Classroom Observation 1; 4th grade EDU 2033 Introduction to Education Student Name: Kailey Hughes Observation Date: October 13, 2011 Time of Observation: 9:30am-12:30 am Hours Logged: 2 hours and 45 minutes Name of School: Flippin Elementary School Principal: Mr. Villines Teacher Observed: Mrs. Black Grade level/Subject Matter/Event: Fourth Grade/Self Contained Classroom Number of Students Involved: 18 students; 9 boys and 9 girls (1st rotation). 19 students; 9 boys and 10 girls (second rotation) Describe the Classroom/Facility: Entering the hallway door, there was a small table to the immediate left containing several markers and clipboards. A bulletin board hung behind the table, beside the dry erase board and projector screen. The teacher’s podium was in front of the whiteboard. To the left of the board, Mrs. Black’s desk was placed sideways, forming a small office area in the corner of the room with a tall bookshelf along the wall. Along the next wall, there was a window behind the teacher’s area and another shelf protruding from the wall near the desk helping to form a small “office space”. On the other side of the shelf were three desks holding student computers. A book shelf sat on the other side of the computer desks near the next corner where a taller bookshelf was placed diagonal to the corner of the room. Along the back wall, there was another, shorter shelf beside the diagonal one forming a small reading library with the others. In front of the library was a reading rug where there were two bean bag chairs and two lounge/gaming chairs for students to use while reading. A glider rocking chair also sat beside the rug. Moving further along the window-lined back wall, there was a television on a tall stand next to a long, narrow table with books and folders on it beside the corner of the room where the closet for the heater unit was located. On the next wall, beside the heating closet was a door to the next classroom. Cubbies lined the middle of the wall next to a large grey filing cabinet where restroom passes were hung. In the corner near the hallway entrance door was a large, yellow, plastic garbage can containing sports equipment. Five groups of four desks each were placed throughout the room; desks in groups faced one another forming squares (See map). The “bulletin board” behind the cubbies was painted on the wall instead of using an actual bulletin board. Each desk had three name tags on the front (seating arrangements for each class rotation) Chairs have tennis balls on the feet Library center is organized alphabetically and by genre’ A white, slotted shelf for papers sits on top of the cubbies Desks had beige-colored tops and were open front desks Alphabet above white board is written in cursive, and punctuation marks hung underneath. Describe a Lesson/Learning Opportunity: When I came in, Mrs. Black had the projector screen up showing a sentence with a mistake in it. She explained to me that she was preparing them to complete practice benchmark exams in which they will have to write an essay. She split the room into two groups. She called on the first person from group one to try to find the mistake in the sentence. When a student “passed” the question or got the question wrong, turn passed to the next child in line in the opposite group. This way, all students had an opportunity to answer questions. After the game, Mrs. Black passes essay papers out face down while giving specific instructions for the students to “make a plan” before writing their papers. Students are told they will be given 45 minutes to write a wonderful paper. She sets the timer at the front of the room and tells everyone to begin writing. As they are writing, she alternates between walking around the room, checking on students and sitting in front of the class grading papers. Periodically, she reminded students to “make a plan” before writing. After the writing prompts, Mrs. Black collected the papers and began handing out pocket thesauruses. She initiated class discussion by asking if anyone knew what the books were. The first student guessed it was a dictionary. The teacher tells her to study the book closely and try again. The next student guesses correctly, “a thesaurus”. Mrs. Black then asked what was found in a thesaurus. Students took turn answering while the teacher passed out worksheets which students would use the books to complete. The worksheets contain several words for which students are to find synonyms and parts of speech. The second class rotation did all the same things. Describe the Students (behavior, interaction, enthusiasm): I could definitely tell the students held a great level of respect for Mrs. Black. Her manurisms and words always reflected respect for each student, so I wasn’t at all surprised at their level of respect for her. In the second rotation, there was a girl (whom I think had ADD or some other issue with focusing) who kept trying to talk to me while the teacher was speaking. When faced with a writing prompt, she pretty much had a complete breakdown. She stared at the page for a long time before asking Mrs. Black for help. Mrs. Black explained to her that she couldn’t do it for her but that she had a really good imagination and encourage her that she could do it. When the teacher walked away, the girl shoved the paper away, put her head on her desk, and started crying. The teacher ignored the behavior, continuing on with class normally. Only one student seemed distracted by the girl. What did you learn from this observation? I learned that I will be faced with difficult situations presented with the full inclusion laws (and many other situations); I will need a plan for dealing with them. I will need as much classroom experience as possible to prepare me to do my best at teaching every student effectively. I learned it is possible to not allow all situations to become a distraction to other students if handled properly. Classroom Observation 2; 4th grade EDU 2033 Introduction to Education Student Name: Kailey Hughes Observation Date: October 20, 2011 Time of Observation: 9:40am-12:30 am Hours Logged: 1 hour and 15 minutes Name of School: Flippin Elementary School Principal: Mr. Villines Teacher Observed: Mrs. Black Grade level/Subject Matter/Event: Fourth Grade/Self Contained Classroom Number of Students Involved: 19 children (9 girls; 10 boys) in first rotation; 16 students (8 girls; 8 boys) in second rotation Describe the Classroom/Facility: Nothing has changed from the first observation Describe a Lesson/Learning Opportunity: As I walked in today, Mrs. Black was using a microphone which hung around her neck to read a book aloud. The book was about drugs and their effect on the human body. The microphone seemed to really catch the children’s attention. After the book was finished, Mrs. Black allowed students to take turns discussing drugs/alcohol by raising their hands. Several of the kids shared about people in their families who had gotten cancer. One little girl shared that her mom went to prison for doing drugs and doesn’t do them anymore. It was amazing to hear what all the children had to say about the subject. The teacher explained that she had read the story to get the gears in their heads turning for the drug free essays they would have to write the following