Edc 20 Section 09
28 May 2013
Observation of a Classroom
It was a very chilly Friday afternoon. The neighborhood was Sunset Park in Brooklyn, New York. One of the many Public Schools in this neighborhood is public school 1-also known as The Bergen School. The school serves about 1,100 children in grades pre-k through 5.
The classroom was large enough to have various bookshelves, five sitting tables and a meeting area with a rug. On the wall to the right, there is was the schedule posted for the day, a word wall with the current sight words. There is a smart board, and a calendar. On the next wall there is a bulletin board with a dry erase board for the daily chores. The third wall had a very large poster board with speech bubbles containing information for math. On the fourth wall are two closets, a sink. On the closet doors are the children’s self-portraits. There is also a checklist for a good creative writing assignment. At the very top going around the whole room, is a number line ending with the number 200.
There are two teacher desks but only one teacher was in the room at the time. The other teacher is an assistant. There are eleven boys and nineteen girls in this classroom. Most of the children are of Latino origin but the races are diverse.
The children had just come out of their reading clubs and were writing their reading responses. While they are focused on the task at hand, they have minimal conversations with their peers. They actually spoke to the other children at their assigned tables about the story they just read. One student lifts his pointer finger to the teacher and she nods her head “yes”. The boy steps out of the classroom. The teacher is on one side of the room reading with one of her students. The child is attempting to sound out a word with her.
The class finishes their assignments and regroups on the meeting area. The teacher discusses the next assignment. The subject is math and the topic is place value in numbers-ones, tens, hundreds. There are sticks of small pieced Legos or single pieces to use for numbers. The child is to use the quantity to make a number on the sheet of paper provided. The children work in groups of three, making the room louder than earlier. The teacher walks around to each table and offers her help. Most students disregarded it. She made sure her students were focused and learning-not just doing the assignment to get it done.
The classroom was quiet and warm. The teacher was very polite and respectful with the children. The children seemed to be having fun while they were working. They were extremely focused on their work and didn’t lack interest. The children seemed to have no issues in requesting the teachers or each other’s help. Conversation flowed through the classroom just as easy as wind in the air.
As I watched the children, I realized that they were doing things I didn’t remember doing until the end of second grade. Still, they knew what they were doing. There were very few children who needed assistance from the teacher.
Although being there for one hour or so is not enough to understand each child and his or her needs, I did notice that no child was bored or lacking focus. The students were not only reading, they were asked questions for comprehension. The math is something a lot of children may struggle with but there were only two or three students requesting help from their teacher. It seemed that everyone was able to complete the task. In the article D.A.P. in the Age of Testing, I read “The brain is eager to learn at this age, but the kids are more eager to learn from things they can touch and feel.”-Joan Almon, executive director of the Alliance for Childhood. These children were using toy Legos to build numbers and understand place value. If a child is just told where the number has to be placed, he/she will not be able to tell the difference afterwards when working alone. Children need that assurance that what they are learning can be converted into something more physical. “Developing an enthusiasm for learning is especially important in the primary grades.” These children need to be engaged and this teacher made sure her children were having fun and learning at the same time.
It would be wrong to say that the teacher’s current curriculum is not developmentally appropriate. She knew who would have trouble with it and she worked with them. She knew which students would be fine without her help, yet offered it anyway. The reading clubs of children in her classroom are grouped by reading level, so they knew which book to choose. The club is not completely individualized, but it’s close to it. As for the math segment of the day, like I said before, they were not disengaged.
The set-up of the furniture in the room did not really give me a sense of freedom. The tables seemed too close to one another, making the classroom feel a little crowded. The curriculum seemed a little hard at first but the children knew how to handle it. They already knew part of the material and adapted quickly to the rest. The teacher was very kind-hearted and I wouldn’t change anything that I saw that day. She has a great attention getting voice but is also calm and responsive to the students. Her teaching methods made the students comfortable in learning.
I have always loved the idea of another person learning something from me. It makes me want to be the perfect role model. A lot of teachers have impacted me as a student and I want to have the impact on another student. Watching a professional teacher at work just makes me want to teach even more.