Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cincinnatus Elementary School Day 2 Classroom Observation

For my second day at Cincinnatus Elementary I was able to observe a classroom lesson of the 3rd grade. The environment and atmosphere of a classroom is so much different than that of a gymnasium for phys ed. The classroom I observed was very decorate, there were definitely no naked walls in this room. Almost every possible inch of wall was filled with some sort of educational information. Some of the items that were on the wall were the alphabet (lower case and capital letters), the months of the year, nouns, verbs, sentence structure and the birthdays of all the students. The walls were filled with colorful posters and the educational information was colorful as well. The overall classroom was pleasant to be in and seemed like it would be a good environment to learn in. This classroom differs from the gymnasium in many ways. First, the gymnasium is far larger than the classroom was. I was actually amazed at how much stuff was packed into the little space in the classroom. The were supplies spread through the class including books, scissors, pencils/pens, markers, etc. Another difference was that the students were sitting down for the entire class. If you were to look into almost any phys ed class at anytime the students will most likely be up and moving around. The students inside the classroom were sitting down and working at their desks the entire time. I understand that students need somewhere to do their work inside the classroom but the whole sitting at a desk for an extended period of time is not my style. I prefer to be active and moving around and engaging in games and activities that get your heart rate up. The atmosphere of the classroom was very quiet and peaceful and well organized. The teacher spoke in a quiet and respectful voice and the other students followed her lead. The focus of this lesson was subtraction. The teacher did one problem with the students and then had the students use playing cards to choose what numbers would be in their subtraction problems. The teacher had the students pick out 5 cards, the first 3 would be the first three numbers and the next to would be subtracted from the first three. The literacy level was addressed by having the students read an write consistently. Also, there were reminders of nouns, verbs and sentence structure on the walls of the classroom. Also, this teacher had the students learning some words in Spanish, like colors and the months of the year. The teacher said that learning another language strengthens the brain. The teacher engaged the students in the lesson by having one student lead calendar time. During calendar time the students would talk about what day of the week it is, different shapes, colors in Spanish and practice past skills and a questions about the focus of the lesson. The student that was leading calendar time would call on some of the students so all of the students had to be ready to answer every question. Each student had the chance to answer at least one question. The kids were well behaved for the most part during the class. The students were listening and did not talk while the teacher was talking. There were students organized into squads of desks (groups of 4) and there were no problems among squads. There were other students scattered throughout the room. One or two of these students were having difficulty with their focus and completing their work. I learned that you need to speak to the students in a calm and polite voice. Speaking in a rude manor will not influence the kids to act appropriately during class. Talking over the students is something that should be avoided when possible. Talking while students are talking gives the impression that it does not bother the teacher is the students talk at anytime. The best thing that I saw in the classroom that I would bring to my own teaching was the use of positive reinforcement. The teacher was very positive during the class and when the students did something the teacher told them well done or good job. One thing I learned was that organization is very important. Being prepared and having everything where it needs to be will help lead towards success.

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