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Department of Teacher Education & Learning Sciences

Elementary Education Program

Formal Observation Reflection
Directions: Complete the reflection questions and submit your response to your observer prior to having a post-
conference to discuss the observation. If a conference is held immediately after the observation you will submit
your responses to the observer the following day via email.

Name: Audrey Moore Date: 11/8/17

1. To what extent were learning outcomes appropriate and achievable to your

I think that this lesson allowed students to meet the main learning objectives in an
appropriate way. The outcomes were for students to:
1. Create a list of items that they would want to bring with them if they were going to a
new place.
2. Classify what things are needs, and what are wants.
3. Be able to talk about the experience of the Pilgrims of the Mayflower, and talk
about why we celebrate Thanksgiving today.
All of these learning outcomes were appropriate for my students, especially
since this was the introductory lesson to needs and wants. Students were
introduced to needs and wants through the sort at the beginning, talking about
needs and wants of the pilgrims, and then practicing sorting needs and wants by
making personal choices to them! The students were definitely able to meet the
first outcome of brainstorming items that they would want to bring on a trip and
then classifying what things are needs and what are wants by distinguishing
between the two. Students were able to talk about how the Pilgrims felt on the
Mayflower because the book detailed the good and the bad things about their
journey. The outcome of being able to talk about why we celebrate Thanksgiving
could have been met because the book talked about it, but because of time, the
discussion was limited, and we only briefly covered it.

2. How effective were your instructional strategies? What changes would you
make in your instructional approaches if you taught this lesson again? Why?

I think it was effective to do a sort where I modeled my thinking first, and then
had students come up and explain their answer. If I were to teach this lesson again, I
would emphasize that the 4 main needs were food, water, clothing, and shelter. After
the sort was completed, I would have students repeat together the 4 main needs a few
times, in order to get that into their minds.
At first, I was planning to ask questions about the story at the end, but since it
was a lot of new material, I decided to pause the story every so often and ask
questions, to ensure that students were following along, and reinforce concepts that
weren’t clear.
3. Evaluate the effectiveness of your oral and written communication with
students. (Consider how well you communicated learning objectives, clarity of directions, use of
standard English, quality of questions and effectiveness of discussion techniques.)

I began the lesson by stating that “today, we are going to talk about things that we want,
and things that we need.” It was effective to cue students in to exactly what we would be
learning during the lesson.
I tried to vary my discussion techniques by doing direct questions and answers, as well as
a turn and talk with a partner, to let all students have a chance to practice speaking.
I think that my directions for activities were relatively clear over all, but if I were to have a
chance to do this lesson over again, I would have scaffolded the suitcase sorting activity
more. Before sending students out to choose which pictures would go in their suitcase, I
would have reviewed what options were available to choose from beforehand. I would do this
because some students may not have prior knowledge on what some of the pictures are.

4. Evaluate the level of student engagement in your lesson . (Consider how you presented
the content/skills, the activities and assignments for students, grouping of students, and structure and
pacing of the lesson.)

Overall, I think that students were very engaged in the lesson, based on how they
behaved and the responses they gave when I asked questions. Students were excited
to move around in the beginning and get to come up to the smart board to sort an
object. I wish that I could have given every student a chance to come up, but the
students who were on the carpet were well behaved.
Students were quiet during the YouTube story. There were occasional moments
where they became chatty about some of the questions or comments I made when I
paused it, but that is only to be expected in a Kindergarten classroom.
The students really enjoyed the suitcase sorting activity, and some were so
engrossed in it that they did not want to stop when it was time. Since it was a partner
activity, they had to compromise with another student, which caused them not only to
engage in the activity, but also engage in active discussion.

5.How effectively did you use instructional materials, resources, and/or
I was able to use the smart board for this lesson, so I decided let students
physically sort needs and wants at the beginning, by sliding images into the correct
categories. I think that this activity was more effective than just having a discussion
about needs and wants, because students got to associate vocabulary with images.
Visuals are extremely important for my ESL students. Also, students got excited to
have a turn at the smart board, so it was motivating for them behave on the carpet so
that they would get a chance to come up and move an image.
My mentor teacher suggested using a YouTube read aloud video of my book,
versus reading a hard copy of it to the class, because they are extremely motivated by
videos, and I think this was a good choice because they were quiet and behaved on
the carpet. The video showed the picture on a larger scale, which ensured that
everyone could see.
I am happy with how the suitcase sorting activity went because students could
show me what they know about needs and wants by putting them into the correct
categories. I think that maybe giving the students less options of pictures may have
been less overwhelming for them.
6. To what extent were your assessment strategies effective? What changes would
you make in your assessment approach if you taught this lesson again? Why?

