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Brian Lyda EDUC 429 TWS 1 Contextual Factors Classroom Factors



Upon entering this third grade classroom, there is a wall adjacent to the door that contains cubbies for each student to store supplies. Underneath the cubbies, there are several coat hooks on which students hang their independent reading bags. These bags contain an individualized collection of books for each student based on interests and reading abilities. In the front corner of the room, there is a small bookshelf containing miscellaneous items. On the top of this shelf is a container of rocks. If the entire class is deemed by the teacher to be acting appropriately when completing a task, rocks will be added to the container. If the container becomes filled, the students will receive a reward as a class. Next to this shelf is a calendar on the front wall that also has the daily lunch choices on it. Each student has a numbered clothespin that corresponds with his or her name. Every morning, the students must place this clothespin on the lunch choice that they would like that day. Next to the calendar is a small white board. Each morning, there is either a math question or journal-writing prompt written on the white board. This board also contains the “word of the day.” Next to the whiteboard is the Smart Board, which contains five math problems each morning for students to complete. Directly beside the Smart Board is another small whiteboard. This one displays the daily agenda for the class. It lists each subject as well as what the class will be working on within that subject. The wall farthest from the door contains ground level storage cabinets as well as a floor to ceiling storage cabinet in the corner. This wall also contains a countertop with a sink. The teacher keeps several baskets to help with organization on this counter. Students are aware what papers should be placed in which basket. Along the back wall, there is a desk that contains three computers as well as a printer. There are also supplies, such as pencils, notebook paper, and a pencil sharpener, on this desk. Above the computers, there is more shelving and storage. These shelves contain supplies such as markers, pens, and glue. Next to the desk and wall shelving there is a reading nook. In the nook, there are three bookshelves with books separated by subject matter or genre. There is also a large, cushioned chair situated by the room’s only window inside the reading nook. Students are allowed to come to this area during independent reading time. There are twenty-eight desks arranged in two separate U-shaped patterns in the middle of the room. The second U-shape has a slight break in it to allow access to the first U-shape. All of the students have viewing access to the front of the room from their desk. There are no classroom rules obviously posted beyond the school’s Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) system. This school’s PBIS system is known as S.H.I.N.E. This acronym stands for Self-respect, Honesty, Independence, Neatness, and Engagement. Students are encouraged to demonstrate any or all of these positive traits, and they will receive a slip of paper known as”sunny money”. This system aims to reinforce positive behaviors and decision-making. Consequences within this class include a verbal warning followed by being

Brian Lyda EDUC 429


asked to see the teacher during recess time. During this time, students will miss out on free play with peers to think about how they could correct their actions. For more serious offenses, students will receive a minor infraction or major infraction. The latter leads to contact with parents/guardians. The class has a daily schedule that they typically follow. The day begins with morning work during breakfast time. Homework is also checked during this time. The teacher will then review the morning work after which students will be asked to come to the carpet at the front of the room for a reading workshop mini-lesson. Following the mini-lesson, students will read independently while practicing the skill demonstrated in the mini-lesson. During this time, the teacher will conference with students individually and will sometimes pull small, guided reading groups. Students then experience a math lesson followed by either science or social studies. The latter is often integrated with language arts. Students go to lunch, and upon returning to the classroom, they have a read aloud lesson. Next, students go to their related arts session followed by recess. They end the day by participating in writer’s workshop. There are several routines that have been implemented within this classroom. In the morning, students understand, without being directed, that they are to eat breakfast, dispose of their trash, make their lunch choice (on the calendar as previously mentioned), and complete their morning work. During reading lessons, students are often asked to discuss ideas with their partners. Students understand that this is to be done with an inside voice and to stay on topic. There are also many classroom management techniques used that students understand. For example, the teacher will say “class, class, class” and the students know to respond with “yes, yes, yes”. This brings the students attention back to the teacher. It has been explained that there is not too much parental involvement in the classroom. This is not because it is portrayed as unimportant. Parents are welcome within the classroom but many are not involved for various reasons. Most parents work and do not have the time to be physically involved with the class. Student Characteristics: There are a total of 28 third graders in this class. 57% of the students are female, and 43% are male. 50 % of the students are Caucasian, 36% are African American, and 14% are Hispanic. 2 of the students are identified as being in Tier 2 of RTI (Response to Intervention) for ELA. One of those students is pulled out of the classroom for one 30-minute session while the other is pulled for ELA and Math for a total of 2 and ½ hours. There are 3 ESOL students in the classroom, 2 of which are pulled from the class for extended help. There are 4 students that are identified as G.A.T.A.S. (gifted) students. They are pulled out of the regular classroom for a total of 2 hours per week. There is a wide range of developmental levels within the classroom as demonstrated above by having RTI (Tier 2) students as well as ESOL and GATAS students. Several of the students identify math as their favorite subject. There is also an interest in art by many students. Several of the students enjoy playing sports, especially basketball and football. Many of the students also enjoy playing video games and other electronics when they are not at school. An affinity for listening to music seems to be common for the entire class, most of which

Brian Lyda EDUC 429


enjoy rap/hip-hop. Several students also express an interest in animals, whether it is a joy for reading animal books or a desire to be a veterinarian in the future. Instructional Implications: In terms of classroom factors, the actual size and arrangement of the classroom will have an affect on my planning and instruction. I would love to plan activities where the students can get up and move around, but there is limited space in the classroom. There are so many desks that there is almost no floor space for a group so large. I may have to plan on taking the students to the commons area for a lesson, if that would be possible or even allowed. I want the students to engage in a possible skit/role-play activity for a social studies lesson, so I may plan to take them into the commons to do this. It will also be difficult for me to place students in small groups because it may not be physically possible to group desks within the classroom. I could place groups not at desks, but at random spaces around the room such as on the floor or in the reading nook. Having the Smart Board is always a plus. I have many students that enjoy electronics and technology. Allowing them to interact with a lesson through the Smart Board can really get them engaged in the lesson. I could also use this Smart Board to play music during work time or other down time for my students because they all enjoy listening to music. When planning ELA lessons, I would like to take into account the interests of the students. I could use literature with sports themes for a shared reading lesson one day, and possibly use literature about animals for a different shared reading lesson. I could then demonstrate to students that the strategies we are learning can be used for whatever literature they like. Then I would have students further practice the strategy with their independent reading literature. I plan to incorporate music into at least one of my lessons because the entire class demonstrated a joy for music. I would like to either develop a song to remember some facts or a strategy, or use musical instruments within a role-play lesson. We are currently studying the Revolutionary War. Maybe I could have students play drums as if they were the drummer boys marching with the soldiers. I feel ideas like this would engage the students in the lesson and that would lead to some meaningful learning.