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Field Notes Visit 7

rbp13's picture



Monday, 1-3:30 p.m. (March 4, 2013)


When I arrived, the class was working on skip-counting by ones, fives, and tens. Mrs. D explained to the class that this is a helpful skill to count money and tell time.

I like that Mrs. D explains how skills are relevant beyond the classroom.

After Mrs. D teaches the whole class lesson, the students are given a worksheet to practice skip-counting. To accommodate differences in ability, Mrs. D gave the kids the option to count by fives or tens.


Mrs. D gives step-by-step directions for how she wants the students to do the worksheet. The first thing that she tells them to do is just write “fives” or “tens” in the space at the top (so she will know what they were intending to do when she checks them later)


After giving instructions to the whole class, Mrs. D goes around the room and individually repeats directions to G, W, and J (these are three of the kids that are often in my group because they are behind in math-G an J are the two ELL students). Mrs. D also goes to K and Z if only to tell them “good job” and “keep going”.

Mrs. D does not ignore the students that don’t need help. Since she is so strict and has such high expectations, I like that she gives positive reinforcement as well. I think it is common in classrooms, especially when there is a large range of abilities, for students who are doing well to receive less attention. Mrs. D seems very conscious of this and is careful to give all of her students equal attention.

Mrs. D explained “skip-counting” using the number line. (e.g. counting by 3s-“You skip two numbers and say the third one. Skip, skip, three, skip, skip, six, skip, skip, nine”. Mrs. D then explained why skip-counting is easier than counting by 1s-“We’re going faster, aren’t we? Less numbers we’re saying.” Mrs. D demonstrated this with all the numbers (1s, 2s, 3s, 5s, 10s) and showed the kids that counting got faster every time they skip-counted by a larger number.  

This was a really fun demonstration to watch because the kids got more and more excited each time they were able to go faster. At first I thought that this activity was too repetitive, but as the students skip-counted by larger numbers and were able to go faster, they got louder and seemed more excited. To me, this indicated that they were engaged in the lesson. It was probably also helpful that Mrs. D explained the concept several times using different numbers, because it gave the kids the opportunity to see a pattern.

Mrs. D got frustrated while the students were doing the worksheet because they weren’t following directions and putting their pencils down when she was trying to explain things to them.


“If I’m counting by 10s, I’m counting every tenth number so I’m skipping…” (nine)


When Mrs. D was showing the class that counting by 20s is even faster, K comments “It’s like 2s”


The class was supposed to do the bottom of the worksheet with a partner sitting next to them:

40___ ___ ___44___ ___47


Mrs. D asked the class if they knew why there were numbers in some of the spaces. “They act as a checkpoint to see if our answers are correct”


After the worksheet, the class played the “5 and 10 counting game”. Each student had a spinner with two fives and two tens on it. The kids were supposed to spin for a starting number, then spin again and count from the starting number two times. The first player to get to 100 (or past 100) wins.


During this game, Mrs. D and I walked around the classroom and helped any groups that needed it. First I worked with the groups that I could see were visibly struggling with the instructions but then I wanted to spend time with some students that I never work with because they rarely need help.

During this game, a few of the groups have a really hard time working together. J and G, for example can’t seem to figure out whose turn it is and G keeps saying that J is “cheating”. This was heard in several groups throughout the room.

During a short break between math and reading, I talked to Mrs. D about J, R, Jo, and W and their behavior in school. She said that R and W’s home life influences the way that they act in school. R is the youngest child and her next closest sibling is 19. W’s mother is not very attentive and Mrs. D thinks that J has undiagnosed ADHD.

I like that Mrs. D is aware of her students’ home lives.

When it is time to move onto reading, the students have trouble transitioning (noisy when they are getting their books out and some students aren’t following directions). Mrs. D tells them “I’m not going to treat you like new second graders when you’re getting ready for third grade”.


Mrs. D tells them to put their books on their desks but then changes her mind-“I’m sorry put your books back in your desks because I don’t want you to be distracted.”

I like that Mrs. D treats the students like adults and is willing to change her mind/admit when she makes mistakes. This makes her seem more human, which is something that is important to me.

First, Mrs. D introduces the phonics spelling words for the week. They are doing “oi” and “oy” words. Mrs. D encourages the class to actively participate whenever they can-“Say that! ‘Oi!’”


Earlier that day, a visitor to the class had brought Maasai bracelets from Kenya. Mrs. D keeps taking them away because the students are getting distracted.


“loyal” is the challenge word for this week. Mrs. D explains what loyal means and uses it in a sentence-“To be a very good friend that always stays with you”. After Mrs. D says this, K asks, “What does loyal mean?”


“oy” words-boy, joy, loyal, enjoy

“oi” words-coin, join, point, boil, soil, noise, voice


T has trouble sitting still. She’s focused (eye contact, participates) but she doesn’t sit up and moves around a lot.

Is she bored? She is clearly one of the smartest students in the class (constantly asking and answering questions).

When Mrs. D introduces “enjoy”, she compares it to the sounds in “pen” and “hen”. She says that the “en family” is a large family, meaning that there are lots of words that have that sound in them.


Next the class starts the new story in their Storytown book. It’s called “Ah, Music”. This is informational text (non-fiction). This story is organized differently than other stories that they have studied (i.e. information is presented in graphic organizers and charts). Mrs. D says that she likes this because it is different and colorful.


Mrs. D showed the class how to make music by clapping patterns. She then has the boys and the girls clap different things.

Mrs. D is very good at getting kids involved in all activities.

One of the charts on the page was titled, “Music is Sound” and another was titled “Music is Rhythm”. Mrs. D asks how music can be both sound and rhythm.-“This is an open question, there can be more than one answer”.


Mrs. D explains that sometimes “A person who can’t hear can feel the vibration of the beat”. There is a little girl in the class, Di, who has a hearing aid so Mrs. D asks for her perspective. Diana said she can feel the music on the floor.

At first, I was worried that Mrs. D was putting Di on the spot since she is a quiet girl. However, it seemed that Di actually liked being asked about her experiences. This was a good example to me of a teacher knowing her students. I’m sure that Mrs. D would never have singled Di out if she didn’t think she could handle it.

Because the introduction to the new story took longer than Mrs. D expected, the lesson was abbreviated. I was working with the lowest group who was reading “Hannah’s Dance”. We only had time for me to read the story with them and briefly discuss the setting.


W was really good with me today. She was reading along with the group and didn’t talk back to me or distract the other students at all.


As the class is cleaning up, Raven tells Mrs. D that she has to go to the bathroom. Mrs. D has a rule that students can go once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Mrs. D said “You’re sitting like it’s a big emergency, but this is the second time you’re going this afternoon.”