Visit to a Classroom:
1. How is the classroom arranged and decorated?
The kindergarten classroom at St. Mary’s has many things going on along the walls and hanging from the ceiling. There are many colorful objects that represent letters of the alphabet and arrange able posters for the students to determine the days of the week, months, years and weather outside. Each student has their own cubby to store their belongings. The middle of the room has 4 circular tables labeled with each student’s name of where they sit. One corner of the room displays a chair for the teacher to sit with a carpet for the students to sit on when it is story time. The room is filled with supplies for arts and crafts, books and equipment for activities.
2. How does the classroom differ from the gymnasium as an educational setting?
The classroom differs from the gymnasium as an educational setting due to the smaller space, tables, chairs, shelves filled with books and large amounts of information posted on the walls. The gymnasium is open with a large amount of space and free to do many different activities with the equipment provided.
3. How would you describe the classroom atmosphere?
The atmosphere in the classroom is isolated with a high concentration of educational purposes. The information that is expressed through the decorations gives a feeling of being welcomed into the room. The students will always be learning once they enter the classroom.
4. What was the topic and structure of the portion of the lesson you observed?
The teacher used management strategies by having the students clean up toys that they were playing with during a recess break. The topic and structure of the lesson concentrated on the letter K as well as the days and months of the year. The teacher gathered the students on the carpet and started off the lesson asking the students to help determine what day it was of what month and the year. She then asked the students what the weather was like outside. The remainder of the lesson the teacher read a couple of books that represented the letter K. The students were asked to emphasis the letter K every time a word with the letter K was mentioned in the books.
5. How would you describe the language and literacy levels of the students?
From my observation the students were actively engaged throughout the lesson. I did not have the opportunity to see the students work on reading or writing. I was however able to observe the students talk and learn from the material provided to them. They had a good understanding of the language and spoke well themselves. Some students however were shy and didn’t speak. The teacher and students also interacted through sign language which I thought was extremely impressive at their ages. They picked it up so well and were quick with responses. There were some students however who had trouble remembering some of the signs and other students would help them out.
6. How did the teacher engage the students in the lesson segment that you observed?
The students were engaged throughout the entire lesson. During every activity the teacher would stop to ask a question to certain students. Songs were sung as well that involved movement. The class ran smoothly and the students as well as the teachers seemed to be enjoying themselves.
7. How would you describe the social behaviors of students in this age group?
The students at this age have a habit of telling on each other. Toys would be stolen instead of shared and students would be quickly come to me or one of the teachers to tell if a toy was taken from them. They are easily distracted, however when they are involved they are all in. The students varied in social skills where some students were always with a friend and others were by themselves. It was interesting to see the difference in social development in the students.
8. What did you learn from this observation that will help you teach this age group more effectively?
At this particular age group it has come to my attention that students learn a smaller amount of information at a highly concentrated level. They spent a whole lesson on one letter as opposed to learning a various amount of information within one class. I learned that repetition is important when teaching this particular age group. Students at this age learn effectively through focusing and repeating on one subject. The enthusiasm of the teacher also plays a role in the motivation of the students learning. Students focus and interact with a teacher that has a great attitude and makes the learning experience fun and enjoyable. I also noticed that students at this age are familiar with structure and protocol. The appropriate management strategies will allow for a smooth transition into effective learning lessons.
9. What other insights did you gain from this observation?
After observing the classroom I feel that I would be just as comfortable teaching in the classroom as I am in the gymnasium. I will be concentrating in other areas of study such as home economics and health to have a diverse approach to teaching. I do however feel that I am on the right career path moving forward. I enjoy teaching students in an atmosphere with open space and the ability to develop student’s knowledge of sport and life-long activities.