Victoria  McDonald   ECED  429  Spring     Contextual  Factors     Classroom  Factors     • Learning  Environment           Matthews  Elementary  is  extremely

 inviting  and  welcoming.    Once  entering   through  the  office,  student  learning  is  evident.    The  hallway  housing  Mrs.  Lori   Ashley’s  first  grade  class  is  also  home  to  K5,  3-­‐6  year  old  Montessori  classes,  as  well   as  other  first  grade  classes.    The  sunny  yellow  hall  holds  some  of  the  students  most   recent  class  work.    A  passer-­‐by  would  easily  notice  that  Mrs.  Lori’s  classroom  door   has  been  transformed  into  a  space  ship  and  students  have  constructed  astronauts   that  resemble  themselves,  which  have  been  placed  around  the  “space  ship”  on  the   hall  wall.    Inside  Mrs.  Lori’s  classroom  one  would  probably  label  it  as  a  student   centered  classroom.    For  example,  everything  in  the  classroom  is  at  eye  level  and   within  reach  for  first  grade  students.    The  students  have  ownership  in  the  classroom   and  feel  very  comfortable  in  this  learning  area.         • Physical  Features     Mrs.  Lori’s  first  grade  classroom  is  very  child  friendly.    It  houses  lots  of   materials  to  aid  their  learning.    The  classroom  has  a  bathroom  for  the  student   to  use  throughout  the  day  while  in  class.    There  is  a  big  counter  and  lots  of   storage  space  above  on  the  back  wall.    Near  the  bathroom  is  a  classroom  sink   and  refrigerator.    The  classroom  also  has  two  average  sized  windows  that   both  overlook  a  playground  area  on  the  school  campus.         Each  student  in  the  class  has  their  own  individual  desk  and  chair.    The  desks   have  been  pushed  together  to  create  groups  and  give  the  illusion  of  tables.     There  is  one  kidney  bean  shaped  table  in  the  room  that  function  as  Mrs.   Lori’s  desk  and  the  small  group  area.    Throughout  the  room  there  are  various   types  of  shelving  and  rolling  bookcases  that  section  the  class  off  into  specific   areas  and  centers.    The  materials  found  on  the  shelves  depend  on  its  location   in  the  classroom.    The  students  are  allowed  to  use  these  items  during  center   time  or  when  they  complete  an  assignment  early.    Located  in  the  front  center   of  the  room  is  the  class  carpet.    The  carpet  is  near  the  SMART  Board,  Mrs.   Lori’s  school  issued  laptop,  and  the  class  calendar.    There  are  also  two  lamps   that  surround  the  carpet  area.    The  lamps  are  on  majority  of  the  day  because   the  big  lights  are  off  when  using  the  SMART  Board,  which  is  used  regularly   during  the  day.     • Resources     Numerous  resources  are  available  for  each  student  in  the  class.    The  students   have  access  to  the  classroom  library  and  the  various  manipulatives  located  

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Victoria  McDonald   ECED  429  Spring     throughout  the  room  in  different  center  areas.    During  some  writing   assignments  Mrs.  Lori  will  leave  the  SMART  Board  on  with  some  words   written  on  it  that  they  may  need  during  their  writing  assignment.    Located  in   the  front  of  the  classroom  above  the  SMART  Board  is  the  class  word  wall.     Words  contained  on  the  word  wall  are  all  of  the  words  that  students  should   know  and  recognize  before  exiting  first  grade.    Another  resource  that  is  a   huge  help  for  students  are  the  word  charts  located  at  random,  however,  most   charts  are  located  in  the  reading  center.    The  charts  are  special  because  they   are  based  on  words  sounds.    For  example,  there  is  a  chart  for  words  with  the   /oa/  sound  such  as  goat,  soap,  boat,  etc.    Each  student  also  has  their  own   individual  in  class  “mailbox”.    The  mailboxes  may  contain  missed  work  if  a   student  was  absent  or  completed  work  that  they  may  now  take  home.   Classroom  Rules     All  classroom  rules  were  set  at  the  beginning  of  the  school  year  in  August.     Mrs.  Lori  and  the  students  constructed  the  classroom  rules  together  by   having  a  class  discussion  on  the  things  you  should  and  should  not  do  at   school  and  in  class.    The  class  also  has  special  rules  for  center  time.    The  most   important  rule  in  Mrs.  Lori’s  class  is  to  behave  and  remember  if  “Mrs.  Lori   would  not  like  it  then  do  not  do  it”.    Often  times  when  Mrs.  Lori  needs  the   students’  undivided  attention  she  will  place  her  hand  in  the  shape  of  an  “L”   and  hold  it  in  the  air.    The  students  will  then  also  hold  an  “L”  in  the  air  with   their  hands.    When  they  hold  up  the  letter  “L”  it  means,  “I  am  looking,   listening,  and  ready  to  learn.   Parental  Involvement   Family  involvement  is  highly  encouraged  by  Mrs.  Lori.    Each  day  she  sends   the  students  home  with  their  S.T.A.R.  folders,  which  have  to  be  signed  by  the   parent  or  guardian  of  that  student.    S.T.A.R.  stands  for  Students  Taking   Awesome  Responsibility.    It  is  the  students’  responsibility  to  go  through  their   folder  each  afternoon  and  give  their  guardian  any  important  papers.     Students  also  have  to  receive  a  signature  each  day  on  their  behavior   calendar.    This  calendar  allows  the  guardians  to  know  what  type  of  day  their   student  had  at  school.    Also  by  the  parents  or  guardians  signing  each  night   lets  Mrs.  Lori  know  that  they  are  aware  of  their  child’s  education  and  various   things  going  on  in  the  school  or  classroom.    When  a  student  does  not  have  a   good  behavior  day  Mrs.  Lori  writes  a  brief  note  informing  the  parents  of  the   misbehavior.    Parents  and  guardians  are  also  always  invited  to  attend  PTO   meetings,  volunteer  with  different  school  events,  and  chaperone  field  trips.     Mrs.  Lori  also,  sometimes  contacts  families  for  a  parent/teacher  conference.       Availability  of  Technology  

