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Field Notes 01/29/13

ellenv's picture

These notes are from my first day of praxis this semester that took place this morning. This semester I am placed in a 6th grade langauge arts classroom at Spring Charter School.* This is the same classroom that I was placed in last semester for another education course, so half of the students that I worked with today were the same as the students that I worked with last semester. 

I was in classroom from 8AM-1PMand during this time the class engaged in morning meeting, a period of reading, a period of writing, and then the other class came in and repeated the reading period before I left.


There were three different teachers that filtered in and out of the classoom. One of these teachers was the main 6th grade language arts teacher. This teacher is responsible for teaching language arts to 5th and 6th graders, using a looping system where they start with the students in 5th grade and then move up with them to 6th grade.

  • Question/thoughts/interpretation: At times, it is unclear why exactly different teachers are coming in and out of the classroom (what their role is). These teachers were different from the teachers that I had seen in this classroom last semester and so I wonder if they are new to the school, I had just never run into them last semester, or if their presence had to do with increased attention to testing that is approaching.

During a small break, one of the teachers that had been coming in and out indicated to me that she was a Special Ed teacher and that she had switched with the other Special Ed teacher that I had met last semester (from a 1st grade classroom to this 6th grade classroom) in January.

  • Qs/Thoughts/Interpretation: I was interested in observing how the relationship between this teacher and her students might differ from the teacher that I had observed last semester, but because didn't spend as much time with the class from last semester, I wasn't able to really get any idea. One question I was left with was how this change in classroom management might affect the students. How did she work to build trust half-way through the year? Were these techniques effective?

The main classroom teacher has me go around to check students' reading logs. The students were assigned 30 pages of reading the night before and students reported reading from 24-96 pages. When I return the gradebook to the teacher, she looks down the list and points at a few (in the higher range) and whispers "I don't know if I believe this..."

  • Q/T/I: when going around the classroom, it wasn't my first thought that the students might have been lying about the number of pages that they had read. The teacher indicated that next time I should have the students tell me about what happened at the end of the reading in order to determine if they had actually read the amount they said they did. How would this constant suspicion affect the students? I certainly cant always remember all of the details in a book ive read so I don't know how effective this method would be.

During the changing between classes, two teachers discuss a student who has been having behavioral issues and how to approach dealing with her. They discussed talking to the parents, but expressed frustration with how similar attempts had played out before.

  • Q/T/I: how had the teachers approached the parents the last time?

Overall Thoughts/Interpretations/Questions: What made this praxis visit particurarly interesting was the fact that I had seen this teacher work with a different set of students last semester. It was nice to get to see how different types of activities worked with different students and the different techniques that the main classroom teacher employed based on the feedback/interactions that she had with each set of students. I think it is important to see a teacher in various settings in order to understand that the classroom is a two-way street. Just because a teacher acts/interacts/responds to students in one setting doesn't necessarily mean that that is how to teach and work in a universal sense. How can teachers identify the different factors that might push them to interact in a certain way with some students and differently with another? How can this information be used in the classroom?