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Amanda Caffey

EDR 317
Dr. Selvaggi
Journal Responses-Field Experience


Field Response 2/11/14

Today was the first day in the field, and unfortunately my cooperating teacher was unable
to be at school. I didnt have the opportunity to officially meet her or my students yet, so I am
very excited to meet them when we next go to field. Since I was unable to be in the 4
th
grade
classroom that I will be in for the semester, I was placed in a 3
rd
grade classroom for the
morning. This teacher was very welcoming and had another student from my practicum class in
her room as well. Right when I walked into her classroom I could tell that she was going to be
someone who I felt had great classroom management strategies. The room was set up so that all
parts were accessible to all students, and it was very organized. As the students wrote down their
homework as part of their morning routine, I took the time to check and make sure that they
understood what they were writing down and that it was written in each students assignment
book correctly. At math time, I was going to show initiative by working 1-on-1 with a student
who particularly was struggling with Division by 6 problems. I had asked the teacher if I would
be able to take him aside after the lesson that she wanted all students to participate in.
Unfortunately, the lesson was more confusing to the students than she thought it would be, so
more time was spent doing examples of problems from the lesson. There was no extra time for
me to be able to work with this student, but I took a step in the right direction when offering to
help the teacher by working with him.
One way in which I was able to interact with the students today was by being able to
perform a read aloud during snack time. I read the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible,
No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. I took the time to pause and reflect on what was
happening in the story, and I was able to question the students and hear their answers and
feedback. This was done so that I could see if they understood the story and were listening as I
read. At the end of the read aloud, I was able to have a discussion about the story with the
students and they were able to offer connections that they could make from this story with their
own lives and other texts. It was definitely a good experience being in this 3
rd
grade classroom,
and meeting the teacher in this room gave me another faculty member connection within the
school. I am thankful that I was able to spend the day in this room, and I cannot wait to meet my
co-op and students next time!




Field Response 2/20/14

Today was the first day that I was able to be in my classroom and meet my co-op and
students. From the moment I walked in the room I knew that I was going to love being in this
classroom. The room is fairly large and the desks are organized in table groups, most with 4 and
one group of 5. I noticed that all of my co-ops materials and books were very organized, and
that everything in the room in general was organized in a way that you could easily find and
access something you needed. I made a point to walk around and look at the nametags on each of
the childrens desks as they were entering the room and beginning their daily routine. I like to be
able to match names to faces as soon as possible, so I observed the students as they walked to
and from their desks to their cubbies.
Early in the morning I took the initiative to offer to my co-op that I could help her with
whatever she needed while she was busy performing the morning routine (lunch count,
attendance, etc), so I began grading the homework that the students had in their Common Core
Standard test reading notebooks from the night before. As I graded the responses, I kept track of
any questions that students seemed to continually get wrong so I would be able to tell my co-op
which questions, if any, seemed to confuse most students. I believe that it was beneficial to see
sample work that the children were completing for homework that was practice for the upcoming
PSSAs. During math time, I walked around the room and checked over each students work. My
co-op said that I could offer help to anyone I thought may be a little stuck or answer any
questions the students had. I was able to talk to a few students to help them with the problems
they were working on. During the first part of language arts, the students were asked to complete
a sample reading selection that could appear on the PSSA that had the students analyze and
answer questions about an advertisement. The students were expected to work on these practice
questions independently, so I helped my co-op walk around the room to clarify directions and
answer questions to different students who needed a bit of help.
I took the time to sit with my co-op for 20 minutes at the end of my visit while the
students were at their library special. We were able to talk about the different assignments that I
will be completing in this course, pick the days as to where I will be observed and even choose
the student I will be focusing my case study on. I took the time to collaborate with my teacher
and try some of the co-teaching methods when talking about the first small group lesson I will
teach in the classroom for my first observation. We shared ideas back and forth and collaborated
with one another on the final idea for my lesson. I feel that my co-op and I will definitely work
well together this semester, and that I can learn a lot from her and the students in the class.