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Victoria  McDonald   ECED  429  Spring     Matthews  elementary  has  two  computer  labs  for  students  and  the  library   also  houses  several  computers  for  student  use  as  well.    Mrs.  Lori  has  three   student  computers  in  her  classroom.    The  students  use  this  area  during  the   morning  and  during  center  time.    The  classroom  also  is  equipped  with  a   SMART  Board  and  students  have  the  opportunity  to  use  this  technology   everyday  during  whole  group.    There  is  also  a  listening  center  in  the   classroom,  where  students  use  CD  players  and  discs  to  listen  to  different   books  and  follow  along.    The  teachers  at  Matthews  also  have  access  to  a  copy   machine,  printers,  scanners,  a  fax  machine,  and  a  laminator  when  there  is  a   need  for  any  of  this  equipment.     •   Routines,  Grouping  Patterns,  and  Scheduling   Depending  on  the  day  of  the  week  determines  exactly  what  the  class  will  do   on  a  particular  day.    However,  each  morning  when  the  students  enter  the   classroom  they  take  their  S.T.A.R.  folder  out  of  their  backpack  and  into  Mrs.   Lori’s  basket.    Students  place  their  backpacks  and  coats  in  their  designated   area  before  taking  a  seat  at  their  desk.    A  morning  snack  and  drink  is   provided  for  all  students  each  morning.    When  they  are  done  eating,  they  are   allowed  to  work  in  the  computer  area  if  there  is  space  or  read  a  book  quietly   at  their  desk  or  on  the  carpet.    The  schools  morning  message  comes  on   through  the  school  intranet  shortly  after  8  a.m.    During  the  morning  message   students  are  led  in  saying  the  pledge  to  the  United  States,  South  Carolina,  and   a  pledge  to  Matthews  Elementary.    Following  the  morning  message  Mrs.  Lori   begins  with  the  calendar  and  days  of  the  school  year.    Each  day  the  students   are  involved  in  some  type  of  movement  activity.    During  carpet  time  Mrs.  Lori   will  read  the  students  a  book  on  the  SMART  Board.    This  allows  the  class  to   participate  in  shared  reading.    After  whole  group  on  the  carpet,  the  class  is   assigned  seatwork.    Seatwork  usually  consists  of  a  writing  assignment.     During  seatwork  small  groups  are  called  to  work  with  Mrs.  Lori  on  reading   skills.    The  groups  are  based  on  reading  level.    She  has  five  different  groups   created  within  the  class.    When  students  complete  their  seatwork,  they  are   allowed  to  begin  working  in  a  center  assigned  to  them.    Centers  are  assigned   based  on  rotations  and  individual  needs.    Students  are  aware  of  what  center   they  are  participating  in  for  the  day  by  looking  at  the  center  chart.    When   center  time  comes  to  a  conclusion  students  clean  the  areas  they  were   working  in  and  begin  to  prepare  for  lunch.    After  lunch,  depending  on  the  day   students  may  travel  directly  to  the  computer  lab  for  a  little  over  half  an  hour.     For  the  remainder  of  the  day  the  students  are  mostly  working  in  whole  group   or  within  assigned  small  groups.    Students  are  allowed  twenty-­‐five  minutes   for  recess  daily  each  afternoon.    When  there  is  inclement  weather  that  does   not  allow  for  outdoor  recess  the  students  have  indoor  recess.    Recess  inside   can  consist  of  extra  center  time  or  watching  a  video.    The  class  ends  each  day   with  hands  on  activities  involving  cutting,  gluing,  coloring,  etc.    At  2  p.m.  they  

