on you. That's why I love Breakthrough." -Germain

"Breakthrough is a memory that I will always have in my life. It has shown me that there is a group of scholars who mean business when it comes to education. That there is a group of future teachers who will be amazing teachers one day, that show that they care about who you are as a individual and want you to succeed in live. Who never gives up on you. That's why I love Breakthrough." -Germain



Wow! So much has happened in the last two weeks!  From a college visit to St. John's and St. Ben's to getting pie thrown into my face, my time at Breakthrough has been flying by too fast!  On Saturday, my summer of teaching these amazing Breakthrough students will be over, and all I can say is that there will be tears.  This summer I have met amazing students and have discovered a lot about myself.  In this blog,  I just want to share some pictures that represent the last two weeks because I really sometimes think that the only way to describe what is happening in my life at Breakthrough is by showing pictures.


This picture is of my college (Brown College) playing Predator Prey.  At Breakthrough, on Friday afternoon, we do Friday activities instead of classes.  This model helps students end their week on a high note and want to come back to Breakthrough on Monday refreshed and ready to learn!  Predator Prey is basically a strategic game of tag.  Brown College played Predator Prey very well and ended up never getting tagged by any predators!


Students get to go to Yo-Time everyday to relax and participate in an activity of their choosing.  One of our most popular Yo-Times is hair braiding.  I learned a whole bunch of new ways to braid my hair this summer.  I also got henna and my nails done during Yo-Time too!  Another popular Yo-Time is dodgeball!

One really neat experience my students had this summer was going on a college visit to St. John's and St. Ben's.  For many students, this was their first experience seeing a college.  Breakthrough does a great job of taking students to many diverse colleges throughout their six year Breakthrough experience.  The picture on the right is the speaker from St. Ben's telling the students six things that all students need to experience during their college career to have a successful life after college.  During my time at UW-L, I have experienced all six things that make up a great college experience!



Spirit Day!! One of the best days of Breakthrough!  During Spirit Week, Breakthrough students and staff wore PJ's, dressed crazy (like the picture to the left), and dressed in their favorite sports wear!  It was a blast.  It was obvious during this week, that Breakthrough spirit is alive and well in all the students and staff of Breakthrough Twin Cities!



On the last day of Spirit Week, the 9th graders planned our Friday event.  We did an obstacle course, played Jeopardy!, and acted out charades. The picture to the right depicts one of the scariest games I have every played.  During this game, students worked in their colleges to carry a teammate on a mat to the other side of the gym.  Trust me, this game took tons of teamwork.



Last but not least, at the end of Spirit Week, the college with the most spirit points and all of the 9th graders got to throw pie at the teacher of their choice!  My name got called out by a student, and he nailed me in the face with pie!  Getting pie thrown at your face is actually a pretty great experience! Plus, it shows that the students care about you.

This Saturday, all of my students' hard work this summer will come to fruition in the form of Celebration!  Celebration is a time for students to show to their family members and other people all the hard work that they have done this summer.  Many Breakthrough classes created some sort of act for the students to perform on stage at Celebration!  My science students will be singing "Love is a Solution" (a parody of Frozen's "Love is an Open Door").  Also, my American Sign Language Class will be preforming an ASL ABC poem that they wrote!  It is going to be a great way to end the summer!

Thanks to all who read my blog and allowed me to share these amazing memories!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Closing the Gap

Post Written By: Abi Nixon
Year: Senior
Major(s): Middle Childhood-Early Adolescent Education
Minor(s): General Science

"Here's a fun fact.  90 percent of students who complete the Breakthrough program go on to successfully enroll in college.  90 percent.  It doesn't happen overnight, but with the right commitment-- it's a life changing experience that sets a course towards a truly bright future.  Most importantly, it's fun! And fun is good!" 
Breakthrough Twin Cities

These are all the students and faculty of Breakthrough Twin Cities-Mounds Park! 

