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Kirsten Snyder

ELED 3223-03

17 October 2019

Dr. Rock

What Are They Thinking?

I interviewed a total of 5 students in the 5th grade at Cox Mill Elementary to understand

their view on social studies and how they like to learn. This 5th grade class studies social studies

every day, Monday through Friday, for about 30 minutes each day. Since they studied social

studies every day, I had a lot of opportunities to ask them questions. I interviewed a total of 3

girls and two boys in one of the classes. There are two classes that switch from reading and

social studies to math and reading, and vice versa, every day. I choose two students who were

performing below grade level and three students who were average or above average in content.

Two students were of the African American culture, one student of the Indian culture, another of

the Asian culture, and one Caucasian. Two students were from middle to lower class homes and

the other three students were middle to higher class. In the interview, I asked the students how

they usually learn social studies, how they like to learn social studies, if they liked working in

groups, and what they know about European explorers and Native Americans to plan my lesson

most effectively.

The first conclusion during the interview was that students usually learn social studies by

reading a textbook, handouts/worksheets, or watching brainpop videos. A week before this

interview, I taught my Reading lesson to this group of students using an interactive, digital way.
I asked the 5 students if they enjoyed that activity and would like to learn in that format. They all

said the lesson was easy to enjoy. I also ensured that the students learned from the lesson, given

it was so engaging. Through my observations these past several weeks, this group of 5th graders

can get off task if they are not engaged or have been working on one thing for too long. I made

sure each part of my lesson was no longer than 15 minutes at the maximum. This helped me plan

my lesson by completing a 5E lesson plan so students are involved and learning efficiently. I also

noticed, not in these interviews, that the students do not complete a lot of writing in the

classroom. I wanted to incorporate writing in my lesson to integrate Social Studies and ELA


The second conclusion during the interview was how the students like completing work,

in groups or independently. Most of the students enjoy working together in groups or pairs,

finding it more “fun” or engaging. Some of those students, however, enjoyed working

independently on certain tasks. The students liked working in groups when completing projects

or as a competition with each other. Some liked working independently when watching videos or

completing worksheets given by the teacher so they could work at their own pace. This helped

me format what the students were doing in the explore, explain, and elaborate. In the explore and

explain, I ensured students would be collaborating and working in groups. In the explore,

students were learning information about a specific explorer and presenting the information as a

group to the class. In the explain, I had students work in groups to learn important information

and go through interactive tools together. To include those who enjoyed working independently

at times, I included a writing journal in the elaborate section of the lesson plan.

The last conclusion I made during the interview was what students know about Explorers

and Native Americans. The group of students mostly knew that European Explorers went to
different parts of the world to search for new land but did not know the reasons why. They did

not have much knowledge on the Native Americans and their role in history. When I asked the

question, “what lands were conquered?”, the responses were vague such as North America and

United States. In this lesson, I focused on the European Explorers since I would be teaching

fairly new information to the students. It was important for me to ensure students were learning

what lands were conquered, by who, and why to begin the study of the standard given to me.

I think this assignment was very helpful as I do not know these students as well as the

teacher and I am only there once a week. I was able to see student's prior knowledge on a subject

I was going to teach about and how they liked to learn social studies. This assignment helped me

mostly in planning my lesson plan to ensure students would be engaged and encouraged to learn.

I was able to form a better relationship with these five students during the interview and learning

more about them. As a future teacher, it is essential to form good relationships with students,

understand how they learn the best, and how they like to learn to create effective learning. I

found it interesting how teachers might do this process in the beginning of the year, since they do

not know their students very well, but by the end of the year they are able to incorporate students

interest in lesson plans by habit.