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Teacher Planning Field Experience

National University

Chelsea Johnston

ITL 608 Design and Process of Teaching

Week One Assignment – Field Experience

Cristina Grandy

7 March 2019

Teacher Planning Field Observation

Summary of Interview

On March 7, 2019, I conducted an interview with Konnie Hess, a fifth-grade teacher at

Rice Elementary School. Hess was highly informative and offered some great insight on her

means of planning strategies and practices in the classroom. The area of focus was primarily on

literacy, and through this interview, I feel that I am better equipped to educate a diverse


Hess has as large class, of twenty-eight students, whose socioeconomic and ethnic

backgrounds vary. Hess has students with Individualized Education Plans (IEP), Section 504s,

and English Language Learners (ELL). All these factors have molded the way that Hess

conducts her classroom and has highly influenced the way she plans her learning. Hess shared

personal experiences with me on how the cultures of the students impact the way she instructs

her lessons. I would have never thought about prefacing my lesson on Martin Luther King Jr. to

ensure students do not associate actions back then with races of today. Hess stated that she has

had classes that began resenting Caucasians after Black History Month, because of all the

negative cogitations that go along with how the “whites” treated the “blacks.” By taking the time

to consider various perspectives in our literature, we can learn to better educate our learners and

help explain the information on a deeper level. Hess also made it clear that the best way to plan

is to reflect on experiences and draw real life scenarios into the classroom. By doing this we can

learn from our mistakes, we can begin to understand the mindset of our learners, and we can alter

our instruction to fit the needs of our learners.

The biggest take aways that I gained from this interview with Konnie Hess, was that I

should heavily assess my students based on personal observation, allow for the targets of each

student to grow with the students, and to always create my learning plan with the students in

mind. By incorporating this new knowledge in my classroom, I can begin respecting my learners

to the standard they deserve, and I can give a quality education that deepens their understanding

of the world around them. This interview was inspirational and will influence the way I plan the

learning in my classroom. Curriculum literature typically seems to be informational, historical,

and heavy on point of view. By considering the responses from Hess in this interview, I feel

confident that I will now be able to provide a worthy representation of various perspectives to

give the classroom a fuller understanding.


Interview Questions/Responses

What are some broad characteristics of the learners in your class?

My class consists of twenty-eight students with nearly an equal split down the middle of

male and female. I would say that I have quite the diverse class ethnically and

socioeconomically. Out of my twenty-eight students, I have only about four students who are

ELL. All of my students get along really well, sometimes too well and they spend far too

long talking about irrelevant topics! There are also a few students who have a parent in the

military; I feel that this life type can definitely make things difficult with moving, but I feel

these students bring a positive and open mindset to accepting various cultures.

How will you use this information to effectively plan for literacy (reading

instruction/language arts/reading)?

Considering the characteristics of my class definitely help guide me in the way I want to

approach each lesson. I like to take cultures and perspectives into consideration when

planning and utilize this knowledge to limit the chances of my biases negatively impacting

the lesson. For example, we read a few short stories and watched a couple clips on Martin

Luther King Jr. last month. A few years ago, I would have gone into this with no second

thoughts, but after experience and exposure, I knew to evaluate and provide background

perspective before jumping into these readings. These stories are intended to make slavery

relevant and understandable to young children, but in doing so, they often portray negative

associations with other races. Because a sixth of my class identifies as Caucasian, I have to

make sure all students understand this was a different and distant time and that not all

“whites” were, or are, racist. By prefacing with this, I have been able to avoid hateful

comments and silly arguments based on history of Martin Luther. Educating the history of

one race with a clear one-sided perception, often opens a big can of worms. Perception must

always be considered and respected in planning!

How do your teaching practices and beliefs influence your planning?

I like to think that my experiences have made me better and my open mind allows for my

techniques to always improve. I really like the idea of cultural sharing in my classroom and

try to connect the curriculum to various cultures in the classroom. This allows for the

students to share a little bit about themselves while personally connecting to the information.

What are your teaching practices and beliefs?

I believe that everyone in the classroom brings something to the table. No two classes are

the same, nor should a teacher ever treat them the same. I believe that students make the class

and it is our task to grow together and learn collectively. I teach respect, to oneself and to

others, and I encouraging feedback in all scenarios. I believe in setting firm and strict rules of

respect and consideration, while encouraging self-understanding and questioning the norm.

What are some targets you have for learners to ensure meaningful academic


I want all my learners to progress to their fill abilities each year. Sometimes it cab be hard

to properly assess what those are for each student, but with the help of IEPs, 504s, and

beginning of the year exams, I can typically gauge where they should be. So some of the

targets would be self-growth from the beginning of the year exam, social improvements, new

IEP goals, and moral understanding and deepening.

What information are these targets based on?

Like I said earlier, I like to base my targets on exams, IEPs, 504s, and my understanding
of each student’s character and my perception of their potential. My perception and

observations play a heavier role than exam scores, but these are the sources that give me a

well-rounded understanding of each individual.

What is your management style that you incorporate in your classroom to help the

students stay on task?

The management style that I utilize in my classroom is natural consequences. I encourage

my students to make decisions, but I stress the fact that they are to deal with the

consequences that naturally arise with those decisions. I believe encouraging my students to

feel independent enough to make their own choices will help them to understand the world
and push them to make better ones. Students will learn about themselves, be able to apply

what they learn at home and begin developing practical social skills.

What do you know about each of your learners that make you capable of successful

lesson planning?
I know that they all bring a positive aspect and diversity to the classroom. Each of their

stories help dictate the way I instruct a lesson and the perception that I mold the lens to. I

enjoy learning about each of my students at the beginning of the year and allowing their

heritage to influence the classroom. I often have students share family heirlooms or even

traditional foods with the class. Along with incorporating their heritage, I also work hard to

appeal to each of their learning needs. I take IEPs into consideration and I try to understand

the best learning type for each student. Knowing my students has helped me better reach

them in the classroom.

How do you manage taking in all aspects of each learner to be able to create adequate

lesson plans?
My lesson plans are created with my current students in mind. That being said, I hardly

reuse a set lesson plan for each year. I have created an excel chart that I plug in my student’s

information to that helps me organize and group the vast learning styles in my class. It helps
me easily see the students who learn similarly and how many of each learning type I have. I

love working with rotations and I like mixing the learning styles within groups so each group

can learn the most through the rotation. For example, one group will have a visual learner, a

kinesthetic learner, an auditory learner, and an intrapersonal learner. Each rotation center will

be set to appeal to a different learning style. By having the group be diverse, each student can

take a turn in leading the instruction and offering their techniques to their peers.

How do you assess your students to see their academic growth?

Assessing students is a tricky matter. I hate doing it honestly. I feel the best way to assess

students is to have an ongoing observation and notes on each child. With a class of twenty-

eight, it is nearly impossible. Unfortunately, I have to rely on exam results, homework

scores, and the observations that I am able to take. So, to make up for my lack of free time to

observe, I like meeting with my students regularly and getting feedback from them. I enjoy

hearing what they felt was easy, hard, enjoyable, and not so enjoyable. I believe by taking the

time to hear what each child has to say, I can better see where the strengths and weaknesses

are with my students. This is another reason I feel building relationships with your students is

so important.