Tabatha Payne

January 26, 2013 Physical Features/Classroom Arrangement:

Contextual Factors

In the First and Second Grade Montessori classroom there are centers set up where every child can reach the materials. There is a Science, Math, Writing/language, and Social Studies center. Each center is equipped with materials for the children to explore and engage in their own learning’s. There is also a small center, located near that social studies center that is set up for practical life. There are four computers located at the back of the room for student use, and also four tables throughout the room. The tables are usually only used for writing and breakfast. At the back of the room, there is a sink and water fountain. On some of the counter space, there are snacks for the children. There is a filing cabinet near the teachers table, with student work that needs to be filed. Within the teachers “nook” there is a shelf (floor to roof) that is full of papers and some materials for students. The filing cabinet next to it is full of student crayon boxes, that they can access at any time they need crayons, markers, and pencils. Near the math center, and bead shelf, is tub full of mats for the children to save their own work space, on the floor, throughout the room. Availability of Technology/ Equipment: There are four computers located in the back of the room. There is a smart board located on the front wall of the room. The teachers’ computer is underneath the smart board and is where she displays videos and sometimes short lessons during class meetings. Learning environment/Resources: The whole school is very welcoming and friendly to all of its visitors. The school is very clean and child friendly, as is the Montessori classroom. Within the school there are two other Elementary Montessori classes. Two out of the three elementary Montessori classes only have one teacher, no teacher assistant. On another hall in the school there are two primary Montessori classrooms. Within the classroom, there is a bathroom for student use. The classroom is set up in centers. Unfortunately a few of the lessons are missing pieces and are broken. Yet, the teacher is very welcoming to her students and allows the children to collaborate and work together. Some of the resources in the room include a bathroom for student use, a sink, and a water fountain. As stated, there are many materials for students to work with throughout the work day. A smart board and main teacher computer are also relevant within the work day. In the school, there is a computer lab for student use, a media center/library for checking out books and reading. There is also a P.E. room. There is a speech teacher and ESOL teacher that come to the location of the class, and ask for certain individual students to be excused for other instructional help. They are then returned to the whole class after approximately 45minutes to an hour. Parent Involvement: Within the classroom it is easily seen that some parents are involved and some are not. With the help of my host teacher, I was made aware that several of the students in the class room ride to
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Tabatha Payne

January 26, 2013

Contextual Factors

and from school on a charter bus. One particular student’s parents have no will to help their child with homework. There were also some other incidents where this child was asked, why did your parent not sign this paper, and the child responded that her mother said she did not have time for it. Other students in the classroom have parents that are very much involved with their child’s schooling. An example of this, on my second day within my host classroom, a student came up to me and said her mother wanted to know if I was there to learn from the “professionals.” When I answered yes, the student said ok and indicated to me that she would let her parent know. Classroom rules: Some of the classroom rules and expectations that are apparent with in the classroom are indicated through the ways in which students cooperatively work together. It is expected that the students help each other learn and understand material presented to them. Students are also required to place materials and lessons back on indicated shelves. It is asked of the students to make sure they mix some lessons back up, as to pose a challenge to the next person that will be working with the materials. Students are to remain quiet during work time and when lessons are being given. They are asked to be sure to pay attention to the content so they will understand how to handle and take care of materials, while exploring lessons themselves. Grouping patterns: For the most part, the second and first graders stay together in whole group lessons. The teacher focuses on lessons that both grade levels can learn. If the second graders have already had a lesson that the first graders need to know, the teacher calls it a “refresher.” Later, during individual work time, all of the children have their own work plans; they can work together on some of the lessons, but mostly individually with occasional questions to and from their peers and teacher. Students work in whole group, small groups, and individually to accomplish set work plans for the day. Periodically, the teacher works one on one with a student and introduces a new concept for them to learn. When she teaches individually and in whole group, she discusses what the students should accomplish by the end of a lesson, talks about the appropriate ways to handle materials, models what is to be done, and then leaves it up to the children when to accomplish that particular lesson within the work day. Scheduling/Routines: An example of a typical day: Morning Routine: 7:40am-8:00am (includes breakfast and taking out folders), Activity: 8:008:50 ( outside of set classroom, in another room within the school), Calendar: 8:50-9:05, Morning work cycle: 9:05-11:25 (work time where the teacher meets with students individually to discuss what they will accomplish within the day while others work in small groups or individually), Class meetings 11:00-11:25 (usually a book in read to the whole class or some

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Tabatha Payne

January 26, 2013

Contextual Factors

type of education short video is played), Lunch: 11:30-12:05, Recess: 12:10-12:30, Afternoon work cycle: 12:30-2:05, Read Aloud: 2:05-2:20, Pack up/dismissal: 2:20-2:35 Student Characteristics and Demographics Description Nos. of Children Age Six Seven eight Race/ Ethnicity African American Hispanic Caucasian Special Needs ESOL Speech/504 Plan Grade First Second Female 10 3 5 2 3 1 6 1 0 5 5 Male 9 5 3 1 4 1 4 0 1 7 2 Total 19 8 8 3 7 2 10 1 1 12 7

Implications It is important to have an understanding of demographics in the classroom because all students come from different backgrounds. Students have different cultural backgrounds and children do not learn on the same instructional level. As a teacher I have to be able to address the many different needs of each one on my students. One of the many challenges within the classroom that needs to be addressed is the language barrier with Hispanic children. As a teacher, it is my job to make sure that all of my students reach academic goals no matter the language barrier. However it is very important not to judge a student’s status based on their home environments. It is essential to work with families as well. For instance, if the at home environment only speaks Spanish, as a teacher it is my job to provide those families with other sources to be sure that the parents and guardians can be part of the students’ academic success. Also, I need to be sure to
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Tabatha Payne

January 26, 2013

Contextual Factors

plan instruction for my ESOL and speech students. I need to understand that they will be coming and going out of the classroom for extra instructional help. Therefore, understanding the many different backgrounds of my students is essential to plan purposeful and meaningful instruction for each one of my many culturally and academically diverse students.

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