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Field Notes, Week 1

rbp13's picture



1-3:30   p.m., Monday


Last   semester, for the Curriculum and Pedagogy course, I was placed in this   classroom so I already know the routine and have established relationships   with the students


Returning   to the same field site after a significant break allowed me to observe the   classroom from a slightly different perspective and I noticed things that I   was not particularly conscious of last semester. (e.g. at the front of the   room, right below the whiteboard, is a sign with the bathroom procedures-1 finger   up means drink of water and 2 fingers up means bathroom)

Although   I noticed this sign last semester, I did not realize the significance of   where it is placed. By hanging it by the whiteboard, right next to where the   teacher stands and where the students should presumably be looking, the   teacher eliminates the possibility that students will say they did not know   the rules.

Objectives   for each subject are posted next to the schedule

Is   this new??

Some   of the students are in different seats than they were last semester

Behavioral   problems? There is a mobility rate within the school and the classes are   constantly changing. Did the class structure change resulting in the movement   of seats?

6   students are absent today


When   I arrived, Mariah was not in the room (she soon returned from the bathroom)


When   Mariah saw that I was there, she danced back to her seat and it took her   about 30 seconds to sit back down

Since   I spent a great deal of time with Mariah last semester, and have spoken to my   cooperating teacher about her behavior, I know that she often misbehaves for   attention.  

Mariah’s   desk is slightly separated from the other two in her row


First   class was math


For   math, the class is divided into two groups (Group A and B)-Mrs. Dolly works   with half of the class while the other group is playing a math game in   partners


Today,   the game that they were playing was called “Build-a-flat” and the objective   was to practice regrouping (roll a dice and you pick up that many cubes. 10   cubes corresponds to a rod. 10 rods earns a flat-the winner is the first   student to make a flat)


First   group to play the game was Group B


I   worked with Zara, Dominique, and Andrew (at first, this group did not   understand the relationship between the cubes and the rods. When Andrew   rolled a 4 on his first turn, he picked up 4 rods)


Group   A really understood the game (I circulated quickly among them-since no one   needed much help, I took this opportunity to spend time with each student)


Diego   and June were having a difficult time working together


Mariah   began crying before the game when she was getting her materials

I   did not see what caused this (if anything) but since she seemed to calm down   as soon as I acknowledged that she was upset, I expect that her behavior   could have been to receive attention.

Mariah   told me she did not remember how to play the game. I asked if her partner,   Luke, did and he said yes. I asked him to remind Mariah how to play.

At   the beginning of last semester, Mrs. Dolly told me that Mariah is probably   one of the smartest students in the class, but she often pretends she does   not understand to get attention. She told me that I should not humor Mariah   because this encourages the behavior. Rather I should ask her to get help   from other students or suggest she try to remember on her own.

After   math, my cooperating teacher briefly mentioned to me that I may notice a   difference in the behavior of several of the students. Apparently, after   winter break in second grade, many students begin to act more mature and   appropriately since they have a more firm grasp on the classroom rules and   procedures.


While   the students were cleaning up after math, Mrs. Dolly made a quick comment   about how Mariah will be leaving the class

From   my experience last semester, I know that she often misbehaves and is a huge   distraction to the rest of the class. She often pretends to cry if she is not   the center of attention or if she does not get what she wants. Mrs. Dolly did   not have a chance to go into detail about this. Did she get kicked out of the   class? Is her family moving?

The   next class was reading. Mrs. Dolly mentions that more of the class needs to   turn in reading logs if they want to do well in the competition (between   second grade classes?)


Apparently,   one class has been consistently doing well in the competition. Mrs. Dolly   asked her class, “Do you think it’s because they’re smarter?”, “Yes” the   class replied.

Do   they actually think this or is this just an excuse for not reading as much?   If this is what they think, why?

Today,   the class was continuing a reading test from last week


The   two ELL students, George and John, were not required to take the test so I   read with them for about an hour.


I   chose the first two books that we read and allowed them each to pick one   after that.

While   I read with them, I tried to be very conscious of the speed at which I was   reading and speaking. I also wanted the activity to be more of a dialogue so   I tried to ask them questions about the pictures and if they knew what   certain words meant. If they wanted to interject with a personal story, I let   them do this so that they had the opportunity to practice their English in a   more informal way.

After   reading with the two boys, I spoke with Mrs. Dolly about the reading tests.   She told me that it takes about 5-7 years for students who are learning a new   language to be able to learn effectively in that language.

That   is so much time. This really made me think about how much the teacher is   really able to do for each student and how much is somewhat outside of the   teacher’s control.