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Field Notes Visit 4

rbp13's picture



Friday, 1-3:30 p.m.


When I arrived during math, the class was working on solving story problems


The problem the class was working on was a multiple choice story problem (this is the format that they will see on standardized tests)


3 steps to solving problems:

  1. What do I need to find? (look at the question)
  2. Find information that you need
  3. Solve-pick a strategy


These steps were written on the board and when Mrs. Dolly gave me a group of students to work with she said that this was the format that I should follow when framing questions


Important to remind students to underline important information in the problem

The students had a difficult time recognizing the significance of the information in the problem. I explained to them that because we were doing math, we were looking for numbers. When they were hesitant to answer, I couldn’t tell if they were shy or if they didn’t understand.

The words “take away” in a problem indicate that you need to minus/subtract


The students in my group were Wendy, Andrew, Carol, George, Joel, and John

I struggled to teach this lesson because I didn’t feel prepared. Although it is only second grade math, I was concerned about being wrong and felt that I was trying to figure out the problems as I explained them. Since I didn’t feel prepared, I didn’t feel like I was presenting the material effectively.

George, one of the ELL students, seemed to understand how to do the problems. Since he struggles with English however, he could not explain he thought process to the group.

I often can’t tell if George can’t explain his reasoning because he doesn’t actually understand or because he isn’t confident in his English skills.

Wendy was not sitting still and this was distracting to me and the other students.


After math, Mrs. Dolly had the class do a “Brain Waker Upper”. This is a game to get the class moving.  

I like the idea of doing an activity like this between subjects so that the students get a short break. This helps them to re-focus which is beneficial to both the students and the teacher. It also provides a short opportunity for some fun in the middle of the day.

After math, Mrs. Dolly gave the class a spelling test. Wendy got behind so Mrs. Dolly had me take her out in the hall and make sure that she had gotten all the words in the right order


Discussion about responsibility and being responsible for one’s own materials and belongings. Right now, the class is having trouble keeping track of pencils; many students don’t bring their own and there are usually not enough for students to borrow from the classroom bin. Apparently, at the beginning of the year, Mrs. Dolly gave each student a pencil and an eraser so that they would not have an excuse not to have one. She explained to the class, that it is it their job to come to class prepared; if they know that they do not have what they need for class, it is their job to tell their parents.

As I have mentioned in some of my other field notes, I like how Mrs. Dolly takes any opportunity to teach a lesson.

After the spelling test, the students worked on reading comprehension questions about a story that they had read the day before. Mrs. Dolly gave me a small group to work with (Wendy, Joel, John, and George).


Wendy was not focusing at all. She would not sit still, she put her head in her lap, and she said she was bored.

What do I do about this? I knew that the activity that we were doing was not particularly exciting-especially on a Friday afternoon-but I know it is important for teachers not to apologize for the work that they give. How do I acknowledge that Wendy’s feeling is valid, while emphasizing that she still has to listen and be respectful of the people sitting around her? What do I do when telling her to sit still several times is not sufficient?


Because I had a lot of trouble with Wendy today, one thing that I have been thinking about is how many times you can discipline a kid before you give up for the sake of the class. During reading especially, Wendy’s lack of focus was very distracting for me and detracted from the time that I spent teaching the group. Although I have always thought that I could come up with alternative ways to discipline a child that don’t take away from their time learning, I now realize how difficult and potentially impractical that could be.