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Field Notes, 2/6

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Nicole Johnson

Field Notes, 2/6/13

Morris Heights Elementary School, 2nd Grade, Ms. B


Social Studies

-       Do: “We will read about places and we will compare and contrast them”

-       Compare and contrast à compare, bring hands in together; contrast, spread them apart

-       Ven diagram

-       Social Studies book p. 90

-       Region

-       Teacher reads, students follow with fingers. Cardinal directions. “Never Eat Soggy Waffles”

-       Where is the equator on the earth? It’s a line that keeps South and North.

-       They cut?! “It’s not really cut but it looks like it splits the globe in half”

-       Venn diagram with Tropical Rain Forest and Mountain Region

-       T is sent to sit at another table because he was hitting his book. He is not allowed to talk or contribute. “Close your book, you’re done”

-       Cold calling

-       “I will not answer If you’re calling out”

-       V (student) pulls chair out for me to sit at. à so considerate. I was very taken aback that a student her age would know to do this.


-       “Ms. B, someones writing curse words in the bathroom”

-       Vocab, paint points, how to look at still life, fix drawing, cut felt, glue in layers. Making still life out of felt

-       Vocab: Europe, Dutch, still life, view, overlap, collage, layer

-       T has to give time at recess for being disruptive à assuming he’s a problem child? Is he actually being disruptive or is this preemptive/holding Thomas to greater scrutiny than the other students?

-       Ms. S comes and puts her arm around T and sits with him while teaching the class from the back of the room.

-       Hand gesture of putting hands on top of each other to help show what layering is.

-       “Costa Rica has mountains.” “Very good, where did you learn that?” “Watching The Bachelor with my Mom.”

-       V gets upset because he got a smiley taken away.

-       Expectation paint point, cleanup paint point, achievement paint point


-       What is a fiction story?

-       Ms. B provides the very beginning of a fiction story that she has written that they will then write the ending to.

-       What’s a good way to hold the sheet of paper.

-       Point to words in the story (“point to the word sparky, point to the word doghouse, etc.”)

-       What does it mean to be distraught?

-       What’s a yard? “area where the cops be at and you have cookouts” à Interesting. Very different from my conception of what a yard is.

-       Body check

-       Plot graphic organizer

  • Fill out main characters
  • Setting (where and when)

-       “You know what you have to do to get that next check for writing so make that choice.” à V is on a system where he has a chart taped to his spot at his table and in it there is a column for each subject during the day and then a place for Ms. B to put a check mark if he has been on good behavior and has done what he is expected to do. The goal is to get a check mark for each class. It’s unclear what the end reward is or if there even is an end reward. Incentive project. What does it mean to know what is “good” behavior and what is “bad” behavior? When do children learn that they are in control of their behavior?

-       Highlighting “where” and “when”

-       Flip to show response to the teacher

-       Cap your marker and put it in resting position

-       Brain match

-       Teaching about conflict in the story.

-       V saying “I need help” automatically and repeating that he’s dumb and that he can’t do it. à Is this a cry for attention? Does he really believe it? Where is he getting this notion and this language from? Possibly comes from the check mark incentive system. Ms. B does not indulge this. Is he hearing this at home? Does being “dumb” mean the same thing in his mind as it does for others? What are the connotations if this is the kind of slang insult that is potentially being thrown around amongst kids? It seems like he understands how to play the victimization card and enjoys it

-       Working with M individually (ELL student who just moved to the area from Philly and is at a slightly below Kindergarten reading level)


-       Brain match linked hands.

-       Regrouping when doing long subtraction

-       Multi-step problems

-       Instead of just ignoring misbehavior Ms. B explains how their behavior is wrong. “I’m not calling on you because you are calling out.” à this seems good so that students don’t think that it’s personally but instead can begin to understand cause and effect. It leaves room for modification and improvement so that students aren’t continuing to make mistakes without ever learning from them.


-       Mr. Putter and Tabby – short story from Storytown book

-       Following along to read aloud and smart board graphic organizer

-       “Enchanting” is highlighted because it is new vocabulary à understanding meaning via context.

-       When I clap twice, answer the question to the person next to you. Give me a thumbs up when you’re done. à learned classroom cues. How long do these take to develop from grade to grade? Are some of these practiced on the school-wide level so students understand these cues? Routines.


Looking forward

For next week I want to observe V more. His behavior seems to be typical to a “troublesome” student but I wonder if his behavior is because he is naturally a rambunctious child or if he feels like this role has been set up for him and now his job is to fill it. He seems like a very friendly kid and he has a seemingly good relationship with Ms. B and his other teachers but I wonder if being targeted sometimes has a negative effect on him. How do teachers combat this? As a teacher you can’t turn a blind eye to your students’ behavioral patterns and as a precautionary matter, it’s easy to form this habit of shutting down a “troublesome” child more quickly than you normally would as a precautionary matter. But are you then depriving them from the space necessary to improve or prove you wrong?