My main assessment was the needs and wants sort. I had students work on
the needs and wants sorts in pairs, in order to simulate a family trip experience, but I
think in terms of assessment, it may have been easier to have let the students work
alone, to show me what they really knew on their own. My thinking in having students
work in pairs is that it would be easier for ESL students to grasp the vocabulary if they
got to talk with a partner and use dialogue with them. The main outcome to be met for
this lesson was to classify what things are needs and what are wants, so overall I think
all students got a good introduction to this concept.
One of my other learning goals was for students to be able to talk about the
experience of the Pilgrims of the Mayflower, and talk about why we celebrate
Thanksgiving today. We got the opportunity to discuss it at the end, and how the native
people helped the pilgrims, but I think that if I had more time next time, I could have
had a more explicit discussion about how Thanksgiving came about.

7. To what extent was your feedback to students accurate, substantive,
constructive, specific, and/or timely?

I am glad that I asked students the question about “What would you bring on
the Mayflower with you?” because the conversations I heard students having were
thoughtful and I could tell that they were really thinking about what they would have
wanted to have. I didn’t get to visit with every group, and some groups moved to far
spots around the room, so to give students feedback on their responses, I should have
had some students share out before moving on.
I was, however, able to give feedback to every group during the wants and needs
sorting activity. If they put an object in a category that didn’t exactly make sense, I
would ask, “Do you need this object to help you live OR How does this object help you
live?” and it would guide them to rethink their answer.

8. To what extent did the classroom management and environment contribute to
student learning? (Consider your classroom procedures, your use of physical space, and the
students’ conduct.)

Many students were excited about what they were seeing in the video, and
wanted to share ideas and make comments whenever I paused it. However, some of
the students continued to talk after the video was started back again, which would
have been distracting to the other students, and I could have done a better job of
managing that.
I think it was a good use of space to have the students sitting on the carpet for the
whole group portion of the lesson and the read aloud. This helped me to manage
behavior and gave students less reason to talk and get distracted by peers. While
students were answering questions on the carpet, I would say things like, “I really like
how ___ is sitting so quietly,” or “Thank you for raising your hand, you can have a turn
I think I could have also done a better job of managing behavior of students during
the “turn and talk.” Students moved all around the room, so I should have made my
expectations clear to start with that they should stay in the middle area of the carpet.
Doing this would have saved transition time, and allowed me to visit with more groups
to hear their thinking.
9. Did you make modifications to your lesson plan during the lesson? If so, what
were they and what motivated these changes?

Yes, I made a few modifications. I was originally going to play the entire eleven
minutes of the YouTube story, but I realized once I started playing it that we spent
longer than I thought on the Needs and Wants sort on the smart board at the
beginning. I wanted students to have a chance to work on their suitcase activity at the
end, so I played the beginning of the story to introduce the pilgrims’ journey and some
of their struggles, and then I fast-forwarded to the part about Thanksgiving at the end. I
made this change because I thought that students would still understand the general
idea of the pilgrims from watching some of the video. This change was also motivated
by the fact that it is difficult to have 5 year olds sit still for 11 minutes, especially at the
end of the school day.

10. Was your Teaching Behavior Focus goal met?
I do think that I was able to meet my focus goals of providing clear directions,
because the students all got started on the sort immediately, and most were successful
with it without having to ask for help on directions. Because this lesson was taught at
the end of the day, I was under a time constraint to get the activity finished, and I had
to get students started on it quickly. If I were to teach this lesson again, I would make
sure to review what the pictures were with students, before sending them off to work.
Another goal I had was to engage students through discussion, and have a good
balance between direct instruction and student questioning. I think I was able to meet
this because I asked students “why” they chose to put particular needs and wants into
categories, which gave them a chance to explain their thinking. I also paused the video
frequently to engage students in a discussion about what was happening in the story.
I think that I was able to paraphrase students’ responses well, and not only repeat it
back but say, “Did everyone hear what they said?”. I still want to work on remembering
to build off of students answers, rather than just saying “good job,” but I think that
repeating their answers back for the rest of the class to hear is a good way of letting
the students know that I am listening to them and care about their answers.