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Glittery Life

JBacchus's picture

Field Notes #4 - 5th Visit

Share time - S's sister has a stuffed animal eagle. When teacher does not call on R., R smacks her head and rocks back and forth. 
- all the other children just seem to ignore it -- seems like something they're used to

At least 4 children are lacking energy today, seem lethargic. With all 4 the main teacher has two methods to solve:

1.) if not ready then take a "vacation" in principal's office

2.) put marbles in jar if work

During reading center, counted how many times one boy lied - 9 times

P. gives M a kiss and while teacher was telling him that kisses "aren't given at school", F. gives Sa. a kiss

G almost lost marbles for entire reading center

This day seemed to be full of children lying about experiences, especially at the reading center. For the center 2/3 groups were reading books about Chipmunks, and the teacher asked the students what they knew about chipmunks. It was clear that they didn't know anything, and when no one would answer, the students started making things up - ie., they're giants, they can swim, I saw one in the forest of Africa, etc etc. The teacher stressed that "teacher choice time" is not the time for telling stories, but rather for being honest. "If you don't know anything about chipmunks, that's fine. We can talk about what we don't know, but no telling tales or stories". A version of this had to be said at least once at each group.  

transitfan's picture

trying to apply elementary school music pedagogy to college-student intro music reading teaching

3/24: Music-reading class

Today only three students showed up, but there were notable improvements over my previous class. In advance, I planned a skeleton lesson plan, which helped me stay on track. I can continue to work on clarity, but my instructions were generally quicker and I never apologized.

We started writing our “names in music” (assigning the letters A-G in our names to the letters in the alphabet.) Then I meant to play our “name piece” on the piano at the end but I just remember now that I forgot. I asked the two students who are more confident to treble clef to write in bass clef; it slowed them down but I hope it was good practice.

Next I showed what rests look like on the chalkboard; I did this in a simple, traditional-education way.

But next we did a new activity; rhythmic dictation the way the students do it at Boatley (but here with more complicated rhythms.) The first rhythm students did easily. The second was much trickier, especially because I messed up the Kodaly syllables a little. A student took initiative in asking me to break it down beat by beat. This is lucky; I doubt an elementary school student would have asked me to do this and they would have missed out on a good strategy for me to help them to complete the rhythm. The third rhythm is a little easier.

dharris's picture

Cross-Visitation field notes, 3/6


March 6th, 2013


Ms. Gander’s class – 5th grade music


I arrived for my visit with fairly few expectations, feeling open.  I knew I'd be with 5th graders (a new age group for me) and that we'd be doing music, and that was about it.  We jumped right in: the class entered, and Jim, my classmate, led them in an initial name game. The children went around in a circle and said their name along with a gesture (a swoop of the arm, a snap, jumping into in “x” shape, etc.).  Momentum built as they went around the circle; laughter bubbled up as the kids (obviously very comfortable with each other) shared nick-names, made gestures more active, and generally had a good time with it.


transitfan's picture

A "bad apple" story

Before class, Ms. Presley said “we have a special friend in this class.” Michael's home-life is terrible (she didn't get more detailed then that) and he is new this year. He is the only one in the school not allowed to leave the classroom to use the bathroom, and he has been known to leave and not come back. (I wonder when he uses the bathroom.) He will say he is sick, but he isn't really sick. At the beginning of the year, the faculty tried being really nice to him, but didn't make any progress in his behavior. Now they are trying being really tough on him, and Ms. Presley wanted to give me a heads-up that I might see “tough love.”

During a lot of the class, Michael is being silly but the other students call him out on it, telling him to stop doing something every couple minutes. At one point, a student says to another “stop being the teacher” which is good advice, but Michael does in fact seem to be on a different, lower, level of power than the rest of the class somehow. Eventually he crawls over to the corner of the room. Ms. Presley directs him to come back to the circle with everyone else. He says something like “I'm trying to live an isolated existence from society” using similarly philosophical words. He comes back to the circle for a minute and repeats his dedication to isolation from society to another student.

“That's nice,” the other student says. He crawls away again and is called back.

transitfan's picture

coming in late at a disadvantage

12:40-1:25 Fifth Grade


Ms. Presley warns me before that this particular fifth grade class can be challenging. Like with all of her classes, she likes doing lots of quick 5-7 minute activities each class; it keeps students attentive and allows her to cover lots of ground.

There are about 15 students; about an equal number male-appearing and female-appearing. Two appear to be Black; the rest appear to be white but a couple others could be people of color. One girl, who is black, looks high-school aged. I will refer to her here as Sydney. Ms. Presley introduces me as Mr. Safran and asks if anyone wants to tell me anything about themselves or Shipley. “It's a school,” says one person. No one else adds any detail.

JBacchus's picture

Field Notes #2

February 19, 2013

Private Kindergarten

Goals for the day:
1.) How does R affect dynamics of classroom

2.) Potential teacher discord
3.) What is A’s place as the only girl other than R?