Often times during my education classes at UW-L, we engaged in discussions about how to close the growing achievement gap.  We talked about how we, as educators, can catch the students who are often overlooked and pushed through a system that is failing them.  During my first couple of weeks teaching my Breakthrough students,  I have seen and heard what it looks like for an education program to work and truly put under-resourced youth on a path to college success.

These are some girls from "Red College" during College Bowl!

Here are some snippets of things I have learned at Breakthrough that really do put under-resourced students on track to jump the gap.  First, it always helps to dance in the hallways to class.  At Breakthrough, we blast music during passing time and both teachers and students break out their best moves!  Secondly, it really helps students when they have teachers who constantly uphold high expectations.  Every night, Breakthrough students receive BooYah (It also helps to call homework BooYah!) in all of their classes, and they are expected to complete it by the next class.  If students do not complete their BooYah, they have to go to Detour (another Breakthrough word for a study hall) instead of going to Yo-Time (It also helps to name recess Yo-Time!).   Detour is not a bad thing.  It simply helps students understand and develop the homework skills that will lead them to success in high school and college.  However, probably the most important thing I have seen that really closes the gap is having teachers who truly care and invest 110 percent of themselves to their students.  I have seen that you cannot simply write off a student just because they have given up on themselves.  It just takes one teacher to show a student that they have immense talents and skills.   Telling a student that you believe they can do hard assignments really can change their outlook on their own education.  These are just a few of the things that I have observed during my time at Breakthrough that really seem to change the outcome of a student's educational journey and are all things that I want to continue to implement in my classroom in the future.

 

This is my American Sign Language class that I teach for elective!  They are a great bunch of students!
During the past couple weeks, I have seen dramatic changes in my students.  One student recently told one of my fellow co-workers that he used to hate science but now it is his favorite class.  All I can tell my future fellow educators is this: you matter.  The late nights you spend lesson planning, grading BooYah, and worrying about your students is worth it.  Developing strong relationships with your students will always multiply ten-fold and taking the extra minute just might alter that student's entire outlook on life.

My American Sign Language class is making a picture dictionary for their final project.  This was one of my favorite pictures.  Two girls using their hands to sign 'friend'.


If you are interested in experiencing Twin Cities Breakthrough in action, feel free to come to a Visitors Day! Information about Visitors Day can be found at this web address: http://breakthroughtwincities.org/visitor-days/.








Monday, June 22, 2015

Stepping Into My Teacher Shoes

Post Written By: Abi Nixon
Year: Senior
Major(s): Middle Childhood-Early Adolescent Education
Minor(s): General Science


During the past two weeks, I have made over 100 clocks and spirals to hang on the school hallways. I have spent hours perfecting my first week lessons.  I have set-up my own beautiful science room, and I have grown immensely.

During the two weeks of Breakthrough training, teaching fellows learn foundational teaching skills and begin to develop a unique Breakthrough culture.  During the first week of training, we spent a significant amount of time going through Breakthrough Instructional Training (also known as BIT). This training helped create a common language and develop common skills among all teachers regardless of their major or minor.  From the shoes of an education major, this training echoed things that were covered throughout my training at UW-L such as task analysis, active participation, and lesson objective creation.  I also learned new things as well!  For example, my knowledge of how to teach using a distinctive "say, see, do" cycle and create strong structured and guided practice increased immensely.  It was also great to be able to plan a whole unit plan to lay out exactly what I was going to teach in my classes this summer.  One thing during training that was done exceptionally well was the diversity discussions.  Breakthrough Twin Cities reaches a diverse population of students and understanding differences is a high priority.  It was nice to continue the conversations I had during my UW-L Understanding Differences class (EFN 205) with new people who all brought new, unique experiences to the discussion.



