Elementary School Observations
Mr. Carr ( P.E. K-3rd )
I chose to observe a P.E. class, because I enjoy being in the gym. Perhaps someday I will further my education to become a P.E. teacher. Also, I hope to get a coaching job in a school that I work at. Mr. Carr was very prepared for each class, it was very obvious the children enjoyed their time in the class. Mr. Carr was wrapping up a bowling unit on my first day of observation, the students were taught how to keep score ( using their math skills ), how to set up the pins, and properly use the ball. On the last day of the unit the students played Wacky Bowling, he had the pins, and balls set up for each class. The students all joined in the middle of the gym awaiting instruction, Mr. Carr had the directions for the game next to each station. The directions were 10 crazy frames of bowling, the students were required to read and follow directions given, it also required the students to work as team mates to complete all of the frames. Mr. Carr uses a microphone in the gym for all students to hear when it is loud, and it did get loud. After, each group was sent to their stations, Mr. Carr cranked up the tunes, and the children eagerly went to work. Dancing, bowling, laughing, and working together to complete their 10 frames. Two days later, I was back in Mr. Carr's P.E. class. The next unit the students were starting was Square dancing ( even I learned ), with little kids he started with 5 different moves. Each dance move had a name that was repeated, and a demonstration. Next, the music was on and so were the students. Mr. Carr would call out each dance move, and the students were required to do the move until new directions were given. Some of the dance moves required a partner, he was very clear that you choose the person closest to you, not always your best friend. I thought this was a great way of showing kids that any partner is a good partner. I loved this class room, it is a class where the kids can burn off some energy, yet even with all the fun there are still learning tools used in each days activities.
Mrs. Helmke ( 2nd grade ) and assigned Para
Mrs. Helmke's class was a busy classroom, she had her hands full, even with a Para. in the classroom. Mrs. Helmke had 5 children above average, 5 below average, and the 15 left were in the average. Groups were arranged for reading, first the students did a work book assignment together, on the smart board using thinkcentral.com. Also, used in the classroom was Lexia Reading Core 5. When splitting into groups, the IPads were used for Spelling, the students played games on Spelling City, they used laptops for their AR tests ( all the students were able to log on themselves, and the teacher was able to manage their understanding of each story on the spot ), in group three they were required to read the book that went along with the lesson, and the fourth group did 1 page in their workbook on their own. I liked that she had so many options for learning in each group, but I found a few things that I would do different in my classroom. The special needs students were singled out, desks turned to the wall, teacher ignoring questions, at one point the teacher left the room, and the Para. was in charge. Mrs. Helmke also, took two troubled students that were clearly frustrated to the hall, leaving the class unattended. I walked around, and answered questions for the students. I felt like her patience with the special needs children was worn thin, which is a bummer. I understand that it does take more time for special needs children, and time management is important in the classroom, but I don't feel they should be singled out, I would be a very upset parent if that had been my child. Mrs. Helmke did seem to be overwhelmed, and hurried through the lessons, she did walk around the classroom for a couple rounds, and then disappeared to the hall to deal with the children with special needs. I think better time management would be a suggestion for her class.
Mrs. Mason ( 3rd grade )
I loved Mrs. Mason's class, it was a bright, happy, decorative classroom. Mrs. Mason used the Smart Board for her math lesson, all of the children were on task with the work at hand. Mrs. Mason was teaching multiplication, she was using different strategies on breaking down bigger numbers to come up with the same answer. She praised the students for using excellent math vocabulary words. They did one page of math together, and then one page on their own. Mrs. Mason made sure the children all understood the assignment before sending them on their own, she walked the classroom checking each student, and double checking her special needs children. Before they started on their own, she explained first we work and then we play, the students faces lit up, and then they got busy. Mrs. Mason used a sticky note point monitor, if the students were on task she would tell them give yourself a point, if they were off task they had to give her a point, at the end of the day if the student had more points than the teacher they received a punch on their card, which later after being filled was a pick from her Treasure Chest. I really enjoyed her teaching styles, and so did the children. Mrs. Mason had a boy leave the classroom without her knowledge, when he returned she took him aside and let him know how it scared her that he had not asked to leave, she asked the student what is my job? The student replied to keep me safe while I'm at school, she told him he was right, and she was very scared, asked him to not do it again and give her 2 points on his sticky note. I thought that it was very refreshing to know that the teacher has explained her job in the classroom, and the students jobs also. Everyone stayed on task, and I could tell that they enjoyed her classroom, as did I.
Mrs. Morris ( 3rd grade )
Mrs. Morris's classroom was not very busy on the walls, but informative. She used many great tools for attention control, in a nice kind manner. Again, in this classroom the Smart Board was used for a reading assignment, and the making of a paragraph, using discoveryeducation.com. This particular class reads to kindergarten classes, the 3rd grade students were rehearsing a Valentine's Day play, where everyone had a part. Mrs. Morris had her class on point, when the students made a good decision, she simply asked them to kiss their brain. That was their reward, knowing that the brain upstairs was leading them to make good decisions. The students payed very close attention to Mrs. Morris, her techniques were for sure paying off.
Mrs. Yohe ( 4th grade )
Mrs. Yohe had a bright, fun, educational room. The students respected her very much, hand raising, ears open, mouths shut, and eyes on her. In Mrs. Yohe's class they did a math lesson using a restaurant menu, she gave each group of three $25.00 to spend on their lunch. They had to decide whether to divide the money equally, or add up each person's bill and decide if there was enough money to pay. I really liked this assignment, it added real life situation to math. Also, with the lesson she added the definition of Economics, Oppurtunity Cost, Human Resources, and Capitol Resources. This was a great oppurtunity for the students to relate each definition with a business. On one of her walls she had a huge weekly calendar, with weekly assignments that were due. This was a great daily reminder, with a little bit of self dependency. After the students had followed the directions with greatness, Mrs. Yohe gave them a brain break, using gonoodle.com. Mrs. Yohe ran a very tight ship, but she was respected by her students and I believe they were learning very well with her methods.
Mrs. Simpson ( 5th grade )
Mrs. Simpson had a very organized learning atmosphere, she had a large weekly homework schedule on the wall. In this class the students were doing a math lesson together on the Smart Board, they called this "Working together, learning together". After group work, homework assignments were given and explained. Mrs. Simpson had students with missing assignments, the students were given the opportunity to finish, find, or re-do the missing assignment, even with help. Mrs. Simpson was very quick to respond to students with questions, and when she was working with a student, the class remained on task. Mrs. Simpson was enjoyable to observe, her students enjoyed her,and she was more than fair with their success in her classroom.