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SCHOOL OBSERVATION II
Student: ______________________________
Date: ________________________
School: _____________________________
Note: Respond to the following questions in short essay format. Retype the question and
number of the question when responding to a particular numbered item that follows.
Remember to check for accuracy in spelling, punctuation and grammar. Points will be
deducted for errors in mechanics as well as for lateness in completing this field
observation assignment.
If you visit more than one teacher and classroom during this observation period, please
do either of the following in answering questions. Select one of the teachers and
classrooms to analyze for purposes of responding to questions or combine your reaction
to the knowledge you gleaned from all teachers observed into one response.
1. Use the HM 3.1 handout to observe the characteristics of effective schools. Look for
at least four of the characteristics listed on the sheet. In several paragraphs answer the
questions under at least four of the characteristics of effective schools contained on the
handout. (10 pts.)
Emphasis on Basic Skills
There is an obvious emphasis on basic skills, as soon as you walk into the third grade
classroom you immediately notice posters that adorn the room such as; cursive writing
examples, reading strategies, grammar rules, as well as writing tips. Throughout the
lessons Mrs. Mattock emphasizes pronunciation, spelling, step by step in math, and even
basic grammar rules. She did lots of segmented mini-lessons throughout the day such as;
prefix/suffix review, spelling study, in-class activities, and addition/subtraction review.
She did a great job of giving each basic skill an allotted time slot. Reading was strongly
emphasized they do AR testing and reading logs were required.
Orderly School Environment
The school environment is nothing but orderly. In Mrs. Mattock’s classroom class was
promptly started both days. Students know to start silent reading after their coats and
backpacks are put away until she was done recording attendance. The students stayed on
task for the most part. Just because Mrs. Mattock’s classroom is structured, she still
incorporates a lot of fun activities. Every daily task is mapped to a specific time limit.
When the class does get off track Mrs. Mattock says “class, class, classity, class” the
students then reply back “yes, yes, yesity, yes” they are reminded of their task and they
return to it without issues. Mrs. Mattock has an orderly environment as well, she has bins
for different homework, lockers for coats and backpacks, and each student has their desk
to store other belongings.
Systematic Evaluation
Mrs. Mattock explained to me that charting the success of her students and progress was
very important to her. In the classroom you can see math averages, reading averages, and
also weekly progress in both subjects on pie charts. In her classroom all of her students
are reading at or above their grade level. Student projects are also posted so that students
can feel proud of their work. She was constantly checking during homework time and
asking students if they worked with their parents the night before and what they worked
on. It is evident this school works hard to keep a good track of their students success and
progress.
Sense of Purpose
The school does have a distinct purpose; this purpose is shaping these children to be
successful in their education and their community. All colleagues act as a family and
collaborate together. The teachers know each and every student on a familiar level even if
the student isn’t in their primary class. The students seem to be aware of the school’s
purpose and work hard to achieve their goals. Expectations are clear, rules for hallway
conduct are posted, and these rules teach manners in public life as well. Everyone seems
to work together to achieve their purpose.
2. Use the tables distributed in class that allowed you to compare five philosophies of
education and three psychological orientations to teaching that underlie teaching and
learning as explained in Chapter 4. After observing your classroom for two days, decide
what type(s) of philosophies of education and/or psychological orientations best describe
the situation in the classroom you observed. Construct a rationale for your choice by
citing examples that demonstrate the particular orientation(s). (10 pts.)
There were two philosophies that I noticed right off the bat. First off was the
progressivism philosophy. As mentioned in characters of effectiveness practical
knowledge and skills are highly focused on. The children are active participants in
learning. The children want to learn, they seem excited to learn. My teacher helped
students solve problems by asking probing questions so that it helps the student learn.
Mrs. Mattock is very hands on; she walks throughout the room constantly and is checking
on each student’s progress with a particular task. She lets students learn by creating
things, for example writing spelling words in different colors or squiggly lines. She also
teaches manners and how they should act in public.
The second was existentialism; I say this because the curriculum is child-centered.
Mrs. Mattock does activities like coloring into homework or projects; she likes to make it
fun. This was the only part I noticed being evident of existentialism.