This summer, I will be teaching 8th grade Chemistry!  However, that is just one of the many hats I will wear as a Breakthrough teaching fellow.  Some of my other roles include: student advisor, bus game coordinator, college teacher, tutorial teacher, and elective teacher!  During the day, the students go to three core classes (Math, Science, Writing, or Literature).  Before lunch, everyone comes to the large recital hall to participate in All School Meeting (ASM).  During ASM, teachers perform improv using the summer theme (This summers theme is "Time Travel"!) to teach students the College Codes.  The College Codes are character traits that Breakthrough has determined are essential for student success in college.  Some of these codes are persist, relish hard work together, strive to understand others, and curiosity.  ASM also highlights student talent, math problem of the day, science problem of the day, and word of the day.  After ASM, students head to lunch.  In the afternoon, students go to College.  College is like a homeroom except it also focuses on teaching the College Codes.  Tutorial is the next.  This is basically a study hall except students are able to get help from their teachers and complete their BooYah (Breakthrough's term for homework).  The students in my tutorial are all in my 8th grade chemistry class and the other three tutorial teachers teach those students' other core classes.  Finally, the day ends with YO-Time.  During this time, students have the option to play basketball, create hallway decorations, paint finger nails, play soccer, sing karaoke, and other various activities led by the teachers.


The highlight of my training was Back to Breakthrough Night where I finally got to meet my students! On Thursday night, Breakthrough students came to the school to meet their teachers, find their classrooms, open their lockers and begin making connections with other students. It was great to finally see the students for whom I have been preparing so hard!  I feel like I am in a place where I can meet students' unique needs and really help highly motivated, under-resourced students achieve their goal of going to college.  It is going to be a life-changing summer, and I am so excited to jump into it on Monday!

For more information about Breakthrough Twin Cities go to http://www.breakthroughtwincities.org!


Monday, April 27, 2015

The Journey Begins

Post written by: Abi Nixon
Year: Senior
Major(s): Middle Childhood-Early Adolescent Education
Minor(s): General Science

Hi! My name is Abi Nixon, and I am a senior here at UW-La Crosse.  When I was touring colleges, my parents made me go on at least thirteen different college visits.  We traveled to Iowa, Minnesota, Indiana and Wisconsin searching for the perfect school.  On my last college visit to UW-L, I instantly fell in love.  UW-L was everything I had been searching for and then some.  Now as a student, I get to wake up and see the bluffs outside my window, and I am able to scenic downtown La Crosse with just a quick walk down the street.  The thing that really won me over about UW-L was the outstanding reputation of their education department.  I knew from a very early age that I wanted to be a teacher but was still questioning what kind of teacher I wanted to be.  At first, I declared biology and secondary education as my program of choice; however, during my first semester at UW-L, I took EDS 309: Education in a Global Society and became enthralled with learning about education, curriculum creation, laws, and pedagogy.  I wanted to take more education classes than I would be required to take as a STEP major, so I switched my major to Middle Childhood-Early Adolescent Education with a General Science minor.  As I have progressed through the education classes offered here at UW-L, my knowledge of the field of education and the art of teaching has grown exponentially.

This summer, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share my story about my summer teaching fellowship in the inner city of St. Paul with you!  I applied to Breakthrough Collaborative in December and got the call that I had been selected to interview for a teaching position this summer in January.  I was so nervous for my interview because I had heard that it was a very rigorous and selective process.  I had to create a science lesson to teach in front of the Breakthrough board and other teaching candidates at the four-hour group interview night.  One thing that makes Breakthrough unique is their link to Teach for America.  When people ask me what Breakthrough is, I usually say it is a mini Teach for America teaching fellowship.  Breakthrough accepts applications from college students with all sorts of majors, not just education majors.  At my interview, there were people who had majors in music, communication, math, and education.  It was very interesting to see people who did not have any teacher preparation training prepare and teach a lesson.  After the group interview, I told my dad that even if I did not get the teaching fellowship, the interview process in itself was a great learning opportunity.  Later the next week, I got an email saying that I had been selected to be a teaching fellow in St. Paul this summer.

