Yesterday was my first time observing Mrs. L in her classroom. I observed two classes, a fifth grade class and a kindergarten class. I arrived 15 minutes early to run through what she wanted me to do during the class. I asked about the policy on electronics in the school, where she told me the only thing allowed were school provided electronics. The only one they use in her class is the ipads, for an app called seesaw. it acts as an online portfolio for the student, and they can go on and comment on their work and other students. Mrs. L needs to approve the comments before they get posted, so no bullying can occur on the site. Only the 5th graders use the app so far, but she hopes to expand into the other grade levels in the upcoming years.
The first class was the 5th graders, who were working on a paper mosaic. They were halfway through the project. Mrs. L warned me that this 5th grade class was one of the more talkative classes. When they came in, they were obviously curious about who I was, but they paid attention to Mrs. L. Mrs. L wore a mic headset when she started her lectures, which surprised me at first. I've only seen one used once before, when I was in 10th grade. I'll have to remember to ask why she uses it next time I see her. She demonstrated the next step of the project to the students, only having to pause once or twice to ask students to stop talking. when students did talk, she paused and waited for them to realize she was waiting for them. After they got their materials, I went around, learning the students names and getting to learn more about them. One of the most interesting things that happened during the class happened when I tried to learn a students name. The student was Hmong, and I was trying to figure out the proper pronunciation of his name, when the student next to him said, "We just call him Panda." I was surprised by the nickname, but for the moment I chose to ignore the comment and continued to learn his name. I will ask Mrs. L if she knows anything about it, and maybe even their 5th grade teacher. I want to make sure this is a nickname the student is okay with, because if he isn't okay with it, I want to make sure he isn't being bullied. I was called names in Elementary school, and I never forgot. When class was done, I was able to name most of the students. Hopefully I still remember them next week.
After lunch, I met my first bunch of Kindergartners. Mrs. L warned me that she is very strict with the kindergartners, especially the class we were seeing today. When they came into the class, it was very obvious that they were distracted by me. They would look back at me and wave, and I had to suppress the urge to wave back, because they needed to listen to Mrs. L. Mrs. L wasn't lying. she would call out students for blurting and interrupting her demonstration. One student was sent to the other side of the room for being too distracting, while another was scolded for complaining about another student's wheelchair touching his leg. She reminded him to worry about himself. At one point, two students started yelling at each other, because apparently one student circled the other, which means he doesn't want the other student to come over to his house. Mrs. L gave both students a yellow card. I will have to ask what that means tomorrow. When the students started, I went around the room to make sure the students were focused. I wanted to talk to all of them, but kindergartners are easily distracted and, unlike the 5th graders, they can't multitask as easily. A lot of the students asked me to come over, and if they didn't have a question about the project, I did my best to get them back on track. The project they were working on was patterns, and some students didn't understand how to make a pattern. The class was so chaotic, I didn't have the chance to learn the students names.
Overall, I was impressed by Mrs. L and her ability to keep calm during the kindergarten class. She was extremely organized and prepared for each class. She had ways to connect her lessons to real life. I Can't wait to continue my practicum experience, to learn more about classroom management from her, and to learn more about the school and where these students are coming from.