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Field Notes #2

JBacchus's picture

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”


MT stresses feeling successful today at centers. One boy says he doesn’t feel like he is being successful while reading, and MT say she will help him too.


“J., we are not going to tall tell tales now. This is learning time. We need to be serious” – said when J. (for the third time) tries to tell something clearly untrue at reading centers


P. leaves room. AT asks where he is going. “I was just in trouble”


Positive praise emphasized – doing a great job; I want you to be successful


Classroom management – break in Cubby room


C. has behavior cards? Next week ask MT about it


How to use positive reinforcement rather than punishment to optimize learning – stress feeling successful this week, last week asked if doing best learning, organize carpet squares to be most successful


Does R. have a possible dependency on teachers? She needed help getting ready for Recess by teacher putting on mittens and shoes…incidentally, this is done while MT tells M. that it is “not the teacher’s job to get students ready. It is a student’s job” – in incidences like this, how can we make the classroom equal? In Spec. Ed we learned that fairness was each student getting what they needed, but how can we make all students understand this?


At reading center, one of the boys sits next to R. and she makes comment about how no one ever sits next to her – same comment as last week.


When a teacher cannot resolve a home issue, and this home issue is a life issue which seeps into school, how can the teacher compensate for it in the classroom without the assistance of the parents?


How much authority does a teacher have over home life? Relation to last week’s class discussion about parent-teacher conferences, and the availability of teachers to parents after school hours.


During Recess, when I take time to write down reflection, I notice a picture of a baby in R’s cubby that lists six names. Teacher tells me that R is oldest of four siblings, and MT says she has a significant amount of unfair responsibility at home – how does this affect her parents potential denial of issues/help?


R. tells M. to calm down during Project circle after she shares that she is helping him to get over his fear of dogs. She then seems to keep bringing this subject up throughout Project. She needs to be moved away from him during project circle. In Kids Choice, she tries to convince M. to play dog with him to help him get over his fear, he say she doesn’t want to, and MT spends at least 3 minutes explaining to R. that if he’s not ready, then he’s not ready, and it’s not right of her to try to force him.


This week’s project on friends – write a book about a friend and what you do with them. Brainstorming friends and what you do with them at circle. Emphasize that you can have different types of friends (pets, parents, etc) during circle time – AT then tells student that their dog cannot be their friend, and MT interrupts to tell AT that she said during reading the book that dogs can be their friends. Role of AT in classroom? Does she overstep boundaries? Who really has the authority?


AT interrupts a game I am playing with A. and I. – she asks A if she is playing correctly because she appears to be “throwing the dice a lot”. I interrupt because A seems to get upset, and says that it’s tied and so she and I , not only both have a die, but are rolling it frequently to see who finally wins. AT seems to ignore me.


What happens when a teacher accuses incorrectly or sees something/assumes something wrong? How does this affect trust and a safe environment for the student?


Ask MT about why J frequently gets marbles during math.


Faking picking sticks??


Stressing importance of being a “good learner” – MT seems to be VERY encouraging, and this was even noted by a visitor from a private school, looking at C. to see if he is right for next year in first grade.




What happened?

During circle share time, F. wants to share about how he went to the Crayola Factory that Sunday with his family. He begins with “This Sunday I went to the Crayola Factory”. Assistant teacher then leans forward between him and another student (as she is sitting directly behind him in a chair) and says “What is the Crayola Factory?” He goes to respond, “It’s when…”, but before he can finish, the assistant teacher interrupts, still leaning forward, and tells him “Tell them what it is.” F. then tries to continue saying “they make…”, but AT again interrupts saying “They make crayons right? Tell them they make crayons…” F agrees saying “yeah, they make crayons.” AT then says “now tell them you are ready for questions and comments”, and F. repeats “I am ready for questions and comments”, leading to the interaction with R. over the word “factory”.


Why did it happen?

Truthfully, I don’t know why it happened that the assistant teacher so frequently interrupted. He seemed to me to be thinking about his answers, but also seemed to be as though he was fully going to answer the questions. I don’t understand why the assistant teacher didn’t give him the opportunity. I think the fact that she was sitting directly behind him, and was able to lean forward, added to the reason that she so frequently interrupted him trying to share.


What might it mean?

Is this a fault of F.? Has he previously had trouble sharing in circle time in a timely manner? Or, (my interpretation, but probably biased), is the AT overbearing? This seems to be something I’ve noticed a bit, particularly when she accused A. later in the day of not playing the game correctly.


What are the implications for practice?

Possibly the students prefer the MT over the AT, because the MT appears to be more encouraging and patient. I’d like to observe the AT’s reading center to see how she interacts in a smaller setting with four or so students.

I’d also like to further observe the relationship between the AT and MT, and how this may affect the classroom.