Andie Stalder (Casper

)

Shadow Study

I am currently student teaching in Carl Junction, Missouri in a first grade classroom. For

this assignment I observed a girl in my class, let’s call her Rae, who could be considered an at-

risk student. I say this because of the background that she comes from and the minimal education

opportunities she was able to be exposed to. I observed her throughout the entire day. I started

monitoring her behavior as soon as she arrived to school and I ended my notes at the end of the

day. She walks to and from school every day.

Rae is not a disruptive child by any means. Throughout the entire day she was quiet.

Whichever person, adult or student, that was talking to her did not change her behavior. She

would make eye contact with the adult speaking with her but would reply timidly. In the

mornings, out in the hallway, Rae sits by herself. Although she is by herself most of the time, she

seems eager to converse with her peers. When a peer opened a cool library book, she was right

there with the rest of the class, trying to get into the conversation. She sits close to her classmates

that are girls and tries to converse with them. They did not let her into the conversation, so she

sat and listened. This was a frequent occurrence throughout the day.

During group instruction time, Rae does not volunteer. Whenever the teacher is

instructing the students, Rae presents actions that allude to a lack of attention. She gazes into the

distance, studies different objects around the room, plays with her shoes, and plays with her hair.

When the teacher asks a question, Rae does not raise her hand to answer unless the teacher stops

and waits until every hand is raised. Sometimes in group instruction, the teacher will use a

strategy that requires students to turn and talk to their neighbor. As I observed Rae, she let her

partner do all of the talking and reasoning while she listened. After the partner finished walking

through the question and possible answers, Rae would just agree. She did this three times.
Andie Stalder (Casper)

During individual work time, Rae needs minimal redirecting to stay on task to finish her

work. She works quietly, although sometimes she gets into conversations with her neighboring

peers. It only takes the teacher one reminder of what is expected to redirect her to her work. She

struggles with her math homework. She is distracted the most during math instruction time and

that is reflected in her work. She tends to get confused with place value. Counting by fives and

tens puzzles her. Instead of adding a ten she will count by ones. In addition of tens she will also

make the mistake of adding ones instead.

During guided reading instruction time, she reads her book with fluency and expression.

She stays on task, whisper reading at her desk. Before she reads a page, she studies the picture

and then reads the text. She has trouble with comprehension and paying attention to what she is

reading. While she reads, she follows along the text with her pointer finger. As Mrs. Schmidt

examines the group’s comprehension during Guided Reading, Rae will look to her peers for the

answer. When Rae is specifically asked a question, her voice is quiet and reserved. She reads

well, using strategies to help decode words, but she has a very difficult time retelling what she

has read. After much prompting, she will give surface level answers. When she is writing, she

has yet to illustrate an understanding of sentence structure. She writes simple, short statements

that resemble half of a sentence. When she writes sentences, she writes them with capital letters

and punctuation 50% of the time. I observed her reading and writing very close to the page.

As stated earlier, when Rae is speaking with Mrs. Schmidt she is very quiet and reserved

with her speech. Sometimes she has to repeat herself for Mrs. Schmidt to understand what she is

saying. She seems to take her time to answer questions while also exhibiting some anxiety when

she is called on. When the conversations with a teacher are outside of instruction time, Rae is

eager to converse and discuss different topics, especially if it is about her. When a teacher takes
Andie Stalder (Casper)

interest in what she is saying or speaking about, she brightens up and speaks louder. With other

adults in the building such as the librarian, P.E. teacher, and lunch ladies, she is still quiet. Rae

will talk more outside of the classroom, but it still is very quiet and it is hard to hear what she is

saying.

Most of the time Rae plays by herself outside during recess. She swings quite frequently.

She also climbs the play equipment to slide down the slide. She does not normally run around

with her classmates playing tag or hide and seek. She does try to socialize and play with the

groups of girls, but that does not last more than 5 minutes or so.

After all of my observations and notes I came to 3 areas for insights and possible

interventions. I came to the conclusion that Rae’s comprehension, math, and attention would be

areas I would look at to develop and enrich. Rae seems to be performing well in reading and not

having any trouble other than comprehending. The day after I observed Rae, Mrs. Schmidt

discussed with Rae the importance of reading for learning and reading with the thought of

remembering what would happen in the story. Saying that upfront and reminding Rae of what

she is going to do after she reads helped her reflect back in the book. She still was not able to

make many deeper level connections but she was more easily able to reflect back and discuss

what happened in the story she read. Even though she appeared to improve after the reminders, I

would still implement more questioning or activities that stimulated comprehension of the story.

If the story presented events in a specific order, I would have her put pictures of the objects or

actions in order. I would also insert a writing activity geared toward expanding her connection to

the story. Putting herself in the story, what would she have done in a certain situation, if it was

her party- what would it look like, etc. Since the students take their books home to read at night,
Andie Stalder (Casper)

I would also send questions home for the parents to ask Rae after she reads so that she could

work on comprehension at home as well.

Mathematics and attention essentially go hand-in-hand with Rae. She demonstrates

attention deficit most of the day, but it is most noticeable during math lessons. To eliminate any

tiredness that might deter her from paying attention, I would add a brain break video right before

the lesson to get her and the other students moving. I would also walk by her frequently as I was

teaching, and maybe if she was off task, I would put my hand on her shoulder or lightly tap her

to get her attention. This would show her I can see that she is off task, while not singling her out.

To help her work on her mathematical processes as well as be on guard for being called on, I

would call on her more often. I would call on her even if she had not raised her hand. This would

be to just gauge her understanding and thinking and possibly have the entire class chime in to

discuss if the problem was right/wrong. The students in my class go back and forth from their

desk to the floor in front of the smartboard. They complete a certain number of problems then go

to the front of the room to talk about them and discuss the process/answers. To help Rae I might

need to go check her answers and note the thinking she presents so that I could bring that up to

the whole group and work through it. I could then have each student check their paper. Another

way I could help Rae with math would be to pull her throughout the day for extra tutoring time

over that days’ lesson. If I had any free time where the students were just working or silent

reading, I could pull her to the side and have her work through problems or discuss the concepts

that were taught.

For attention throughout the day, reminders work well. Rae should not need reminders,

but with one reminder she is usually well off. If she seems to be spaced out at times, I might try

to get her moving somehow. Whether that is to walk and get a drink, do jumping jacks, or do a
Andie Stalder (Casper)

brain break I think it would be beneficial for her. I could even go ask far as creating a chart for

her. Every time she was caught being off task, she would get a check. After so many checks she

would have to spend time in the classroom during recess.

One other detail I noticed as I observed her was that she acts like she may need glasses.

One of Rae’s eyes tends to go cross-eyed, so I am thinking that she would benefit from glasses.

Seeing how close she gets to pages as she reads and when she writes, I think it is a good

possibility that she has a hard time seeing. This would be something I could bring up with the

family or have the nurse check her eyesight.