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Deanna Garcia

LBS 203: M 9:00 11:45

CSU Dominguez Hills

November 16, 2015

Classroom Observation
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During my observation Ms. Juarez, a third grade teacher, began her math lesson plan with

a division word problem. This was my first time observing an elementary teacher instructing

students using the math common core standard guidelines. Ms. Juarez instructed her students to

sit on the rug while she introduced them to the word division problem. In essence, the question

asked students to divide 28 cookies equally between 4 children, and to divide 81 cookies equally

between 9 children. The students returned to their desk to use their math tools, or manipulatives,

to find a solution. Richard Mayer, a Professor of Psychology at the University of California,

facilitates the use of math tools and believes that abstract ideas need to be first made concrete

through the use of manipulatives, and examples. (Mayer) After finding a solution that seemed

plausible, the students wrote their findings in a spiral notebook. First, they drew pictures that

mimicked their findings using the cubes, and then they wrote a thorough report on their

strategies. To finish out the assignment, students wrote out a division problem that was

equivalent to the word problem, and went to the rug to discuss the problem and strategies

together. Eventually,thestudentsfoundthatthewordproblemcouldbewrittenas244=6.

The experience of observing Ms. Juarezs third grade classroom had many

similarities to my observation of Ms. L Perezs Kindergarten classroom. Both teachers had an

orderly flow to their class instruction, incorporated a pattern of group discussion before

instructing students to start individual work, and valued students in depth understanding over the

quantity of work being accomplished. During my observation, Ms. L Perez gave a lesson plan

that followed the common core language arts standards. Ms. L Perez had her students sit on the

rug while she modeled a writing assignment. The students were instructed to create a patterns

book that repeated one common phrase, incorporated a place theyve visited, and something they

liked there. After discussing ideas and examples in a group the children returned to their tables.
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In contrast to Ms. Juarezs class, I noticed that some of Ms. L Perezs students really struggled

with the concept of the assignment. Overall, most of the class needed little help and wrote

complete sentences on their own, while others students just drew pictures and scribbled on the

pages.

The part of the observation I was most interested in was the teachers approach

and strategies when dealing with students who have difficulties with an assignment. I

immediately noticed that Ms. L Perez walked around the classroom and quietly pulled students,

who were having difficulties, to work with her at her table. When these students demonstrated an

understanding of the assignment she sent them back to their table to continue their individual

work. Ms. Juarez also walked around the room and sat with children while they worked on their

math problem. Instead of pulling students, she asked questions to gage their understanding, and

specifically asked for their strategies and not answers. Ms. Juarez never told her students that

their solutions to the problem were wrong, and instead instructed them to review their math

notebooks and use their notations to guide their math strategies. Dealing with difficult students

also required the teachers to have a motivational approach. Both teachers used a similar approach

of acknowledging students who were portraying exemplary behavior, and used encouraging

statements to motivate the classroom.

Overall,theobservationsboreapositiveimpressionandhelpedmegainnew

strategiestouseinmyownclassroomoneday.Itwasnoticeablethatbothteachershad

previouslyestablishedtherulesandappropriateclassroombehaviorwiththeirstudents,which

ledtolittledisruptionduringthelessonplan.Bothteachershadcleanandorganizedclassrooms

withaplethoraofpostersthatremindedstudentsofdailyschedules,strategies,ideas,thewriting

process,mathematicalvocabulary,andrules.Atfirstthepostersandbulletinboardsseemed
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overwhelming,butInoticedthatstudentsfindtheremindershelpfulandregularlyusethemas

guides.Inconclusion,Iwalkedawayfrombothobservationswithanewunderstandingand

insightonhowcommoncoreintheelementaryclassroomshouldbetaught.
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Ms. Juarez Teacher Interview

If students are not at grade level, what do you do to help them?


Ms. Juarez stated that she first tries to give the students more one on one time. If students are
having difficulties with a particular subject she has them participate in the schools learning
center, or after school intervention program. If a student is still far below grade level, she
consults school administration to get the student evaluated for an IEP, so that they can get
additional services.

What would be your advice for future teachers?


Ms. Juarez advised that future teachers should get as much classroom experience as they can
through observations, volunteering, or employment. She stated that in class experience would
help a future teacher gain strategies for creating lesson plans, classroom management, and
engaging students.

What is one of the greatest challenges of teaching?


Ms. Juarez stated that her personal greatest challenge of teaching is working with students who
are below grade level, or who have an IEP in a general education classroom. Its hard for her to
give these students specific instruction at a slower pace to meet their needs, when the rest of the
class is at a much higher level.

How do you feel about Math Common Core?


Ms. Juarez enjoys the new math common core because the students work with
tools/manipulatives, and have to write out their strategies/process for solving a problem. She felt
that the old way consisted of students copying their teachers methods. Now, students can gain
in-depth knowledge of a mathematical problem through the use of their tools, group, and
independent work.