As a returning GK-12 fellow, it was interesting to be in a different classroom with a new mentor teacher. I am currently in a mathematics classroom at Rosedale Middle School in Kansas City, KS and my mentor teacher is Sam Martin; previously I was positioned at Eisenhower Middle School, Kansas City, KS. As I only observed this week, I will only comment on some differences between the two schools.
The classroom at Rosedale is a shared classroom environment with about 30-40 students. That is, there are are two classes with two different teachers in the room. The two teachers have split the class into three groups and rotate them around different work stations. The plan for the upcoming year is to fit me into the rotation so that I will be talking to a small group of students each hour. This is a big change from last year at Eisenhower. There, my mentor teacher and I would spend the hour with all of the students in the class (about 30), helping them work on various projects. This new system seems to be an interesting change and I look forward to testing it out.
Another difference between the schools is the architecture of the building. Eisenhower had an open classroom. Each classroom is a partition of a larger room and the walls (dividers) did not go up to the ceiling. There are no doors and nothing to really separate one class from another. With this design, it was very difficult to have discussions with the students; every time the students became excited with the material, we had to make sure they calmed down and did not disturb the surrounding classes. At Rosedale, the classrooms are actually rooms. I believe this environment is better for discussion and project based learning.
I enjoyed my last year working at Eisenhower, I hope that this year will be another positive experience.