Some excerpts from my field log during my year one placement. I was in a grade 7/8 classroom with a partner.
“My assigned classroom was a grade 7 and 8 split. This took me back to something I’d learned in my EPSY 322 class – a method of teaching called telescoping, in which children at different grade levels are taught the same curricula. This was shown when the teacher was giving the students a math assignment about percentages, and were all being taught the same things. Despite this, I noticed that the students were given certain assignments and activities depending on their individual grades – for instance, upon completion of the percentage handout, the 7th graders had to complete an online assignment called Mathletics, while the 8th graders did some silent reading.”
An important thing to note is that it is very easy to see the different learning styles of all the students. My students are at an age where they have discovered or are discovering what works best for them in terms of the way they learn. Some were very vocal and involved in the classroom, and preferred to work with others, while some were quieter and preferred alone time. I noticed that the use of electronics such as iPods was allowed during individual work periods as long as the students weren’t disrupting others. This was nice to see, because I know firsthand how music can help with focus when working. The students had mutual respect for their teacher, which was great to see! The teacher had an air of approachability, and students felt quite comfortable asking him questions. They were eager to get their work done, and helped each other out.
The classroom itself didn’t have too many distractions, and the few posters that were on the walls were very motivational, encouraging diversity, courage, etc. The classroom boards celebrated student achievement, displaying things such as their artwork, which is a way to encourage students to work hard. The classroom was very bright and had lots of windows, so students don’t feel like they’re sitting in a cramped room all day. The clock was at the back of the room, so the students don’t get distracted by how much time is left in the class.
The teacher I’m working with promotes knowledge by making himself approachable while also trying to make the children independent. He explained to us how he knows that his students all learn differently, how some rely on social experiences while others prefer to be independent.
After school ended, we were told how he uses STAR reading for assessment of reading levels. This is an online program that is almost like a comprehension test, and determines what level each student is at when it comes to different reading capabilities. This then shows the teacher how each student differs, and they are able to decide how to proceed.
Another great way technology was used in the classroom was through a program called mathletics. This is an online math game, which makes learning different concepts fun. Students can challenge each other, and compare their results. The teacher can view all the progress of the students to see how they do when it comes to each different concept.