Colavito McKie Dr. Nan Li, Instructor Educ.

421: Teaching Language Arts to Children February 27, 2014 ELA Classroom Observation #1 While observing Ms. Smith’s third grade English/Language Arts and Social Studies class on February 10, 2014, I immediately noticed her method of presenting content information to her students. Ms. Smith began by reviewing “Drawing Conclusions.” She then stated to students that “When readers know their purpose for reading, they know what they’re reading to find out.” I thought Ms. Smith’s expression in relation to reading was encouraging to students. Ms. Smith expanded students’ prior knowledge by engaging students in a choral response activity using the handout based on “Inferencing” and “drawing conclusions.” Students then read the contents on the handout and were later instructed to mark their answer to the first question. During the time students read independently, Ms. Smith walked around the classroom, observing students and helping students who needed additional motivation or encouragement to complete their work. As we all know, proper classroom management skills are an important component to facilitating positive classroom atmosphere for all learners. Ms. Smith’s eleven years of teaching experience in the classroom is evident as it plays an important role in her ability to manage her classroom. Over several occasions throughout the day, I observed Ms. Smith utilizing the same effective approaches to getting the attention of all learners in the classroom. I did not witness any constant yelling or screaming, taunting of students or threats made to students. Ms. Smith uses

the “Numeric System” to obtain the attention of her students in both classes. While Ms. Smith went over the worksheet, she posed questions aloud such as “How does the character feel in the text?” Using the text, students were then instructed to locate the evidence based off of the question she posed. After students worked on an additional three problems, Ms. Smith instructed students to place their work in their “Reading” notebook and to take out their “Social Studies” notebook. Before students were given their social studies support materials, Ms. Smith instructed students not to work on any homework that had not been covered in class. Later, she reminded students that they couldn’t afford to waste any time transitioning from one subject to the next (E/LA to Social Studies). After Ms. Smith made her statement, she invited students to join her in the classroom’s “Reading Safari” by groups in the following order: group A, group B, group C, group D, group E, and group F. In the “Reading Safari” groups A and B sat in the rocking chairs, groups C and D sat on the floor, and groups E and F were dismissed last and sat on the couch and in chairs, too. Ms. Smith began the lesson in social studies on taxes by enthusiastically informing students about background information featuring the British Tea/ Boston Tea Party. She later informed students about Great Britain’s reactions in regards to the colonies in America. During this time, Ms. Smith took the opportunity to introduce key vocabulary terms such as “representation,” “independence,” “battles,” and “Revolutionary War.” She read the book of entitled Palmetto: Symbol Courage by author Kate Salley Parker. The book features Sullivan Island located in Charleston, South Carolina with regards to the war. While reading, Ms. Smith also had students use context clues in determining events in the story. All instructional teachers at Brookdale Elementary School are required to post an “Instructional Outline” on the board in their classroom. The instructional outline is similar to a

daily outline of the instructional events planned to take place during the course of the day in the classroom. Ms. Smith’s instructional outline consists of the following: English/Language Arts Writing Stems; drawing conclusions; and descriptive writing.  Morning Message  Review Homework Talk and Turn  Anchor Chart  Read aloud  Shared Reading  Cold Passage  Cooperative Learning  Cold Passage Clothesline Share Sensory Descriptions Activity Social Studies Revolutionary War Houses  Williams Jasper  Francis Marion Role play Explicitly Teach  Outline Map  Note-taking Outline Map


Daily Review Anticipatory Set Direct Instruction Guided Practice Independent Practice Closure Homework

Study Answer Questions

During the story, Ms. Smith used relevant details and accounts to expand on students’ prior knowledge. Ms. Smith also asked questions the following questions about the text to check for understanding:    What army won? What does patriot mean? What kind of flag is shown in the picture?

Ms. Smith explained relevant details to her third graders regarding the signing of the Declaration of Independence to include who, what, when, where, why, and how. While she spoke about the Declaration of Independence, Ms. Smith took the time to answer questions posed by students as it related to the reasons the colonists wanted to “break-away” from Great Britain’s control. Ms. Smith answered student questions on other topics featuring the Revolutionary War such as the Crescent Seal, other war locations, and reasons the war took place. After reading the story, Ms.

Smith dismissed students back to their seats by tables. While at their seats, students focused their attention to the Star Board located in front of the classroom to review material featured in the story. Ms. Smith distinguished the difference between the two terms “patriot” and “loyalist” to provide students with an idea of their positions they played during the war. Afterwards, students were later instructed to look at their worksheets and to identify key terms mentioned both in the Power Point and in the story. Forms of differentiated instruction included: a readaloud and a Power Point presentation (featuring key points and pictures). During the scheduled time for writing, Ms. Smith reminded students to use the C. U. P. S. system to reiterate what they know as a form of reviewing the material. C. U. P. S. stands for CCapitalization, U-Use of grammar, P-Punctuation, and S-Spelling. As a method of encouraging students to acquire the author’s purpose, Ms. Smith focused students’ attention on what’s in the text and how to provide an appropriate analysis of the text. Ms. Smith stated “Champions have to have that “will” and “skill.” They need the “will” to get started and the “skill” to win.” She also stated that “When we say “yes,” explain. When we say “no,” still explain.” I thought that this form of encouragement used by Ms. Smith was very necessary in motivating all of her students to succeed, which is important in getting students ready to achieve academic standards and/or goals.