Victoria  McDonald   ECED  429  Spring     pack  their  backpacks  and  place  all  belongings  at  their  desk  as  they  all   prepare  for  dismissal.       Student  Characteristics       Description   Female   Male   Total     Number  of   9   11   20   Students             Age   Six  Years  Old   8   5   13     Seven  Years   1   6   7   Old             Ethnicity   African-­‐ 7   5   12   American     Caucasian   2   3   5     Hispanic   0   3   3             Special  Needs   IEP   1   4   5     Speech   1   3   4     Reading       3   Recovery     Extended   0   1   1   Resource     ADD/ADHD   0   2   2     RTI   0   1   1     Vision   1   0   1   (glasses)     Hearing  Aid   0   1   1             Other   Free/Reduced   n/a   n/a   17   Lunch     • Special  Needs  Assistance     There  is  one  male  student  in  the  class  who  has  two  hearing  aids.    During  the   day  Mrs.  Lori  wears  a  microphone  around  her  neck  so  that  her  voice  is  better   projected  throughout  the  room.    The  student  performs  well  in  all  subject   areas  when  given  proper  instructions.    Four  students  receive  speech  twice  a   week  and  are  sometimes  assigned  homework  from  their  speech  teachers.     Every  day  three  students  are  pulled  from  the  class  for  reading  recovery.     These  three  students  are  reading  below  a  first  grade  level.    They  receive   additional  help  outside  of  the  classroom  to  help  aid  their  performance  in  

Victoria  McDonald   ECED  429  Spring     class.    One  of  these  three  students  also  receives  RTI  (Response  To   Intervention)  daily  with  a  reading  recovery  teacher.         •   Achievement/Developmental  Levels   All  of  the  student  in  Mrs.  Lori’s  class  were  tested  at  the  beginning  of  the   school  year  and  are  periodically  tested  now.    Students  are  grouped  in  small   reading  groups  based  on  the  tests  they  are  given.    The  instructional  materials   used  vary  based  on  what  group  a  student  is  placed  in.    As  students  begin  to   progress  they  can  be  moved  to  a  different  group  with  different  leveled   materials.    Mrs.  Lori  has  students  whose  abilities  range  from  below  first   grade  level  to  above  first  grade  level.    They  range  anywhere  from  a  Pre-­‐A  to  a   level  16.    Students  who  have  been  labeled  as  reading  below  grade  level  make   small  but  major  progressions  each  day  during  small  group  work  with  Mrs.   Lori  or  myself.  

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Prior  Learning  that  May  Influence  the  Development  of  Learning  Goals,   Instruction  and  Assessment     Noticing  that  majority  of  this  first  grade  class  is  on  free  and  reduced  lunch   means  they  mostly  come  from  a  low  to  middle  income  family.    Many  studies   show  that  children  coming  from  low  income  families  often  struggle  in   developing  educationally.    Half  of  the  students  in  the  class  also  come  from  a   family  that  has  less  than  twelve  years  of  school  experience.    However,  not  all   of  the  student  represent  identical  backgrounds  and  have  really  good  home   lives  and  foundations.    Because  of  the  various  backgrounds  and  home   situations  Mrs.  Lori  and  myself  must  use  various  methods  to  teach  lessons   and  help  students  understand  the  material  we  are  teaching.     Instructional  Implications     • Contextual  Characteristics  of  the  Classroom     The  contextual  characteristics  of  this  classroom  allow  the  students  to  take   ownership  in  the  classroom  and  really  feel  at  home.    Being  comfortable  in  the   classroom  is  important  for  the  students  learning.    The  students  are  aware  of   the  various  centers  and  areas  in  the  classroom  and  know  how  to  govern   themselves  in  those  particular  areas.    Matthews  Elementary  have  new  rules   in  place  that  all  classroom  doors  have  to  be  locked  at  all  times  and  this  gives   the  students  and  teachers  a  sense  of  security  and  safety.            

Victoria  McDonald   ECED  429  Spring     •   Instructional  Implications   When  teaching  my  lessons  I  will  have  to  consider  the  various  levels  that   students  perform  at.    I  do  not  want  to  make  a  lesson  objectives  to  easy  and   not  challenge  the  upper  level  students  but  I  also  would  not  want  to  challenge   the  upper  level  students  leaving  the  lower  level  students  clueless.    I  must  be   reminded  to  keep  each  child  in  mind  when  constructing  a  lesson  and  view   objectives  and  procedures  from  their  standpoint.    I  will  plan  engaging,   interactive,  meaningful,  and  fun  lessons.    These  lessons  will  need  to  connect   with  every  student  not  only  a  few.    My  goal  when  teaching  lessons  is  to   remember  the  students’  background  and  foundation  while  also  taking  their   developmental  levels  into  consideration.         Summary         Overall,  I  am  extremely  pleased  with  my  placement  at  Matthews  Elementary.     I  like  the  caring  and  kind  faculty  and  staff.    My  cooperating  teacher  Mrs.  Lori  is  a   great  match  for  myself  because  she  is  identical  to  what  I  picture  myself  as  a  early   childhood  teacher.    Personally  I  believe  that  knowing  students  background   information  and  home  lifestyle  only  makes  you  a  better  teacher.    You  can  then  better   understand  what  each  child  needs  to  be  able  to  take  away  something  valuable  from   your  classroom  and  the  lessons  taught.    This  also  aids  for  great  incidental  teaching   moments.    Throughout  this  semester  I  plan  to  also  create  ownership  in  this   classroom  and  not  just  be  an  observer  but  a  doer.    My  goal  is  for  the  students  to   trust  me  as  their  very  own  teacher.