Co-Teaching Reflection
I'm really glad I went ahead and co-taught some lessons during the inquiry unit. I don't have a whole lot of experience with teaching in front of a class, and I need all the practice I can get. I ended up creating a lot of worksheets for lessons that I had hoped to teach (and that were not included in my lesson plan assignment), but that the others teachers decided that they wanted to teach. Although this was disappointing, I'm still glad that I have the experience creating the worksheets. I find this to be very interesting. I am not sure why they didn't want to include you in the actual creation (and later the grading) portion of the lessons. I have feeling this will change the next time around now that they understand your skills first-hand

I ended up teaching three lessons: one on a Gale database called "Opposing Viewpoints", one on the INSPIRE database, and one on evaluating websites. I taught each lesson an average of four times, and they definitely got easier the more I taught. The lessons mirrored the planned activities pretty closely with more time spent on discipline and classroom management. It's hard to predict how much time the lessons are going to take, and I actually usually run under instead of over time. I wish that I had planned more interactive lessons, because I felt like the students got bored with me yammering away at them. I think the lessons were successful overall, though, because the students did seem to understand how to use databases at the end of them.

The first two lessons were very similar and the second set went much better than the first. There were things that I noticed during the first lesson (like the students were using entire sentences to search instead of using keywords) that I was able to address during the second database lecture. I read below before I am writing this: As you know, the fact that you are thinking in terms of "lectures" is problematic. You want to be thinking in terms of ways to engage students in their learning. It was a little odd, though, to give the same lesson/lecture 4 times in a row. You start to not be able to remember what you've said already and it became a bit problematic for me. I also changed my introduction a bit because I realized that students, especially freshman, might not even know what a database is,ALWAYS no matter the age (even teachers) start by assessing what are the key "terms" of the lesson and plan for some way to assess what they know and lay a foundation of how you are coming at the terms. and I was right. They definitely needed some help with vocabulary.

The lesson about website evaluation was something I had to create very quickly. We hadn't originally planned on discussing it, but the teachers and I realized that the students did not have the skills to find reliable information on Google or other search engines. I think this lesson was the most fun and the students learned the most. We had discussions about what constitutes a quality website, and the students participated and seemed interested. I definitely had to add some information about Boolean searches and other special search functions like quotation marks and parentheses. Despite being my favorite lesson, I also think it needs the most work, because this is a very important topic and something students apparently are not taught in Bloomington.

Despite being really nervous about getting up in front of a group of students, I think the lessons went well. The students were mostly well-behaved and respectful and I felt like they learned important skills. I saw many of them coming back later, working independently, and using the databases with no problems and seeming comfortable. I would change the lessons a bit to make them more interactive and less like lectures. I would also like to revamp the evaluating websites lecture and perhaps spread that out into a two-part series. I agree; complex and needs plans for both introductory workshops and then later follow-up lessons. I would also probably slightly modify some of the worksheets, because I wasn't entirely happy with all of them.

One thing I was really not happy about was the lack of feedback from the teachers I worked with. They were there during the lessons, and I asked them what they thought, what I should change, etc., and they just gave me "It was fine." which was obviously not helpful. I'm going to try and get some formalized feedback from them when the inquiry unit is over, which should be this coming week. As this was my first time collaborating on an inquiry unit, I'm cutting myself some slack, but it really didn't go as smoothly as I would have liked. Some of the students seem confused about what stage in inquriy they are on right now, and that's really not good. My suggestion with this is that YOU need to be more involved in helping to move the kids through the inquiry process. As a group, pick a model you are using (I think it was I-Search) but be SURE that each day's lesson starts with a short discussion of the stage they are in and how the whole big picture comes together. This needs to be taught and reviewed explicitely EVERY time you see them in order for them to start to interalize the process. I'm really glad I taught these lessons, though, and had the experience of collaborating with teachers.

Private Teaching Lessons