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Chad Horner

NELA VI
Elementary Developmental Project

Elementary Personal Reflection

All students who are learning are a pleasure to be around. However, this even

more apparent in the elementary years. Watching students truly learn is a joy and

wonderment to behold. Thinking to babies who are in overload mode from a sensory

point taking in the world around them.

As that same child progresses they start physically trying to maneuver objects

to learn about how they work and feel, and try to understand the difference between

smooth and rough. Trying to understand when is shaken that it makes a rattling sound,

but when a different object is shaken there is no sound.

Progressing further down the line the student then typically will enroll in a

form of pre-kindergarten. This is primarily done through a daycare program. These

students are full of life, and enjoy having the opportunity to learn and grow, as well

as, physically, emotionally, and cognitively, work with their peers.

In observing Ella, her progression appears to be very normal. Children at this

age “are explorers and adventurers who are soaking up the world of knowledge with

incredible speed” (Wood, 2015, p. 47). When I first got to her room, Ella was working

in a small group. Her is teacher was doing direct instruction with the students

completing an art project. The teacher had pre-cut different shapes that would come

together to form a bird.


The teacher would ask the students to “pick up the red circle”. She would then

have students repeat her directions. Watching students comply with these directions

was fascinating. Some students were struggling between shapes. Ella was not one of

these students. She was able to distinguish between both colors and shapes.

I found this activity to be interesting. A wonderful of teaching colors and

shapes, while building an art project. The students all appeared to be enjoying

themselves as well. Following this activity the students received the opportunity to

have play time. Ella was playing with dolls in a group of three other students.

While it appears that she enjoyed playing as a group, she also appeared to drift

in her own imagination. “Short attention spans match their short bodies” (Wood,

2015, p. 49). Social Emotional Learning is the process through which children and

adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to

understand and manage emotional growth is imperative at this age for future positive

relationships. Children have an inner desire to play with other children. Learning how

to do this is a process. Learning to control emotions when things do not go their way.

Observing Ella was very enlightening for me as an individual. Having to have

children of my own, I am not as familiar with milestones, or learning markers at the

younger ages. Transitioning in an actual kindergarten room was truly even more

interesting for the increase in learning in what ultimately is only one year is

outstanding.
Observing a kindergarten classroom is remarkable. The amount of control a

teacher has with her students is awe inspiring. You can witness how close students are

with their teacher and that relationship that is needed. You can also observe the

students who are timid in approaching an adult. This is hard to witness.

In observing the class, I chose a boy who was named Jaden. Jaden was a

student who actually was one of the children that was timid in approaching his

teacher. However, as the lesson progressed it was clear to witness that he was a very

intelligent child. It was also very visible who was not academically on level at the

very early stage of kindergarten. This was disheartening to view that this early in the

game that some students were already behind.

The teacher and an assistant was instructing the students on the carpet about the

letter “D”. There was much repetition that the students all appeared to enjoy, along

with a song that was repeated. The teacher had a sensory bucket full of rice and

objects that began with the letter “D”. Students were chosen to come up and find an

object in the bucket.

Once the student located an object they then had to share in a “stretchy

sentence” (I have a ___.) to the rest of the class. The teacher followed up with

questions that entailed deeper level thinking. Including things like where a Dolphin

lives, or where you can go to buy a “doughnut. The students who were on level easily

followed along with the teacher.


Jaden fell off the carpet twice during the observation. He was very attentive and

loved to participate effectively. The management was there so he raised his hand, or

had his hands in his lap during the times that were appropriate. By all items on the

observation Jaden appears to be at the appropriate developmental level.

Kindergarten was very interesting to see. With 10 years’ experience as an

educator, none of those have been at the elementary level. Given the opportunity that I

may start as a school leader within an elementary school, this exposure has been

appreciated. As an educator, I would agree that understanding the developmental roles

is imperative to understanding the functionality of a child, and how to best serve them.

My final observation was on a student named Cole. Cole is in the 5th grade,

and was observed during a social studies lesson. Viewing classes from pre-

kindergarten to kindergarten, and then jumping to a 5th grade classroom was eye

opening. The size of the children alone is not a comparison.

While there are, several vast differences surrounding them, the one thing that

has not changed is their overall passion for learning. They want to learn, and they

want to please. The teacher was leading a class discussion on The American

Revolution, and when she asked questions you could feel the energy as approximately

90% of the students raised their hands every time. You could also feel the wind

knocked out of their sails when they were not chosen for that question.

The teacher was aware of this and asked many questions at different levels to

make sure to include much of her students. This was done in the short time I was in
the class. This passion drove some very deep level thinking. The students did not

utilize the same level of think time. They were very fast to respond.

The differences in academic level were not a prevalent at the 5th grade level as

they were in kindergarten. In only observing the class, I must wonder if there was

more think time allowed in the class if they would it would have been noticeable.

In observing Cole, his level of energy was very high. Even when he is sitting

and learning, he was very fidgety. It appeared as though a motor was running in Cole

the entire time. Energy was prevalent throughout the class. The teacher did not even

seem to notice, which verifies that this is part of the developmental stage for this

group of students.

In attempting to summarize my observations, I would have to say that I

definitely have a lot to learn when it comes to elementary school. I think that they are

awesome students, and as I shared in the beginning, observing students learn is truly

fascinating to me. Students have an inner-drive to want to learn, and knowing that

somewhere along the educational journey this is lost, is disheartening. Trying to locate

this point and attempt to slow, if not stop, is an ultimate goal of mine.
Sources Cited

Wood, C. (2015). Yardsticks, Children in the Classroom. Center for Responsible

Publishing .