Observation

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Abstract
In visiting an elementary school general education, this is an analysis of their principles of practicing literacy instruction through lesson plans and implementation. Some of the observation criteria fall under communication, being a constructivist, understanding to activate prior knowledge, interaction and concluding with a review and an assessment of some kind. Teacher should work to increase students’ motivation on learning and use systematic instruction throughout the lesson plan. After an observation description, linking the strengths, weaknesses or improvements that should be made, a personal reflection of implementation is shared addressing how the environment was used, how could it have been altered to support more opportunities for learning and what was surprising during the observation.  

During the week of February 11th, 2013, I was given the opportunity to observe Ms. Houzvicka’s first grade class at Juan Cabrillo Elementary in Hawthorne, CA. For one day, I observed her classroom for the entire day, giving breaks for lunch, recess and snack. The total period of observation was between four to five hours. The scheduling and dynamics of Cabrillo Elementary in the last few years has shown to be incredibly special. Ms. Houzvicka explained to me that the Wiseburn District has pushed forth a plan called the Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA) that focuses on actions to raise the academic performance of all students to the levels of performance goals of the California Academic Performance Index (API). As a result of the SPSA, at the beginning of each year, the student’s prior and future teachers spend time to decide whether the student meets the baseline requirement, determining if a student requires more time with the teacher; this sets them in a bracket of “early bird” or “late bird”. It is implemented so that students will receive the support that they require. It allows for Language Arts instruction to be conducted in smaller groups with the teacher and provides an opportunity for students with difficulties to take part in resource specialist programs without missing out on their regular day-to-day instruction. Cabrillo Elementary serves pre kindergarten through second graders. On a regular day, there are many different times set for the students. Under the kindergarten schedule, there are the “tedde” kindergarten (TK) “early bird” and “late bird” students but also the kindergarten “early bird” and “late bird” students. TK students are the students who just miss the cutoff age for kindergarten. In essence, TK students will experience kindergarten in the span of two years, first to focus on social or motor development and then in the second year, to focus on academic and learning skills. First and second graders are also on the “early bird” and “late bird” schedules for the same reasons. Each student is individually assessed at the beginning of the school year. For example, for kindergarteners, students were evaluated if whether they can recognize their letters, sounds and numbers. From the baseline of entering into the year, there is a recorded sheet of their basic skills. After each trimester, more information is documented. After the assessment of each student is made, the teachers and resource specialists work together to determine which of the programs that the student will attend. At Cabrillo Elementary, there are several programs to address the different needs of the students. The English Learners Development (ELD) and Reading Intervention programs allow for students to have an extended day focusing primarily on Language Arts or reading. The Individually Designed Arts Program (IDAP) focuses on dance instruction to teach and assist students in coordination and rhythm, which is believed to be necessary for reading and math. The IDAP also includes a section of vocal music for specifically second graders to teach and improve reading fluency. With programs like these, the support of the...
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