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TWS 1: Contextual Factors
Student Teaching Fall 2014
Channa Griham
Classroom Factors
Physical Features
When you first walk into Mrs. Perez’s third grade classroom, the mood of the
environment is very pleasant. The classroom walls are appealing to the eye and would keep
anyone who walked in interested. When you look around the classroom you are able to see many
resources that are there to help the students succeed. There are many charts created by the
teacher with the students that cover various subjects. The first thing you would see is a bulletin
board where the students create their lunch choice. It is a creative way for the students to choose
what they want to eat for lunch and is an easy way for the teacher to record this information
daily. Next to this area you will find the SmartBoard. The SmartBoard is used daily to help teach
lessons. Every lesson is projected onto the SmartBoard so that students are able to see the
presentations. Students are allowed to be interactive during these lessons and participate in small
activities.
Next to all of this you will find the cooperating teacher’s table. For the teachers work
area, she uses a kidney shaped table to keep her papers and other resources she would need
during her lessons. This table is also used to conduct her reading groups each day. In the little
corner next to her table, all of her resources are on a shelf and all of her lesson plans are
organized in folders. Whenever she needs any of her resources, she is able to easily find them
because they are all organized on the book shelf. You can tell that her space is organized to make
her day go by easier.
When you first walk in you will also notice that the desks are arranged in a different way.
In many elementary classes you will find the desks in groups. When you walk into this
classroom you will notice that the desks are arranged into small rows. The rows are arranged so
that the students are able to easily see the SmartBoard. When observing the class, I have come to
understand why the desks are arranged this way. Some students have trouble focusing during
lessons so having all of them facing the board will help eliminate distractions. Another
interesting seating arrangement is that many of the students are seated next to students who have
similar academic abilities. Students who are on the same reading and math levels sit around each
other so that they can work together to complete assignments. I find this very beneficial for the
students so that they have help and support from others who have the same learning ability. In
some cases, quiet students are seated by the noisier students to eliminate talking in the
classroom.

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In the back of the room, you will find bookshelves that are hung up on the wall. In these
book shelves there are books for the students to read that are on different topics. Students are
allowed to read these books whenever it pertains to what they are learning for that day. You can
also find teaching resources on these shelves. You can find the teacher edition books for all of
the subjects that are taught in that classroom. You can also find resources that the cooperating
teacher uses for guided reading lessons and shared reading lessons. These shelves are very
organized and are easy to navigate through when you are looking for a text.
Technology
Technology is very much incorporated into the classroom. For almost every lesson, the
SmartBoard is used. The SmartBoard is a fun and interactive way for the students to get involved
with the lesson. The teacher allows the students to come up to the board and work out problems
that are part of the lesson. The children love to get a chance to come to the board and work out
the problems. The SmartBoard is a great way to engage students in their learning and keeps the
students wanting to participate more during lessons. In the back of the room, there are also
computers that the students are allowed to use. These computers are used for educational games
and other assignments that the teacher may assign them. An example of software that the
students are using is called Odyssey. Students are able to go to the computers and work on their
math or ELA skills with fun and interactive games. The computers are set towards the back of
the room so that they will not be a distraction for the students while they are working. The
computers are facing the back wall, so the students will only be focused on their activities that
they are to complete on the computer.
Parental Involvement
Parental involvement is very much encouraged in the classroom. My cooperating teacher
makes sure that she is available for parents whenever they need her. She makes sure every parent
in the classroom has her email address and has her updated contact information. If she sees needs
to have conferences with parents she makes sure that she makes contact so that they can hold a
conference to solve the issues. My cooperating teacher has mentioned that many parents will
check in with her to see how their child is doing and to see their progress in the class. Parents
will send notes in by their children to make contact with the teacher when they have a question
or concern. Many parents are open to come in for conferences whenever there is need to have
one.
Class Routine
Every morning the students follow a strict routine. When students first come into the
classroom in the morning they begin to work on their morning work. The teacher has all of the
morning assignments listed on the board for the students to work on. Students will turn in their
homework during this time and they also eat breakfast. When the students are done with their
morning work, they go over it together as a class. The day then begins and students begin core

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subjects. In the morning during RTI pullout, Mrs. Perez conducts her guided reading groups.
During this time, the other students are completing their word of the day assignment or
completing activities on odyssey. After ELA students begin their math lesson for the day.
Following math, students go out for recess and then come back in to head to lunch. After lunch,
we continue with South Carolina history or science. It all depends on which week we are on
because we alternate each subject weekly. At the end of the day the students go to activity except
on Monday when they go early in the morning. Students are then dismissed for the day from
which ever related arts they are in.
Student Characteristics
Overview of Student Demographics

Student Demographics
Total Number of Students

20

Total Caucasian Students

9

Total African-American Students

9

Total Latino/Hispanic Students

1

Total Asian/Pacific Island Students

1

Total Other Race Students (if any)

0

Total Male Students

10

Total Female Students

10

Special Services Count
How many students receive Speech
Services
How many students receive ESOL
Services

