Field Notes

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Field Notes – Week 7

More than a week away and the students are really excited about Winter Break – making them somewhat distracted at doing work.            - I wonder if there is a way to involve holiday festivities in student assignments/work? Maybe if the break was acknowledge in class rather than ignored it might make the students more excited about some of their work?

Students are working more on grammar – reading from packets together as a class  - These workbook packets always kind of bother me. I realize that they are necessary but I wonder if maybe they could just be graded to see how the students are doing rather than have them as the driving activity because students ere clearly bored going through this and didn’t seem to really be learning so much as just reciting things. 

Only the same student keeps raising his hand to answer. Mrs. Smith keeps calling on him asking, “how come no one else is awake today?” - I think this also speaks to the set up of the packet and the student’s interest. I talked with the student who was really excited to answer later in the class and he said that he wanted to impress Mrs. Smith. He didn’t talk about his love or enjoyment of the class material.

Tom, a student, is sitting off by himself at a set of desks all alone. Wonder desks are assigned or if he chose that.             - I asked Mrs. Smith about seat assignments and she said that she gives him the option of moving to desks with his peers and he doesn’t always take it. Tom is more quiet and doesn’t seem to like talking with others or participating as much. Should teachers force these students to speak up? How could she give him another venue in which to “speak up”? A journal?

Next class – also working on grammar – the students in this class seem more excited about answering and participating -       The students were just crazy and bouncing off the walls. The energy was very different. How can this energy be created in all classes?

Getting a lot of the questions wrong, Mrs. Smith says “you guys need to work harder on your homework” -  Maybe this would indicate that students need help with this material inside the classroom rather than just working on these packets at home? And I feel like even if they were getting answers wrong Mrs. Smith should have thanked them for their enthusiasm and willingness to participate especially given the previous class. Maybe if they felt like it was okay to be wrong sometimes they would still participate as much? I just worry that saying work harder you are wrong to them will decrease their excitement for learning.

Class ends with silent reading, they are no really reading but talking to each other. I think this has something to do with it being the last class of the day. -       Maybe class could have ended with something like a game to match their enthusiasm level? I know they need time to silent read but I wonder if there should be variety so it is not silent reading every?

 

What?

Tom, the student I mentioned before, raised his hand during part of the grammar lesson to tell a story. It was that relevant but he was talking and the class was listening. The teacher didn’t cut him off and he didn’t add anything constructive to the class but he was trying to engage.

So What?

I wonder how this form of engaging can be shaped to fit the classroom content? How can someone who is quite, shy, and doesn’t seem to want to participate be appreciated for their contributions and encouraged to participate in constructive manners?

Now What?

How can we explore other forms of participation and redefine what it means for a student to be engaged? I think that Tom’s story telling was demonstrating his desire to be heard and considered a part of the class. However, he struggled for a way to do this? I think this speaks to differentiated teaching. If the lesson plan had more diversity and ways of participating that were not orally, maybe he would feel more comfortable and feel as if he participated. That being said, I think coming up with various games or art projects are not challenging and time consuming for teachers compared to their daily routine that they have established.  Is there a way to set aside time or given more importance to the issues of differentiated learning styles and teaching?

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