2nd Grade Observation Module
Step One: Preconference
Name of observer: Erica F
Name of teacher: Karen P
Date of planned observation: April 7, 2016
Adding 3 digit numbers with regrouping
Guess my number?
Using Manipulatives (selected who does and does not)
Watch Envision video for example
Small group practice Independent
After recess, kids are tired, not as engaging of a subject
Behaviors to be Observed:
On task behavior
Looking at board, staying with the lesson, using manipulatives properly and with cooperative manner
Nassim is off task 100% of the time without support
Kyle S gets bored, super bright
Step Two: Observation
Mrs. P Observation Narrative
Kids on floor with manipulatives during guided practice, building numbers to create sums of two 3 digit numbers with regrouping. P redirects a group that isn’t working, walks around with groups, uses a WBS (Scooby) during a transition where kids get chatty. P gives 8 sec warning with direction for behavior, points out kids who are successful with following directions, to go back to looking at guided practice. Gwen playing with blocks instead of paying attention, sitting in the back, but answers correctly when called upon. Gives 1:13 to get blocks in bag and on teacher chair, and dry erase board away. Several kids talking instead of going to carpet. P counts down and kids get in gear. Says will boys or girls get here first? Starts whispering and class noise immediately comes down. Gives instructions via smartboard for how to do independent practice. Shows students how to draw B10 blocks for first problem. Kanai playing with carpet. P described expectation: If your hand’s not in the air, you are looking at the board and thinking of the answer. Gives 10 sec warning and draws a random stick. Asks for questions. Waits for students to pay attention then answers questions. Gives expectation for Volume and voice level. Moves giraffe to table 2 for silent transition at table 2. Gwen and Grace argue and Gwen can’t find her book because she ignored instructions. Kids can’t remember which page so P writes it on the board. Some kids work on floor. Open invitation or only specific kids? Laney fiddling with journal page and pencil eraser instead of starting. Looks at P to see if she’s watching and then finally starts. Pretty much all kids are working right now. P walks around checking answers and on task behavior. Kanai goofing around at the front of the room and pretending like he’s singing, redirected by P. Laney decided she needs to sharpen a tiny pencil instead of trading out for a new sharper one. Spends time getting up to find pencil sharpener, ask a student for one, then sharpens it for a long time. Gets up to throw away shavings and return sharpener to student. Sara Jo starts trying to help her find an entirely new pencil to start sharpening from scratch. She goes to trashcan to sharpen and talks with Grace while she’s over there. P goes from table to table assisting as she sees corrections. Sara gets sent back to seat from floor for talking to Michaela. She still hasn’t started, P tells her it will be homework if she doesn’t get it done. Tess, Declan, Cody, Ali, Amman, Michael, Tristyn and Miles work diligently. Michaela and Brooklyn work well on the floor. Kanai spends a lot of time looking off into space, and bouncing pencil off the floor, but then he goes back to working. Sara fiddles with her journal, tries to draw with it by holding in the air supported by her arm instead of using desk space. She finally starts writing using the desk while standing up. Seems to get her a little more focused. Nassim gets distracted by Laney putting her feet up on the chairs in the opposite desk. Kanai gets up, then goes and sits back down. Acts like he is eating pencil and he and Grace pantomime back and forth while teacher’s back is turned. Grace notices my eyes and tells Kanai to stop. Kanai continues to try and talk to floor mates before finally focusing on a problem. Declan can’t wait for teacher so he runs over to her, hitting desk along the way. He works mostly standing up, moves a lot, but stays on task. Sara messes with the binding of her journal, running the pencil up and down the center. Starts another problem, but then starts pulling the wrapping off her pencil. Students work silently, overall on task with minor instances listed above. Cody finishes then immediately goes to computer to start his work. Sara again starts messing with her pencil, this time trying to cut the wrapper off with scissors. Laney stares into space. Kanai gets sent back to seat to focus. Still struggling in his seat. Sara now messing with her lead and talks to Tristyn instead of working. Students work silently, overall on task with minor instances listed above.
Step Three: Analysis and Planning
I also noted excellent behavior management and redirection strategies:
- Whole Brain Strategies like "Scooby Dooby Doo - (Students answer: Where are you?)"
- Unique time limits and inconsequential competition
- Specific behavioral expectations detailed by the teacher
- Teacher stays mobile throughout her lesson and constantly monitors students
- Positive recognition of students meeting expectation
- Using voice level as a behavioral cue
There were also instructional practices that were commendable:
- Use of manipulatives and hands on learning
- Movement by students around the classroom during transitions
- Guided practice, reteaching, and independent practice while monitoring and correcting
- Very clear directions and willingness to give further instructions without any frustration
- Extremely positive and patient with every student
Planning for the Postconference:
Mrs. P is considered an excellent teacher among the staff at our school. She has a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction in Reading, and clearly, from the observation, I can see that she has an excellent grasp on what needs to happen during the lesson. For that reason, I will choose a Collaborative Approach in her post conference. I plan on discussing what I observed, getting her input about the students that I observed being consistently off task, asking what she has found to be successful in working with those students and seeing if we can brainstorm any further ideas about how to keep each child engaged as much as possible.