Throughout my time at UW-L, my heart has become set on helping students in high need areas achieve academically and meet their personal life goals.  Teachers have an amazing opportunity to change the lives of their students, and I believe that my calling is to help students who would normally be overlooked achieve their highest potential.  I look forward to sharing my summer experience with you!

"Only 33% of highly motivated, under-resourced students enroll in college and of that 33%, only 14% actually graduate.  This stands in stark contrast to the 70% of high-income students who matriculate and 60% of those who earn a college degree." -Breakthrough Twin Cities


Here is a video featured on PBS that was taken at the school I will be teaching at this summer! Also, I provided a link to the Breakthrough Collaborative website for you to explore!


First Lesson at My Second Placement


Post written by: Drew Preusse
Year: Senior
Major(s): Physical Education
Minor(s): Adapted Physical Education

Today I taught my first lesson at my new placement, Westby High School. I am taking over my cooperating teacher’s “Individual Sports” class which is a PE elective for upper high school students. We are in our tennis unit and my first lesson was starting a doubles tournament outside. I put students into teams and planned out the first five rounds of match-ups.

On my way to school it started snowing lightly. I thought, that’s okay, we can set up the pickleball courts inside and use pickleball rackets with tennis balls for today’s class. Unfortunately when I got to school I was informed we did not have our gym space because of a music concert going on in there. I also found out that half of the class was a part of this concert and would not be coming to class.

We ended up going outside to play tennis in the snow; I remade teams and match-ups as we walked down to the tennis courts. This is a perfect example of how a great lesson plan can be tossed out the window in a matter of minutes and you still have students coming to your class expecting the best from you. It turned out to be a great first lesson -




Monday, April 13, 2015

One of Those "WOW" Moments

Post written by: Erin O'Connor
Year: Senior
Major(s): English
Minor(s): STEP

I taught one of my very own lesson plans today on a poem by Robert Frost called “Mending Wall.” Its a poem about two neighbors who come together once a year only to reinforce the wall that separates their property. They come together only to solidify their separateness. Its a very ironic poem and that was the point of the lesson: to help students understand and identify irony.

In an effort to relate this same kind of irony to students’ lives I showed a music video called “Can We Autocorrect Humanity?” by a rapper named Prince Ea. Its a music video about smartphones/technology as a means of bringing people together, but also as a means of pushing people further apart. Technology both connects us and disconnects us. It connects us to endless possibilities in the virtual world, but disconnects us from our present reality. We had a class discussion on relating the music video to the poem, and the students were all so engaged! One student related facebook to the wall in the poem because its a place where “friends” come together, but in a very fake way. They were identifying irony and connecting the poem to their everyday lives, so impressive!

I am so proud of my lesson and the discussion it prompted, but the point of this blog post is in something else. After class one of my students came up to me and said, “Thank you for the message today.” She said that sometimes she feels like she is the only person who feels disconnected from others and it was reassuring to hear her fellow classmates share the same feeling. She gave me this genuine smile, said, “You’re going to be a great teacher,” and walked out of the room.


I will never forget that moment.

Human Hungry Hippos

Post written by: Drew Preusse
Year: Senior
Major(s): Physical Education
Minor(s): Adapted Physical Education



I recently saw the YouTube video below on my Facebook news feed and thought we should try it in our gym. I showed it to my cooperating teacher and she had seen it on Facebook too. Our version was a little bit different but our students loved it!











Friday, February 27, 2015

Typical Day in PE

Post written by: Drew Preusse
Year: Senior
Major(s): Physical Education
Minor(s): Adapted Physical Education


The following is what a typical day of my student teaching looks like...

I start my day off working with my adapted physical education cooperating teacher at Irving Pertzsch Elementary. Here I teach three second grade students with disabilities in a small group setting for 30 minutes. They receive this additional session with me as part of their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). My lessons usually align with what these students are working on in their general physical education classes including object control skills (throwing, catching, striking, etc.), locomotor skills (running, skipping, galloping, etc.), and other skills such as jumping rope, balance, and flexibility.

