Personal Essay: Classroom Observation


Josh Van Coppenolle
EDU 301
Social Studies Methods
Mary Iandoli
Classroom Observation
Date: 9-30-96
Kindergarten teacher: Mrs. Debolt
First grade teacher: Mrs. Casteluzo
Location: Penn Yan Elementary

Carrie and I were going to observe a kindergarten classroom social
studies class that combined their lesson with a first grade class. We were
scheduled to arrive at 2 PM. When I arrived at 1:50 PM, Carrie was waiting
outside the school and informed me that she had already gone in and was told
that there was going to be a fire drill in just a few minutes. We waited for
the fire drill to finish and then went into the class. The time was about 2:10
at this point, so the teachers were running a little behind.
When we entered the room it was empty, we had obviously beat the
students back from the fire drill. This gave us time to look around. The
kindergarten room was brightly decorated with lots of posters and student\'s art
work. The kids were working on colors because there was a strip on top of the
blackboard that had the colors and things we might see in that color. The
student\'s desks were arranged in two rows, pushed together and facing each other.
There were about twelve seats in each group, so there were about 24 students in
the class. Apparently, the class had just been returning from a trip to the
school library when the fire drill went off, so when they came in they were
still carrying their library books. The students were asked to take their seats
and they did so quietly. Everyone\'s eyes were on Carrie and me. Mrs. Debolt
asked us to introduce ourselves, which we did. She told the class that we
were learning to be teachers and that we wanted to sit in on their social
studies class. Each student sat at a little desk with their name laminated on
the top. The students had laminated cards with their names on them tied around
their neck with a long piece of yarn. I think that these were their library
cards. Mrs. Debolt asked me to collect these, which I did. The students were
pretty quiet while this was going on and followed directions well. Mrs. Debolt
told the class that we were going to have a joint lesson with Mrs. Castiluzo\'s
1st grade class. She asked everyone to come up to the front of the room and sit
quietly on their bottoms, hands in their laps. The two classrooms are
connected by a door and soon Mrs. Castiluzo, her aide, and the 1st graders came
in. It was a tight squeeze but everyone got a little spot on the floor. You
could tell the kids who like their personal space because they were
uncomfortable in the tight space and tried to wiggle and scoot. Mrs. Debolt
introduced Carrie and me and then started her lesson. She started with a story
about a green bear who lived in the forest. He would change the color of his
house as the seasons changed. Before she read she assess for prior knowledge.
After she finished the book she led the group by questioning them about houses
and families and health. Then we talked about healthy bodies and how we make
healthy bodies by eating correctly. The teacher would ask a question and then
call on someone who raised their hand. When there was a fun task to do, the
teacher would call on a student that was doing something right, like sitting up
straight. I noticed that the same students were always raising their hands.
The teacher should have tried to involve all of the students.
After the discussion of green and healthy, Mrs. Castiluza read a poem,
but the children had already been sitting for 15-20 minutes and were not
interested in the long poem at all. Then, Mrs. Castiluza brought out a bag of
fresh vegetables that she grew in her garden. This got the kids interested
again and we discussed how the greens of the vegetables were different. Then
Carrie and I got 2 helpers and cut up lettuce, peppers, and cucumbers to make a
salad. We all ate salad and talked about the different textures and crunchiness
of the vegetables. The lesson was evaluated as the students ate their salad,
the teachers informally walked around the room and spoke with the children, but
not all of them. The kids finished, threw their paper plates away and returned
to