Field Response 2/25/14

Today was a great day in the field. When I arrived, I was able to help to talk with my co-
op about upcoming assignments and finalizing what I will be doing for my lesson plan the next
day of field. As the children were performing their daily morning tasks, I took initiative to collect
the students reading comprehension homework from the night before and check off which
students completed the homework as well as checking the answers to the questions they needed
to answer for correctness. My co-op was very busy in the morning, so I offered to announce to
the class that I needed their homework from the night before to check and remind them to please
have their name on it. The students responded very well to me and really followed my directions,
which is a great feeling to have as someone aspiring to be a great teacher someday. Although this
was only the second time Ive been in my classroom, I feel that my co-op is comfortable with me
and trusts me because she told me that I dont ever need to ask to use any materials in the room
and that I am welcome to jump in to any activity or help out whenever I can and would like to.
This is great news to me because I would like to be as involved in the classroom and helping the
students as much as possible! During math time, I was able to walk around and help the students
as they worked on a geometry worksheet.
I was the most involved in the language arts portion of the morning. The students are
working very hard on preparing for the PSSA, so today we read a sample passage that had
multiple choice reading comprehension questions that the students needed to answer. For this,
my co-op and I co-read the passage, which was a narrative piece containing a lot of dialogue,
together. We each were a different character and we thought it would be a fun way to get the
students engaged in the activity by hearing different voices for different characters in the
passage. This was a lot of fun and I loved being a part of the activity. The students were asked to
work on the questions independently and then discuss them with the group. It was interesting to
notice the pace at which each student worked as they reread the passage and answered the
corresponding questions, because I could tell that some students worked at a faster pace while
others a much slower pace. When the students were going over their answers as table groups, I
noticed that a group was disagreeing over one of the answers. I took the initiative to join their
conversation and try to lead the group into a discussion to where they could agree on an answer.
They seemed to really benefit from this because as we talked about the possibilities and looked
back through the passage, two of the students who had picked the same answer, which was an
incorrect answer, realized that their answer was wrong and that the other student at their table
had indeed found the correct answer. I made sure to ask the students why the correct answer was
the correct one because I wanted to make sure that they understood why that answer was correct
over the other choices.
At the end of the morning, I was able to help my teacher check over the students work,
since they went to their special for the day. I also was able to talk to her and give her some
insight about my first observations of the student I am writing my case study about. It was
awesome to talk about with her because she said she completely agrees with everything I see and
thinks that I can be a help to her too when I let her know what I see and observe about this child.
Overall I feel that my time in the classroom today was spent in a very beneficial manner and with
each new day in the field I feel that I am learning so much more and broadening my teaching
horizons.


Field Response 2/27/14

Now that this is the third time Ive been in my classroom, I am able to follow more of a
routine and know my place and what I should do here. When I arrived, I took the initiative to
grade various assessments and writing samples that were left on the back table for me to work
with. It makes me feel great that my co-op is able to trust me to grade things for her and that I
have a purpose for being there. I also feel that having experience with doing different tasks in the
classroom will help me become even more prepared for my future career as a teacher. During
math time, I circulated around the room and helped the students when they needed help on their
geometry worksheets. It was great to feel like these students saw me as a teacher figure because
they listened to me and treated me like I was another teacher.
Today was also the day I would be implementing my first lesson plan and get observed. I
was nervous but confident at the same time. What was unfortunate was that my lesson was
unable to be started on time, so I had to take the initiative to improvise and change my lesson so
that we could do as much as possible in a shortened amount of time. I made sure to think about
the main aspects I wanted the students, who were participating in my lesson to take away from
the activities, and shortened or deleted other parts that I felt werent as important. Overall I feel
that my lesson went well and I felt comfortable and confident when administering it. I was very
pleased to see that the two students I was conducting the lesson with responded well to my
teaching and were involved and engaged in the work and discussion. There are definitely aspects
of my lesson that I would change in the future, and specific skills I can work on for future
lessons. I received very beneficial feedback and constructive criticism from my professor which
greatly helped me to think about what I will do and work on for future lessons. My co-op and I
also get along very well and collaborate on ideas and observations about the classroom. I feel
very welcome and comfortable in this room, and I cannot wait to see what the rest of the
semester in this classroom and with my lessons has in store for me!


