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Field Notes 4/17

Field Notes 4/17- Ms. R 11th grade American History, Mr. T 10th grade English

Today in my field placement I noticed the different teaching styles of Ms. R and Mr. T. They are very similar in they way they plan their lessons, because they are based around Tech Prep’s core values (inquiry, research, collaboration, presentation, reflection). The assignments are often very open-ended and push students to think critically and be creative (I could do a whole post about the actual projects themselves). However, it seems my two teachers have approached this type of project-based curriculum in different ways.

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Structure at my placement

In my placement, Ms. R (11th grade history) tends to be more unstructured and hands-off than Mr. T (10th grade English). However, I notice that she often gets frustrated when she gives the students independent work periods but they end up being loud of getting distracted. She mentions to multiple times that they can be a “difficult class.” A few weeks ago, I notice that she tries to change up the pace of the class and create a little more structure. I’ll copy the section from my fieldnotes and then comment on it below:

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Field notes 3/19/13


Ms. R 11th grade American History

Mr. T 10th grade English

Today Ms. R seems a little more stern than usual. While she is still joking around and not being “mean” in any way, she raises her voice to get the students attention at the beginning of class and tells them to put their “lids down” (referring to their laptops). She begins reviewing what the class accomplished yesterday, and shows a list on the smartboard comparing individual needs/interests in the environment versus business needs/interests in the environment. She says, “I feel like you guys didn’t get the most out of that activity, so we are going to try something else. I’m giving you three prompts: “I notice..” “I wonder..” and “What if?” and you have to look at this chart and fill in those sentences. So for example, I went to New York this weekend, and I noticed that M&Ms sold in Times Square were more expensive than those sold in the regular stores at home. I wondered why they would charge more and if other people noticed this price change. What if they donated the difference in that cost to a charity or non-profit organization?”

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Cross-Visit Field Notes (from 3/1/13)

Field Notes- 3/1/13 


Today I went joined Jomaira at Stonewood High School. She is working this semester with the Mayor’s new college access initiative, and is gathering information about various schools in the city and their college programs. She tells me that they are looking for a neighborhood school in a low-income community with high college access rates, but that has been hard to find. So far she has noticed that many of the college programs are separate or extra features of the school, but they are not implicit in the curriculum or culture. Additionally, Jomaira tells me that some schools have multiple programs that overlap or do not communicate with one another, because they have grants or funding coming from a variety of sources.

We enter the massive doors to Stonewood High School and there is only about foot between us a metal detector. We put our bags through and sign in with the security officer. The building is classic and beautiful inside, and clearly has history. We are told to go up to the Student Success Center to meet with Alisha, the manager of the center. We walk into the center, which is also a computer lab. I notice a few students waiting to use the computers. Alisha takes us to a separate office to talk. I typed up the main points of our conversation in bullet point form because I talked about them more in depth in my cross-visit paper (and I also did field notes for my placement this same week so these were a little more brief).

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Field Notes 3/5/13

Field Notes: March 5th, 2013 

I haven’t really noticed the “bad apple” theme come up in my field placement. However, I think the lack of clear “bad apples” says something about student-teacher relationships at my school and the type of learning environment there, although some might argue that it also is reflective of my school’s highly selective student body. I’m interested in talking about this issue more with others in my group and in class, but my field notes this week touch on a wide variety of issues that came up this week for me. 


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Field Notes 2/26/13

February 26th, 2013

Ms. R 11th Grade American History
Mr. T 10th Grade English

Today was a fun day in my field placement because Sarah came with me for our cross-visit! We talked a lot about some issues I’ve been thinking about and she brought to my mind some things I hadn’t thought of before.

As usual, the students in Ms. R’s American History class were working on their big “benchmark project.” I learned that each quarter there is a benchmark project, with a clear grading rubric. There are multiple parts to this project. Last week the students researched the causes of the Great Depression and studied the New Deal. This week they are researching the causes of the Great Recession. The final project will be a comparison of the responses to the Great Depression and the Great Recession. Ms. R has almost the identical assignment as last week, with 3 sources and guided questions. She only says a few words at the beginning of class and then tells them to start working. Sarah and I are walking around looking at their visual depictions of their projects from last week and they are clearly excited to “show off” their work and explain it to us.

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Field Notes 2/19/13

February 19th, 2013

Location: Public magnet high-school in Center City

Classes: 11th grade American History (Ms. R), 10th grade English (Mr. T)

*Again, sorry these are a little late! I go to my placements on Tuesdays so I tried to upload them as soon as possible. 

After a three-day weekend, Ms. R starts class by asking students about their weekends. A few students raise their hands to tell the class what they did over the weekend, such as going to church, going out to breakfast with their families, having relatives over, etc.


We’ve talked a lot about getting to know your students and where they come from, and simply starting the class by asking about weekend activities seems like a great way to do this. It gives students a chance to share information about their lives and even says something about the different cultures we come from. The only concern Ms. R seemed to have was that so many students want to talk and the classes are only an hour.


The general environment at this school is very relaxed. Students usually stroll in 5-10 minutes after class officially begins, there are no bells and no attendance is ever taken.


Generally this “laid-back” system seems to work, but I do wonder about students that show up very late or do not have as much self-motivation to complete their work without someone reminding them to. At the same, it is very good preparation for college and the workplace.


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Fieldnotes- 2/12/13

Fieldnotes- 2/12/13, 10am-3pm

Classes: 11th grade American History (Ms. R), 10th grade English (Mr. T)


As I wait outside of Ms. R’s classroom, a few students are in the hallway waiting for their classes to start. There is a big white board on the wall outside the college counseling office and it has an “SAT question of the day on it.” The students waiting for their classes begin to discuss the question and try to figure out which is the correct answer.

This seems like a great way to give students something to focus on at a time when they could get restless in the hallway.  

Students slowly trickle into Ms. R’s 11th grade American history class. Most students are there within the first 5-10 minutes after class officially begins. The students are friendly and say hi to me as they walk in. Ms. R quiets them down by turning off the lights and saying “screens down please” (in reference to their laptops). She asks me to introduce myself.

I like that Ms. R has me introduce myself to the students. It makes me feel as though I have a part in the class and makes it easier to begin getting to know the students and make sure they feel comfortable around me. She also tells them they can ask me about college because they are all beginning to think about applying to schools.

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Field notes- 2/5/13

Sorry these are a little late! I had my first field placement today.

The school I am at is a 9-12 public magnet school in Center City. I am with Mr. T's 10th grade English classes, and beginning next week I will also be with Ms. R's 11th grade American History class. 

The first thing I notice when I walk into this school are the colors. Every wall is a bright shade of orange, green, yellow, blue, or purple. I come in during lunch time so all the students are out of class. As I walk to Mr. T’s class I see students hanging out, eating lunch, and walking around in the hallways. I do not see many teachers, and the students are not supervised. I walk into Mr. T’s class and he is having lunch while a technology class goes on. This particular room has big windows, bright blue colored walls, and five tables instead of desks. On the walls are various posters about the core values of the school, inspirational quotes, project instructions, and more. Immediately, I can feel the culture of this school is very warm, safe, mature, and fun.

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Field Notes #1- Independent Study Meeting

January 29th, 2013

Fieldwork Seminar

Field Notes #1


These are “field notes” from the first meeting for my Independent Study this semester, which is the culmination of my concentration in Peace, Conflict and Social Justice Studies. Pseudonyms were used. 



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