After my first session I travel to my main placement of Eagle Bluff Elementary. Here I have a 30 minute early childhood session with 2-3 students with disabilities. These young students are just starting to come to school and receive special education services. Every day we work on walking and balancing along with riding bicycles, tricycles, and/or scooters.

Once my morning in adapted physical education is done, I start my general physical education classes with my other cooperating teacher. Each of these classes have roughly 18-24 students and last 30 minutes. I see three kindergarten classes and two 1st grade classes before my lunch break. Afterwards I see two more kindergarten classes to end the day. It is crazy how many children we see in our gym each day! We work on the same skills I mentioned above. For example, right now we just got done with our dribbling unit and are now starting our kicking unit. 

I stay after school most days to attend staff meetings or work on my  unit plans, lesson plans, assessments, and other materials. I also have to complete additional assignments and reflections for my UW-L supervisor. Every other Wednesday night I go to UW-L where I have seminar with my professors and other physical education student teachers. Here we share our experiences and get ideas from each other.

By the end of each day I am exhausted. I go home to recharge so I am ready to do it all over again tomorrow!


Monday, February 9, 2015

New Year, New Look

I start student teaching this semester and I have decided that I need to look more professional and grown up. So, I have cut off all my hair! Its a big change, but I love it. I now head into my professional semester with a new look and new confidence.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Substitute Surprise

I began my middle school student teaching experience about a week and a half ago, and it has been quite an interesting experience so far. On the first day that I met my mentor teacher, I found out that she would be going out of town for the next week and half to attend her son’s wedding in Mexico. This meant that I would be working with a substitute for the first week and half of my student teaching experience. At first, this idea scared me because I was unsure of what my “role” would be and I was also a little nervous about students acting out.


Well, I’m not going to lie to you, the students acted out like mad for the first few days. However, the substitute and I were able to gain their respect; and after this happened, classroom management became much easier. I have learned loads about classroom management over the past few days.


Ms. Bruha and Ms. O'Connor in action
As far as actual teaching goes, I have been getting a lot of experience in front of the classroom. The substitute I am working with was a History Education major, so when it comes to teaching grammar or writing I have more experience with it than she is. This being so, I have have been teaching a TON. Having the sub here is nice because it gives me the opportunity to gain experience with the students without the fear of messing up or being “perfect.” My mentor teacher will be the one who actually evaluates my teaching, so any mess ups I make now are mess ups that I can avoid when it actually counts.


So even though I was nervous at the beginning of this substitute adventure, I am grateful that it happened because it pushed me to grow in ways I probably wouldn’t have otherwise and gave me a very unique opportunity! Also, the substitute was a wonderful person and I am happy to have met her.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Physical Education Student Teaching

Post written by: Drew Preusse
Year: Senior
Major(s): Physical Education
Minor(s): Adapted Physical Education

My name is Drew Preusse. I am a physical education and adapted physical education student at UW-La Crosse. I have recently started my student teaching semester and will be graduating this spring. This is my first post to the UW-L School of Education Student Blog. I also write on my personal blog at www.peconnections.wordpress.com where I share my thought about physical education (follow me on Twitter @PEconnections).

I am originally from Menomonie, Wisconsin. Right before my senior year in high school I took a tour of UW-L and immediately knew it was the best fit for me. Between my freshmen and sophomore year I chose Physical Education as my major. I love teaching kids how to be active and live healthy. I have finally started student teaching and hopefully next year I will be a full-time physical education teacher!

My student teaching placement is at the elementary level with 15 physical education classes rotating every other day. I see approximately 250 students total, 80% of whom are kindergartners. Additionally I work with the adapted physical education teacher and see 4 other classes which vary in grade level, size, and inclusion setting. It is a crazy schedule but I am excited to gain so much quality teaching experience.