1

How many students are in Resource

0

2

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How many students are pulled out for
Reading Interventions
How many students are pulled out for
Math Interventions
How many students receive Gifted and
Talented Services
Any other special services which are not
mentioned

5
5
0
4-After School Program

Student Test Scores Count
Number of students on grade-level in
Reading
Number of students above grade-level in
Reading
Number of students below grade-level in
Reading
Number of students on grade-level in
Mathematics
Number of students above grade-level in
Mathematics
Number of students below grade-level in
Mathematics
Tier Break-Down

7
3
10
3
1
16

Number of students who are Tier I

15

Number of students who are Tier II

6

Number of students who are Tier III

0

As you can see from the charts above, there are many diverse students in this third grade
class. Many of the students who are in this classroom do not meet grade level requirements.
There are six students who are in tier II and receive pullout for reading and math. Three of these
students are African American, one student is ESOL and the remaining two students are
Caucasian. These students receive pull out from RTI instructors and also work with me in small
groups. When working with the small groups, I work on math as well as guided reading

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strategies. One of these students is ESOL and has accommodations made out in her permanent
record. I make sure to acknowledge these accommodations when working with her one on one.
There are no written IEP’s in my classroom this semester.
MAP Reading and Math
In the fall, the students in my classroom participated in MAP testing. Students took the
reading MAP test one week and the math test the following week. When analyzing the scores, I
have realized that many of my students are below grade level in multiple subjects. This group of
students is very low compared to what I have worked with in the past. Students seemed to score
better on the math test than they did on the reading. When looking at grades students receive in
the classroom, these results seem to mirror the grades they made on the test. It was very
interesting to see the scores of the students on the test and how low they had scored. Out of all of
my students, only six receive RTI services for math and five receive RTI services for reading.
There are four students in these groups that receive both reading and math. After analyzing these
scores, I realized I have a lot of accommodations to make for my students to make sure that they
are successful in the classroom. I will keep the students’ scores in mind when I am creating my
lessons and when choosing which instructional strategies I should use with my students. I am
hoping to see growth in my students whenever they take the same MAP tests in the spring.
Instructional Implications
Overview
When evaluating the contextual factors for this third grade classroom, there are many
factors that will influence my instruction throughout the semester. Some of the main factors that
I see posing difficulties are the number of students in my classroom that are below level and the
high volume of diversity among my students. When taking these two contextual factors into
account, I will have to make necessary modifications to my instruction to help these students
succeed in the classroom.
Below Level Students
When reviewing the students’ test scores, I have realized that I have many
accommodations that I am going to have to make in order to help my students become
successful. When analyzing the student’s data, there are 10 students in reading who are below
grade level and only 7 students who are on grade level. The remaining 3 students are above grade
level. This means that half of the students in this third grade class are below grade level in
reading. Also, when reviewing the students’ scores in math, 16 students are below grade level, 3
students are on and 1 student is above grade level. This is the lowest group that I have worked
with since starting my clinical experience. It is going to be a challenge, but it is one that I willing
to face. I am going to have to make sure to use a variety of instructional strategies with my
students to make sure they succeed in the classroom. Some of the strategies I plan to use with my

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students in reading are to work with small guided reading groups to work on their fluency and
comprehension. Another strategy I will use is to guide my students with mini-lessons. I will
teach a variety of mini-lessons that will target the students’ needs and that will benefit them to
improve their reading. There are a variety of instructional strategies that I will implement in
reading groups that will help my students grow. When working with students in math, I will
make sure that as a teacher, I am meeting the needs of every student. I will target processing
skills in daily math and I will work with small groups on various concepts in math that may be
confusing to students. I will offer extra practice in core math concepts and also offer my
assistance to any student who may need them. My main goal is to see my student’s progress in
their learning. I want to make sure that by using a variety of instructional strategies, I will target
each and every student’s needs. By focusing on my students who are struggling or below grade
level, I will be making the necessary accommodations that will help my students throughout their
school career.
Diversity in the Classroom
As a teacher I must also take in consideration the diversity of the classroom. There are
going to be many needs of students that need to be met. For the students who have behavior
problems, problems following instructions and following routines, they are going to need extra
guidance to make sure they are kept on task. By giving the students the responsibility of making
sure that they complete their tasks and display the proper behavior, will help them improve their
behaviors. When planning lessons, I will need to take into account the mastery levels of each
individual child. The lessons need to be planned where each child is able to obtain the important
information that is being taught and what they are expected to master. Another strategy that I
will implement in my classroom to help diversity is the idea of cooperative learning. Studies
have shown that students of different backgrounds tend to work better with others when
completing tasks. In a study, African American males tend to support their peers and also have a
collaborative approach to learning. There is a high number of African American students in my
classroom in which this strategy will benefit. By making sure I give these students the
opportunity to work with others, I will be addressing their strengths of learning. I will make sure
to incorporate cooperative learning into my classroom as much as possible this semester to
benefit the diverse students in my classroom. All of these accommodations correspond with the
students specific needs for them to be successful in my classroom this semester.