Field Response 3/4/14

Today in the field, my co-op was unable to be at school again so I asked if I could go to
another 4
th
grade room so that I wasnt observing and participating in a classroom that was too
far off of the grade level of the usual classroom that I go to. I went to the 4
th
grade classroom that
my roommate Taylor is in, and it was definitely a great experience seeing the 4
th
grade from
another perspective! I was able to take initiative and help the students with their math work
during math time. In this school, the students switch classrooms for different subjects, so there
were a few students I knew from my classroom who were in this classroom for math. I took the
initiative to help a student who I knew from my class who was struggling with writing a decimal
in expanded form. I sat with her for a good amount of time explaining the concept to her until
she got it! I believe that by hearing something explained from multiple sources can really help
someone learn a concept, which I think happened here with the actual teachers explanation and
my own explanation. During Language Arts, the students were independently working on PSSA
prompts, so I began thinking about my case study and started to formulate part one as I looked
around the room every so often to observe the children. It was amazing to see how well the 4
th

graders worked independently, and seemed so engaged in their work. They didnt talk to one
another and you could see the students writing and thinking, and even going back and rereading
the passage for further clarification. It was definitely interesting to be in another 4
th
grade
classroom in the school and a good experience, but I cant wait to be back in my classroom to
learn more about my students and how my co-op teaches on Thursday!


Field Response 3/6/14

Today I was back in my field classroom and I couldnt have been happier! As
usual, there was a stack of things for me to help my co-op with on the back table and I now know
the routine that I myself practice in the morning. I was able to grade the students reading
comprehension homework, put together Idiom booklets that they will be using this Friday, and
cut some papers that my co-op needed me to cut. Although this may seem like busy work, I
know that when I am a teacher in my own classroom that Ill have to be doing all of these things,
so it is definitely good practice and I love to be of help to whatever my co-op needs and trust me
to do.
During the math period, I was able to take a student aside and help her with measuring
angles by using a protractor, because she was absent when this lesson took place. This was a
good experience for me to directly teach a concept one-on-one with a student. I was able to
notice a change in how this student looked at the problems after I explained the concept, and you
could see in her face when the spark clicked when she understood the concept. I really felt like
an actual teacher today during this one-on-one time with the student, and I feel that I truly helped
her understand the concept.
When the students have math, there are not enough desks in my classroom for all of the
students who come in from the other rooms. One boy who is in my classroom always offers up
his seat and moves to a small table where he sits alone. Today the teacher called for the students
to check their answers and discuss with partners, so I took the initiative to go over to this boy and
offer to be his partner. I let him tell me his answers and explain why he believed they were
correct. At a later point in the math period, my co-op called for partner work once again, so I
offered to be this students partner for the next activity.
Two girls who go to another room for math came back fairly early today. They sat in the
back of the room reading a self-selected book, but you could tell that they truly werent focused
on their reading as much as they were whispering to one another. The teacher stated that they
should join us in the math activity we were finishing, so I set them up with papers, pencils, and
protractors at the back table and explained to them what we were doing in the activity. I
monitored their work and gave them feedback as well. I felt that the students are more used to
me being in the classroom now and respect me as an adult figure.
Language arts consisted of PSSA practice again, so this was an ample time for me to
observe the student that I am writing about for my case study. I use the Evernote app on the Ipad
to take my notes, and I watched how this student worked during this time. With each day that
Im in my classroom, I feel that I get to learn my co-op, the students, and the routine and
classroom management a little better each day. I hope that with my further help and lessons that I
present to the classroom will benefit my learning as a teacher candidate!