week. For the next activity, Mrs. Black reviewed material about “Ba Da Bing” sentences. The three steps to the sentence are 1.) Where did your feet go? 2.) What did your eyes see? 3.) What did you think? She explained that they were going to do a group activity in which one student was the “foot”, one was the “eyes”, and one was the brain. The feet would come up with a location, the eyes would come up with an object, and the brain would come up with a though. The students’ sentences would result in something like “We walked to the parking lot. We saw school buses lined up. ‘It must almost be time to go home’ we thought.” The second rotation class began working on their “drug free” essays. Mrs. Black handed out papers to help them to develop an outline for their writing. The paper had five sections for the introduction, first, second, third, and conclusion paragraphs. Each section started with a space for a connection word (transition) and followed with a topic and three examples. After working on plans together and individually for a while, students were instructed to begin writing the rough drafts of their essays. As children finished their essays, Mrs. Black read each one, giving ideas for improvement, encouraging them, and recognizing good performance. Students were told that they could “read around the room” after she approved their essays. “Reading around the room” is an activity Mrs. Black uses to get the children reading by allowing them to take a seat anywhere in the room (in bean bag chairs, desks, gaming chairs, or on the carpet) to read quietly. The students all really liked the freedom to read wherever they wanted, and I think it encouraged them to read more often. Describe the Students (behavior, interaction, enthusiasm): All the students were very attentive when listening to the story about drugs. They were also very involved in the class discussion about drugs and the problems they cause. Each student got a chance to say something. It seemed that all the children knew that each one would have a chance to say something, so none of them blurted anything out; they raised hands and waited their turns. During the essay writing, students were in a hurry to get finished so they could read, so Mrs. Black told them that they would have to do their best jobs in order for her to approve their writing so they could read. Students seemed fidgety, but got their work finished. A few of the boys began to horseplay a little during the “reading around the room” time and were made to go back to their desks, but most of the students did what they were supposed to be doing. What did you learn from this observation? I learned that there are many ways to encourage good performance and attentiveness in children. Positive re-enforcement seems to be the most effective since students are always striving for recognition. One way Mrs. Black recognized them was a sticker chart she kept at her podium. When a student would give a really good answer, they would get a gold star in their chart. She would say something like, “That answer deserves a gold star.” I will always find ways to encourage and recognize good behavior and academics in my classroom. Classroom Observation 3; 4th grade EDU 2033 Introduction to Education Student Name: Kailey Hughes Observation Date: October 27, 2011 Time of Observation: 9:30am-12:30 am Hours Logged: 2 hours and 45 minutes Name of School: Flippin Elementary School Principal: Mr. Villines Teacher Observed: Mrs. Black Grade level/Subject Matter/Event: Fourth Grade/Self Contained Classroom Number of Students Involved: Describe the Classroom/Facility: The only change today in the physical appearance of the room was that there were Halloween/fall themed wind socks hanging from the strings on the ceiling. Describe a Lesson/Learning Opportunity: When I walked in today, the teacher was facilitating a class discussion about the revising stage of a paper. I like that instead of standing at the front of the classroom talking the whole time, she asks questions to get the students’ attention, make them think, and get them involved in learning. She explained to them that they are going to edit each other’s papers next week and that they were going to practice today. Then she told them that when they edited each other’s papers, they would have to come up with three suggestions for the paper and three compliments for the paper. She then asked the class what the first step to revision was. After that, Mrs. Black hands out copies of an unknown student’s paper for them to revise. They were giving five minutes on the timer at the front of the room to find all the spelling, punctuation, and capitalization errors they could. They then discussed ideas for suggestions and compliments for the paper. They came up with a long list of each which the teacher wrote on the Elmo as they went. Five minutes before recess, she tells the students they should take the time to clean out their desks and make them look neat. Recess was spent inside playing games because of the rain. As the second class came in, Mrs. Black asked if anyone was ready to present their “book in a bag” report. One girl was ready to give her report. The report began with the girl giving the information on the front of the bag which consisted of the book title, the main characters, the plot, the conflict, the solution, and supporting characters. Next, she pulled items out of the bag which were representative of items or themes within the book she read. Students were supposed to have six items at least. The girl only had two items. After she was finished, the teacher told her she did a great job speaking. After a few minutes, Mrs. Black reminded the students that they needed to study their rubrics and make sure they had everything they needed before giving their reports. After class, Mrs. Black gave student’s the opportunity to read books that they were writing. Today, she let volunteers sit on a stool in front of the class and use the microphone to read their stories. I think the microphone encouraged more of the students to want to share. Describe the Students (behavior, interaction, enthusiasm): Students were a little antsy today (probably because of the rain), so Mrs. Black used the overhead microphone to speak. There is a huge difference in children’s attentiveness when she uses the microphone. During the time the children were sharing their stories, everyone in the class was listening attentively and asked questions about each child’s story. One of the students asked one girl if she was going to include her as a character in the story. Another student asked what the characters in a girl’s story would do in the next chapter of her book. The girl in second rotation who seemed to have an attention problem was sent to another class to do her work today along with one other boy in the room. What did you learn from this observation? I learned that it is important to think carefully about the way I say something to a student. Instead of telling them that a suggestion or answer is “right or wrong”, it would be better to tell them, “that is a good suggestion”, “we could do that”, or “that would make the sentence better”. I will always think about how my words will affect each student around me and will be positive in my responses, mannerisms, and actions.