OBSERVATION OF A CLASSROOM
Reflective Essay on Classroom Observation #1
The observation took place in a 3rd grade classroom. The purpose of the observation was to assess the climate of the class. The teacher asked for input regarding the arrangement of seating, flow of the class, and her interaction with the students. It appeared that there was some difficulty with a particular group of students and their interaction with classmates and the teacher. The students were seated in desks that had been prearranged in groups of four. The desks in a group all faced each other and the students were encouraged to work together cooperatively with their group mates. Socialization amongst the students at times became very loud. When this occurred, the teacher would walk near the group and ask them to lower their voices. The teacher’s desk was located at the front of the room but she worked from a table located at the back. In order to see the teacher, the students had to turn in their seats as neither position offered a direct view of her (the teacher) in the classroom. Throughout the instructional period, the teacher called students back to the table to review a reading activity from the previous day. The activity the students were working on at the time of the observation was not a continuation of this activity. Additionally, at least two of the groups appeared to be engaged in conversation. The conversations were very animated and the students did not complete their assigned work. Requests by the teacher to get busy and finish their work were momentarily effective but short lived as they quickly began talking again.
It appeared that the way in which the students’ desks were grouped and positioned along with the positioning of the teacher’s work station, contributed to a high level of social interaction and distraction from their assigned work. The two groups that had the most difficulty staying on task could also have included the students who were the most academically challenged by their assignments. It would be interesting to find out if there was true.
Reflective Essay on Classroom Observation #2
The observation took place in a regular education Kindergarten classroom. The observed student is a very bright, articulate young man who functions well above his classmates in all academic areas. He is able to read, write and perform simple mathematical calculations. Socially he is very much like his age mates and is learning how to share, take turns, and be kind to others. One area of concern is that because he is so verbally precocious, he tends to monopolize conversations in the class, blurt out answers, and make unkind comments when others make mistakes. The challenge faced by the teacher is in convincing his parents that despite his advanced academic skills, he still has a lot to learn in Kindergarten. The parents want him moved to a first or possibly second grade classroom. They are really pushing for the second grade placement since they feel that it would be more challenging than the first grade.
The class was made up of 15 students, nine boys and six girls. The observed student was one of the smallest. When the observation began, he was one of a group of five students working at a table with their teacher on an activity that involved cutting and pasting letters of the alphabet. The student was having a difficult time with the mechanics of cutting his letters out. He switched the scissors from on hand to the other and became more and more frustrated as he watched his classmates who appeared to have less difficulty. As he became increasingly more frustrated, his level of extraneous conversation rose parallel to his frustration. Finally without warning, he got up from his seat and went over to the rug area to play with blocks. The teacher commented that he would have to finish his work later in the day. Once on the rug, the student spread his blocks without regard for others who were already on the rug. He talked loudly to classmates about what he was about to do and made comments regarding their creations. He was repeatedly told to be quiet or he would have to return to complete his work at the table. His conversation to classmates seemed to be a genuine attempt to engage others in conversation however, no one responded other than to tell him to be quiet as no talking is allowed on the rug area. When ignored by classmates, the young man went on to play by himself but seemed to really want the interaction of peers.
Although very bright in some academic areas, this young man fit in well with his peers socially. His obvious challenges with minor motor tasks suggested that he was doing developmentally appropriate work in Kindergarten. He did however seem board with the actual task of matching letters to pictures but was not 100% accurate in his work either. He tended to rush and made many errors for this reason.
Reflective Essay on Classroom Observation #3
The observation took place in a self-contained special education classroom for students with severe and profound mental retardation. There are five students in the classroom with a teacher and one aide. The observed student is new to the school, having transferred here from out of state. The student is approximately 11yrs old and is unable to sit unsupported, walk, talk or care for herself. Her diet consists of pureed foods that are fed to her by the teacher and teacher’s aide. Two of the goals of her IEP are to encourage self feeding and drinking from a Sippy cup however, before these goals can be reached, the student must first be taught to grasp and hold objects. Physical therapy in the form of muscle exercises are given to the student by the physical therapist. This session lasts for approximately 10 minutes. The teacher is then instructed in how to do the exercises with the student. The student is now left to rest on a bean bag chair. She seems content and falls asleep.
The goals of this student are focused on helping her to be as independent as possible. Feeding herself and being able to indicate when she is hungry are very important goals that are being addressed.