The first time I walked into my practicum classroom, I was so nervous. The students introduced themselves and I introduced who I was, then the student’s asked me all sorts of questions. The questions consisted of: what is your major, do you have pets, and who was your favorite elementary teacher. I told them my favorite teacher was my second grade teacher named Mr. Gagliano, who danced on my desk. This made the class so excited because Mr Gagliano had been to their school to talk about the different books he had written, this was a fun way to introduce who I was and make a connection with the students.
This first week of practicum has been very interesting because it was the ending of Paws testing for the fourth grade. Because of the Paws testing I was unable to meet my teacher before spring break, so I had to meet her Monday. Within minutes she told me her frustration with the Paws testing and how they have to test. She said it was frustrating to even take the Paws science portion because the curriculum she has to go off only allows her fifteen minutes for science. The classroom and all of the walls covered with red paper.
I thought it was interesting how instead of just putting up red paper to cover the words, my practicum teaching wrote inspiration quotes on all of them. The second day I went in it was the end of Paws. When I entered the classroom the first time, the students were helping the teacher take down on the signs and were putting up education posters. Another thing that was interesting was one of the kids had been sick with influenza A, and has missed school the past two weeks. My practicum teaching was freaking out about this because the last day to take the Paws test was Friday the 25.
On Wednesday we had the big snow storm come through Laramie. This snow storm affects how the classroom ran. The Wifi and phones were down, which the teacher relied on for the math lesson. It was really interesting seeing her change her lesson, but you could see her frustration. She was unable to call teachers down the hall to see what they were doing, so she had to use texting to communicate with the other students. The snowstorm caused a lot of kids to be pulled out of school, so she did not want to introduce a new topic. Another interesting thing that I noticed was the indoor recess.
They had inside recess, and in the classroom. During this time students played games, legos, marble. I thought this was interesting because I work at the Indian Paint Brush elementary school as the monitor for lunch and recess. At Indian Paintbrush when inside recess occurs, students gather in the common areas and watch a movie. It was really interesting comparing the two school’s approaches to inside recess. At the end of the day students had chores that they were in charge of doing. The jobs included, pencil sharpener, pencil gatherer, behavior marker, trash pickup, and handing out the paper work.
They have a behavior chart, each day everyone starts out with I am ready to learn, which students can go up and down this scale. If the student continues to be bad they can go all the way down to a tag that say the teacher will contact your parent, and if the student is really good they can get up to role model. At one point the teacher stepped out and the students got a little loud, the teacher came back and was very disappointed with them. So, she moved everyone on the behavior chart down one notch. The minute she moved everyone’s clothespin down, all of the students became upset.
At the end of the day the teacher told students they had homework to read, but they did not have math homework. She told all of her student’s that she would send out a reminder to their parents. She had an App called remind that parents could sign up for, this app allowed her to communicate with the parents about different things. The App also allowed the parents to communicate with her, so one of the parents sent a text through the app to have her remind her boys about after school pick up details. This was fascinating because I have never really thought about the different things you could use technology for.
This app allowed her to stay in contact with her students parents and keep the communication running smoothly between parents and teacher. In the classroom the teacher would pull sticks throughout the lessons, but instead of names on the sticks there was numbers. Each student had a number that they were associated with. Inside of the names, labeling different areas such as cubes or hangers there were numbers. The students were alphabetically numbered and this is the number that was called on sticks. So instead of calling a name she would call a number.
I still do not how I feel about this, in my gut I feel like it is taking away a part of the students identity. In my mind it makes me think the students do not matter that much, they just are a number. The classroom was in the shape of an u, and the students had elbow partners. The person next to them was their elbow partner. One partner’s name was, written in red on the table, and the other partner’s name was written in blue on the table. The blue name was Thing 1 and the blue name was Thing 2. So throughout class she would ask the Thing 1’s to do something and vice versus.
After class I got to asking my practicum teacher about different procedures. I had heard that Linford was a school that specialized in behavioral issues. My practicum teacher explained how Linford was a Magnet school for behavior issues, she talked about how they had a blue room. She also mentioned that one of her students was under a behavior plan. She talked about how their school goes into individualized classroom lockdowns, and class evacuations. After listening to her explain all of this the thing that started me the most was that some parents have had to say they can’t come every time their child is having an issue.
So a lot of times the school cop will come and deal with them and take the to the crisis center. Her explanations about the different procedure for the behavior issues was alarming. In the past week I have learned so much more about the school and the different issues that occur. After being in the classroom the past week I do wish we would have had more classes that allowed us to observe and question the teachers. Questions: I was wondering what you thought of using numbers instead of names? Do you think it is beneficial? It sounded like the whole school used this system, do you know if many other schools are using this method?