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Natalie Wood

1st grade Observation

For my first grade observation I went back to Pine Log Elementary School. The

first grade class I observed was working in literacy centers. The class was divided in four

separate groups the hornets, butterflies, dinosaurs, and the frogs. The literacy centers

were located at each table in the classroom. At the first center the children were to read a

book and write a report. The students were provided with four or five different level

reading books. The students were familiar with which book they were to read. They

were also provided with a piece of paper which they were to write on after they finished

their reading. The paper was labeled to fill in the title of the book, what was read, and the

new words they learned while reading the book. I thought this center was wonderful

because it gave them a chance to read, practice writing, and forced them to reflect on any

new words they learned in their reading.

In the second center, the children had to practice spelling by decoding a secret

number code. The children were given a list of numbers that matched up with letters that

spelled out certain words. This was fun for the children and the children seemed to have

fun while they were practicing spelling. The children did find the instruction to be a little

confusing at first but then they understood. The teacher had a cute saying such as “ask

three before me?” to eliminate interruption while she was focusing on the children who

needed extra attention.

The third center focused on reading and vowel recognition. The children were to

read a given poem two times and then circle all the words that began with the letter I.

Once they had done that they could illustrate the poem. This was good because it gave

them a chance to read, it gave them practice for I words and a chance to illustrate.

The fourth center dealt with rhyming words. The students were given a clock

with a picture by each number, a piece of paper numbered one to twelve, and a card that

had a corresponding rhyme word. They were to write the word next to the number that

rhymed with what was on the clock. It was cute watching the children say fox-cat then

fox-box and realize it rhymed. This gave them a chance to write out words and practice


After the children finished they could do the extra center which was the cutest one

of them all. The students liked this one best. They were given a clipboard with a piece of

paper labeled a in one column and i in the other column. They were to walk around the

room and look for words that made that specific a or i sound and write them down in the

corresponding column. This center gave the students a chance to work on phonics while

at the same time they got to get up and move around the room.

While all the children were busy in centers she called groups or individual to a

table to work with her. I observed her doing shared and guided reading, practicing site

words and phonics with the different students. The teacher definitely took a more

interactive approach to teaching literacy. She used many unique teacher created materials

as well as commercially published programs. She had a lot of variety in her class

instruction. The students were actively involved in learning and it was wonderful.
I did not see the teacher administer assessment while I was observing. I did

wonder how she kept up with the assessment and how she graded it but I did not ask

either. Unlike the kindergarten class I observed, she had absolutely no paraprofessionals

or parent volunteers come in and help while I was there which could have been helpful in

assessing the students.

The room was decorated with many displays of the alphabet and numbers. In

addition, it had a calendar, a rug on the floor, a place to display who had lost a tooth,

classroom rules, words labeling items around the room, number words, and a board

representing books the students had read. The room had many different resources on the

walls that the children could refer to in their leraning.

The literacy block was a lot different than what I thought it would be like. I

thought it would be taught in large group more and not small groups. I assumed they did

not do centers after kindergarten but I was wrong. I can see why they use them it allows

the teacher time for individuals and it meets more than one need for learning. I thought

what I observed was very affective in teaching the children. The centers met a variety of

needs and allowed for cooperative learning. I will definitely be practicing similar

techniques in my own classroom. I will be using the center where the students had the

chance to move around the room and look for words that had the right sound in them. I

would probably try to be more organized in how I assess the children. I thought this

teacher was very good at what she was doing.