Field Notes 03/05/13
Morning meeting started a little different than usual in class today. I was sitting at the back of the class sorting through student’s reading tests and putting them in piles for each student while teacher B started morning meeting. Usually, Teacher B starts morning meeting by having the students go in a circle and greet each other. Today, however, Teacher B starts by saying “you know, im a little disappointed with you guys right now” and began talking to the students about how they had laughed at a student. Teacher B spoke to the students about had come to her even before the event occurred and had indicated that they were a little insecure that day. Teacher B indicated that while this student may have laughed along with them, it didn’t mean that they weren’t hurting on the inside. At this point, it was unclear to me which student she was specifically talking about since I was facing away from the circle. During class I noticed that one of the students seemed less animated than usual. They were frowning and staring at the desk for the first two periods and were avoiding talking to their peers. It wasn’t until a conversation with Teacher A later that I realized that the student that felt insecure and the student I noticed looked upset were the same person.
Field Notes 2/26/2013
Today is the “Book Publishing Party” that Teacher A has been talking about for the past couple weeks. This book publishing party is the culmination of their research project that they have been working on for the entire time that I have been here. Teacher A announces that the book publishing party will be happening at the beginning of class, but before the class gets to celebrate, they have to spend first period doing standardized test prep.
During the test prep period, Teacher A has me work with two students who have worked with before, but separately. While this is a 6th grade class, these students are doing the test prep for the 4rth grade level. Teacher A has written a note for me indicating which sections in the packet the students should have complete and asks me to go over the answers to the multiple choice questions for these sections. Teacher A does not have an answer key for the tests and so she gives me a few minutes to read through the sections, the questions, and attempt to answer the questions. While many of the questions were pretty straight forward, there were a few that I felt like were open to interpretation.
What Happened? The 6th grade class that I am placed in started a unit preparing them for the state standardized test today. Between periods, the main classroom teacher and the special ed teacher discussed at length the scores, progress, and IEPs in relation to the upcoming test. During this conversation they discussed methods of preparation to use depending on each individual students' needs. While the class will be taking the 6th grade level tests, the teachers decided to give some students in the class the preparation booklet for the 5th grade level test. These were students who the teachers indicated were struggling in class and were not on grade level based on pre-tests that they had administered recently. The next period, the teachers had me work through a a test-prep packet with a group of two students who were going to be given the 5th grade level packet (although the in-class assignment was at the 6th grade level). At the end of the assignment, the main classroom teacher handed out the packets and when John, one of the two students I was working with, recieved the packet clearly marked "5th Grade" he turned to the teacher and said "no offense, but ive already done this one before" to which the teacher responded "I guess then no offense, but you're going to get to read it again."
Field Notes #3
Field Notes #2
February 5, 2013
Last week at the end of my praxis visit, the main classroom teacher and I decided to implement a system of notes to guide my visits to her classroom. This is mainly because she has a meeting for 20 minutes when the students first arrive so there is another teacher in the classroom directing morning meeting. So, when I walked into the classroom today, there was a box labeled “Teacher Ellen” that had several sticky notes inside of it.
The first sticky gave me instructions for the beginning of the day: “please take down the New Years posters on the bulletin board at the back of the classroom and put up the new posters in the box.” The classroom has several bulletin boards, each of which consistently display student work. However, not all student work can be displayed on the board because this teacher teaches the entire 6th grade language arts/social studies classes. Sometimes, the work that is displayed on the boards is chosen randomly (as evidenced by the system I used last week to hang up posters in the hallways, basically put them up until there is no more space). However, sometimes, the student work chosen for display is based on the grade that the students received. Today, that is the case with the student work that I was asked to put up. All of the work in the pile to hang up had a received a grade of A+, A, or A-.
These notes are from my first day of praxis this semester that took place this morning. This semester I am placed in a 6th grade langauge arts classroom at Spring Charter School.* This is the same classroom that I was placed in last semester for another education course, so half of the students that I worked with today were the same as the students that I worked with last semester.
I was in classroom from 8AM-1PMand during this time the class engaged in morning meeting, a period of reading, a period of writing, and then the other class came in and repeated the reading period before I left.
There were three different teachers that filtered in and out of the classoom. One of these teachers was the main 6th grade language arts teacher. This teacher is responsible for teaching language arts to 5th and 6th graders, using a looping system where they start with the students in 5th grade and then move up with them to 6th grade.