Classroom Observation Paper Kathy Moore RDG 410 Elementary Methods Reading/Language Arts Instructor: Elizabeth Schmitz June 3, 2010 On Wednesday May 19, 2010, I observed Mrs. Kristi Jones 6th grade Language Arts Class at Chase Middle School. Mrs. Jones has her students come into class and sit down and begin their Silent Sustained Reading for the first 15 minutes of class every day. Students have their choice of trade books to read which when they finish they take Accelerated Reader test to earn points. Depending on which language class she has point requirements range from 5 to 15 points per six weeks for students.
However, Mrs. Jones told me that she does allow modifications for students qualify for them. She allows them to read lower grade books with fewer points and instead of testing she allows them to write summaries of the books. On this particular day Mrs. Jones was teaching from the 6th grade Language Arts book. She told me that the class had just finished a literary circle unit and would now be working on a literature focus unit. While students are engaged in SSR she writes on the board to chapter and page number of the story they will be working on today.
While the students work on SSR, I tour the classroom. I notice that Mrs. Jones has a very extensive word wall. The words on the wall cover genre types, the seven types of traditional fiction, and movements in literature, types of modern fiction, literary elements, and figurative language among many other words. Mrs. Jones also has a classroom library section with books she provides for students. The library section includes beanbags and pillows for students to use while reading. The print environment is very print-rich. After SSR Mrs.
Jones directs students to open their literature books and turn to the story they are about to read. The story is called “An Hour with Abuelo”. She asks her students to get out there journals. She told her students today they were going to read a story about a grandfather. She asked students to write in their journals about their relationships with their grandparents, if they did not have a grandparent to write about a special older relative. She asked them to make sure they wrote about how much time they spent with their grandparents and whether they liked talking to them or not.
After the class wrote in their journals Mrs. Jones reviewed vocabulary words from the story they were going to read. She asked students to write the list of words as she read them out to them; she then asked if they knew what any of the words meant. Students eagerly raised their hands to define the words. Some of the words included labor, material, wheelchair, ammonia, maturity, and parchment. Most students understood the majority of the words, those they didn’t understand Mrs. Jones said they would try to figure out while reading the story. Mrs.
Jones places some guided reading questions on the board for students to consider while reading. Mrs. Jones then asks her students to begin following along as she reads the selection. Mrs. Jones stops during the reading and asks her students follow up questions about the text. After the text is read and review in a class discussion, Mrs. Jones ask her class to now write in their journals whether or not their feelings about their grandparents has changed and to give examples from the text. After journal writing Mrs. Jones has one student from each group to write one of the vocabulary words and place them on the word wall.
While students are busy with their activities I have a chance to speak with Mrs. Jones about her career choice and what has influenced her organization for literacy instruction. Mrs. Jones tells me that she has always loved Literature and wants to share that love with her students. She says that she has developed her literacy instruction style from trial and error. She says that the most important thing is to know your students. She says that every class is different. They have different likes, different behavior styles, and different learning capabilities.
What works well with one class may not be the best option for another class. She says that while one class may need the story read to them as they follow along, her last class can read by themselves and still develop the same skills as the other. I enjoyed observing Mrs. Jones as she worked with her class. I picked up some good pointers and have realized that teaching is also a work of art. As teachers we must learn our students so that we can teach them in ways that speaks directly to them. I am looking forward to the day I have a future teacher observe me.