4.) Gender dynamics


Somewhat tangled brown bob with bangs
Tall and lanky
Wearing black leggings with a red flannel nightgown-type dress that often gets stuck in the leggings


Missed interaction. R had small fit with kicking feet (and incidentally me) over having to clean after kid’s choice…then a few mins later she gets to put marble into jar (positive reinforcement – when marble height reaches line, class gets a party treat)


AT (assistant teacher) needs to intervene for R. during share time multiple times


R. seems to be caring (as MT said) – this week’s sharing “I am glad to see that G. is back”, whereas last week’s share time was “I am glad to be back. I missed everyone”
-- is she longing for connection and friendship?


AT feels overbearing??? (SEE BELOW FOR STORY COLLECTION)


F. again criticized R. during sharetime – R says “pactory” and F says rather rudely “it’s not pactory. It’s factory”. R looks like she is about to cry


Before sending students off to centers, MT says she is going to pick who sits on what carpet squares for one center to help “our friends learn the best they can”


dharris's picture

Field Journal - first 2 posts

Dave Strecker Harris

ED311 – Cohen


Field Journal

I will be working primarily with three student, José, age 8, Daniel, age 8, and Elena, age 11 at MENTIRA, a Hispanic community center in Norristown.





8 years old

Birthday = June 5th, 2004



Luis – 4th grade


            Jose and I work on his homework, the task in front of us.  In reality, we were taking in first impressions of each other.  I saw shyness in him, but also an unshakable confidence in his work: today was math. 

            Sometimes he won’t show me his answers as he works, but there’s a slight twinkle of mischief in his eye that makes me think he has a soft heart.  I feel he pushes me away somewhat, not physically but with his body language.  I start to feel I’m coming across too strong. 

            He completes an addition exercise involving adding hundreds (e.g. 292+388).  He whizzes through them almost boastfully; when I note that one of his answers is incorrect (of the 30, so he got 29/30 correct at a very fast pace), he seems surprised but unfazed.

transitfan's picture

field notes: first impressions and thoughts on dialogue between teachers in my placement

I finally started by placement today at a private school not far from the college campus of this course, to be called The Boatley School. I will be with the lower school's music teacher to known as Ms. Presley, who is in her first year teaching here after some work at public schools. (She says that Boatley students are uniquely comfortable speaking up and asking questions compared to her past teaching experience, which she says can be good and bad. I hypothesize may be a socio-economic class issue.) I feel grateful that a new teacher was willing to take on a student to do fieldwork in her class, although she seems to prefer I mainly observe at first. She will also try to arrange for me to visit the band director and the middle/upper school music teacher a couple times each for a period or two. Because the school runs on a rotating schedule, I will see different students every week, which will make it a challenge for me to get to know them. That said, I think it will be interesting as a contrast to past field placements in music.

JBacchus's picture

Field Notes #1

February 15, 2013

Private kindergarten classroom,
11 students (9 boys, 2 girls – 1 boy missing)

Daily schedule:
Kids Choice
Morning Meeting
Centers – Reading
Kids Choice
Quiet Time

Looking over the boxes that the children made for Valentine’s day – Seem to be very gendered. Teacher tells me that R. (girl) really wanted the last pink paper, so she asked A. if she would be ok with the purple paper…assumption of color pink? Boys seemed to use blue and red.

Same day schedule as the language enrichment classroom but appears to be more advanced.

During morning meeting, F (boy) to R engage in concerning interaction. During sharing, F. explains that his babysitter needed to watch him an extra time this week because his father had to go to the doctor. R asks why the father had to go to the doctor. F tells her (in indignant, offended? tone) that she “shouldn’t ask that” and that her question was mean (not using the word mean, though). R gasps and appears to begin to get upset. Head teacher interferes, calms situation down, explain to F. that R’s question was okay because F said that his father was going to the doctor and allows F to change his story. – How does this type of interaction affect school climate? The rest of the children? Does this particularly affect the safety of the school?

transitfan's picture

field notes-ish post for 2/12

My field placement is still not finalized so here are some thoughts for this week on educational experiences.

I listened to most of the npr show on upcoming Philadelphia school closings. I was struck how the director of student services of the school district does not give off an appearance of having much concern for anyone beyond the district's image. But then again, my understanding of the need for school closings is increased knowing that such a low percentage of students near Germantown High are students at that school and that the school is so under-capacity. It seems to refute the idea that competition from charters and vouchers can improve community schools (not that that idea needed much refuting in my opinion). Is it too late to save community schools like Germantown? Are they worth saving? As someone with economic privilege who went to a private high school when my community school system wasn't working for me, I do understand the appeal of school-choice. Clearly access to safe, good-quality community schools and access to other schools for particular types of learners shouldn't be a one-or-the-other. I wonder what the average quality of the charter, private, and magnet schools is that the majority of Germantown students attend.

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