Step Four: Postconference
I started the conference by thanking her for her participation in this process and detailing the many positive things that I witnessed during her lesson. I even listed several things that I had picked up for my own classroom that have helped me tremendously. This clearly put her at ease and let her know that I respected her abilities and was on her side.
We reviewed what had been discussed at the preconference and what I had been looking at during the observation. I let her know that I did not think she would be surprised or caught off guard by anything that I had to tell her about the observation and that I felt she was probably already aware of the issues that arose.
I then read her the open ended narrative that I had taken during the observation. She chuckled as I read her the narrative because she said she could actually picture in her mind each thing that happened and it was amusing to hear what had gone on from the eyes of the outsider. She was, as I suspected, very aware of issues with off task behavior from the students that stood out.
Her response about each particular child:
Sara Jo: Has found that she has supportive parents and usually involving them will bring an increase in positive behavior at least for a while. She feeds off of positive feedback and so P tries to look for positives to praise.
Kanai: Also has a supportive parent at home who helps and has a pull out teacher that really helps encourage and support him in trying to be on task. He struggles academically and when it's hard for him, he tends to play the class clown instead.
Gwen: Is very bright and easily bored, but wants to excel, so when she doesn't do well, it bothers her and she will try harder. She has developed a friendship with Tess, who is a great influence because not only is she a high achiever, she has very focused and on task behavior, so allowing them to be near each other has helped motivate Gwen to keep up with Tess.
Laney: About halfway through the year, Laney really declined in her academic performance, even failing a Math DBA. After investigation, it came out that her parents were getting divorced and she was experiencing a lot of emotional upheaval regarding her father - anger, separation, etc. They started having her see the school counselor and have seen improvement, but it still is affecting her performance in school and in her focus.
For all of the kids who struggle in this area, Mrs. P has personal conversations with the kids and asks them to reflect on why things are going the way they are and she asks the kids to help brainstorm ways to help improve.
Other overall comments from Mrs. P:
"I rarely involve admin in discipline decisions because I want the kids to know that I am in control of what happens in the classroom. It also takes away fear and reserves that intervention for very extreme behavior." Kanai, in particular, told her that at his last school, he was sent to the principal often, and she could see how easy it was for him to self-identify as a bad kid who acted up in class. That has changed and he no longer meets that expectation. He is a kid who tries.
"I have a Math Star award that I hand out every day. It almost seems silly to me, because it's just a recognition and a sticker that they get to put on their locker, but they love it and never let me forget or leave it out as part of our day."
"We've worked hard to increase their stamina throughout the year. At the beginning of the year, they really couldn't sit and learn for very long at all. I don't fight that or get upset, I just go with it and we have a lot of brain breaks. I love GoNoodle. We slowly wean off of that as we go through the year. They like it so much that they know to use it and then get back on task or we won't do it anymore. It really helps to just understand what they need and not fight it."
Brainstorming about possible strategies to further increase engagement with these particular students:
Proximity. Mrs. P stated that she doesn't like to use methods like study carrels or isolated seating, but she is willing to try and move them to a spot closer to her during times where they struggle with staying on task. She will also have them move to a table that is still within the group but a little set apart, like the teacher small group table.
Separation: We discussed the idea of spacing the kids out who tend to be off task and putting them with on task students. Mrs. P said that she does that in large part. She said that in the past, out of a desperate attempt to find improvement, she actually put all of her students that struggled with this at one table in hopes that a leader would rise up. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't but it's a strategy to try.
Behavior Contracts: It's an option to try. Mrs. P stated that she didn't feel that these particular students had severe enough behavior to warrant a formal behavioral contract, but that something informal could be of benefit.
Increasing Student Choice: We discussed coming up with at least one additional way to complete an assignment so that students who are reluctant to complete the assignment can exercise some choice in how they show their mastery. For example: Rather than do the work in the book, a student might complete their work on a dry erase board. Having a little bit of power might increase the engagement.
Step Five: Critique
Mrs. P: "It was helpful to touch base before and let the teacher determine the needs. That makes it feel more like a partnership."
Mrs. Flynn: The preconference was very helpful to me because I knew where to focus my attention and thoughts. Yes, I obviously made notes about effective teaching practices but they were within the scope of keeping students engaged. I could really track what was important in this observation.
On the Observation:
Mrs. P: No issues positive or negative.
Mrs. Flynn: I would like to figure out how to take notes while also being able to move around. I felt like my vantage point in the classroom limited my ability to observe all students at times.
On the Observation Data:
Mrs. P: Felt that it was very accurate and typical of her classroom on an ongoing basis.
Mrs. Flynn: The narrative was an easy way to document what was happening in the classroom and I felt it gave an accurate picture of the observation to the teacher.
On the Postconference:
Mrs. P: "You were very positive and led with positives, so that's always helpful. I also liked how we brainstormed together to find solutions. Again, it was more like a partnership than a "command."
Mrs. Flynn: There was really an atmosphere of conversation and sharing of ideas. I felt that it was very productive and if I had been a true supervisor, that I would have been very encouraged that this teacher was making great efforts to help all of her students to succeed.
On Clinical Supervision:
Mrs. P: "In 'real life' it would be best to try and implement some of the strategies we talked about and have a follow up observation to see how it's going."
Mrs. Flynn: "Yes, that's the goal. For this to be an ongoing cycle that continues to improve the teacher's practice."