March 6, 2015
This semester I am student teaching in P.S 321 located on 7th Avenue between 1st and 2nd Streets.This is a public school. It is one of the schools that our class was offered to go to. I got a little early to the school so I had some time to talk with the teacher and see the classroom before students arrived. I was introduced to the Kindergarten teacher in the main office where I was waiting for her. I am working with a main teacher as well as an assistant teacher. My first visit in the school was Family Friday.It occurs on the first Friday of the month. Parents, grand-parents or friends come and have some talk with teacher about their children or see what their children do during the day. Kindergarten-222 has its new unique ways of learning that I have never met before in my other fields.
There are twenty-six children in the classroom. There are thirteen girls and thirteen boys. The ages of children range between five and six. I think some of the children have already turned six. As I observed in the morning, even when their parents were with them children seemed to adjust to their routines very well. I noticed how children would show their parents their work or even where to put their stuff. Children were so well adjusted that some did not want to ask help from an adult. They would go straight and take off their boots, coats and leave their book-bag outside in the basket. I noticed that room was full with children's work and centers that they would not have space inside for their bags. And every morning they would change their shoes to keep the classroom clean. Many children have their own control as you can see. There are many children who speak other language than English, but all of them were comfortable with English as well. Another thing which I noticed there is one child who has problem doing his work on time, sometimes assistant teacher would time him and make sure to give him his own space to calm down. Every morning main teacher would remind children about their job during the day. They keep the classroom clean,they are responsible to feed the turtle, they would order books and even control the desks, like cleaning after snack or choice time and putting materials for the next activity.
There are two teachers in the classroom, three including myself. The main teacher who is the Kindergarten teacher and assistant teacher, who would come in third period of class between ten o'clock in the morning. When he comes he helps setting things up for her as well helping children since she is the only other teacher. Most of the time he works with one student who has hard time catching up.
The main teacher introduced me to the class when parents left and their art teacher left. We all gathered on their greeting circle. She said that "they got a new friend who would visit them twice a week".She told the class my name, what I was doing there and when I would come. We continued on the rug where she introduced me to their daily greeting activity where each child would get a stick and say their name, what they did or going to do later or just say pass. I also got a chance to talk and introduce myself to the class personally. We did not discuss about my role in the classroom with main teacher. However, I adjusted so fast and helped her with children, I even read with children, and I helped them in the centers which I loved so much. I walked around and guided children while they were in the centers while main teacher was testing each child outside of the classroom in the hall-way. For some time I was the only adult with students in the classroom I felt how responsible teachers really are, because her assistant was working with two different teachers and during that time he was with other teacher.
My thoughts on the classroom for twenty-six students was that it is really spacious to work and learn for them, but only if they had a shelf for their own bags it would be really perfect. The classroom had all the centers, which were dramatic play, math, reading and writing, art area and they even had their aquarium. Everything was organized and neat so that children could use them during their center time.
The interesting thing that I found out about the room is that every small thing, even the big things are organized in a way that children can reach and put back by themselves. What is interesting about the class is that each child has their own mail-box in the hallway where main teacher puts their work or papers which they have to take or give to parents. The children's reading and writing center has all the materials such as pencils, pen and paper where children can reach to the shelf and get materials by themselves. The books are everywhere in the classroom, with many different authors. During reading time children sometimes read together or sit together to discuss the book they chose. Also they have two block areas. In one of the areas only small block are located while in the other area huge one.
In the classroom all the materials which children need are available for them to use. But children only use the materials when they are told to like in the center time main teacher or her assistant would put things on the desk where children can use them. When children have choice time, they are allowed to go to the center where they want to be.Activities are mostly selected by the children and they cooperate there in a friendly way with each other.
The weekly schedule of Kindergarten-222 is different but every morning is same. Every day K-222 starts their day by 'Do Now', then greeting circle where each child has time to tell what they did or is going to do. On Mondays they have math. After math we will have center time. After center time we will have science, than handwriting which is outdoor play. Then we will have lunch. After we will have math. While on Fridays after greeting circle we will have art,then snack time. After that we will have writing workshop, then center time. Then we will have lunch. After lunch we will have math and closing circle at the end of week. The schedule of K-222 followed very well because as I can see, children are adjusted to their routines and main teacher does not have trouble rushing or getting to the next subject.
My first impression of the school, my class and students are really wonderful. I learned new things and new techniques from a different teacher. I was able to feel myself as a teacher. I was able to see how she runs her classroom, and learn from her. I was really worried going into the new place where I have never been, to learn and work with children. But this first experience helped me to understand how important it is for me and how responsible a teacher should be. I really hope to learn a lot of new ways from main teacher and carry on through out my life to teach children.