I thought Humanism was an evident psychological orientation. Mrs. Mattock
constantly hyped for students to be the best they can be. There are tools available in their
classroom for an unlimited learning capacity. She empowers her students to make their
own choices, but lets them know that every choice has a consequence and it can be good
or bad, but it isn’t a punishment. Mrs. Mattock guides her students, but doesn’t demand
she will suggest them to their current tasks. Students always comply they know what is
expected of them. She also makes sure they understand the concepts. All subjects are
taught as well.
Constructivism was also evident. The skills being taught are lifelong lessons. She
teaches her students to think for themselves. She also uses unique experiences to imprint
the learning such as; she used the smart board on day two to let the majority of her class
play a math game on math skills while she assisted a few students who were having
trouble with estimation and long division. Mrs. Mattock begins the learning objectives by
instructing and continuously monitoring it. She also uses real life examples to bring
clarity to her students.
3. Map one of the classrooms of your second placement using the guidelines on handout
HM 10.1. Explain the strengths and weakness of the room arrangement. Determine
whether or not this room arrangement is optimal for learning and if not what would need
to be changed to be more conducive to learning. Turn in the map of the room with your
typed responses. (10 pts.)
The classroom is setup so that the teacher can instruct as well as monitor behavior in the
front or the back of the classroom. There is ample space in the back of the room for
demonstration or activities. There is enough room for the 24 students to gather in front of
the smart board for learning activities. The space is perfect for activities and instruction.
There is open space to walk between desks. The concept is open so the teacher can
monitor everything that is going on. Books and handouts are always accessible to
students. Mrs. Mattock always asks during the lesson if the students can see from where
they are sitting. The weaknesses I noticed were very few. First off the some of the
lockers had to be shared between the students because there aren’t quite enough. They
have four students to a desk station, which can be positive for group work, but also a
distraction at times. There also were only two computers in the classroom but Mrs.
Mattock stated they are looking into grants for each student to have an Ipad for classroom
work. Overall the space is big and used very well.
4. How is the school organized to accommodate exceptional students? Does the
classroom represent diversity? Provide examples to support your answer. (10 pts.)
The school doesn’t over look any students who are excelling or even the students who are
having trouble. For the students that qualify there is a reading enrichment program where
for thirty minutes a day theses selected students go with a separate instructor who works
solely to expand their reading abilities. Mrs. Mattock also works separately with students
from other classrooms who need the extra help with their reading during this time. The
other students who are on track work to read silently and complete worksheets about their
reading and if they need help Mrs. Mattock address it. The classroom is for the most part
diverse there are children from different socio economic status ranging from low income
families, in the middle, and even high income families. There are also different ethnic
groups such as; Hispanic, Caucasian, Black, and even Chinese. There is even a different
range of religions that most classrooms aren’t used to.
5. Arrange to interview one of your cooperating teachers. You may use the following
questions to guide your interview. You may also add some other questions that you
would like your teacher to answer. (10 pts.)
1. Why did the teacher chose the grade level they are at?
Mrs. Mattock has always wanted to teach at this level she has always been good with
children. Until recently she taught seventh grade language arts for seven years and now
that she is at a different school they honor her choice to teach the third grade level. She
loves working with the children and truly believes in educating our youth.
2. When do they plan their yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily tasks?
On Sundays Mrs. Mattock plans her weekly schedule she allots five to six hours
for this planning. In this she has her allotted times for each activity and she has to
plan what activities will work with each amount of time she has. When she
receives her student’s progress from the week she also takes that into
consideration with her weekly planning. With yearly planning she always reviews
her curriculum map and works with state standards to finish her yearly planning
which is done throughout her summer break. One thing she reiterated to me is that
she is always reviewing her plans based on the needs of her students and is always
trying to improve her way of teaching her students.
3. Do textbooks and local curriculum affect your teaching style?
Sometimes the content in the textbook isn’t what you need to really make the concepts
relatable to the children she states” you have to work with what you have and be creative
in order for the kids to be excited and really take in the concepts” Local curriculum aka
state standards do affect her teaching style she states “ Sometimes there are things I really
want to teach the kids about , but I can’t because of what the state requires that I teach,
when this happens I just make the state objectives fun and the kids seem to really enjoy
it.”
4. Do parents ever try to help choose the curriculum?
Parents if they want can help choose book sets at the beginning of the year. Parents are
also aloud to let children opt out of the assignment for religious reasons, but Mrs.
Mattock finds these students an alternative assignment. With any problems the parents
have with the curriculum they generally have to address the state.
5. How do you select the content you teach?
Mrs. Mattock goes by the state standards and what she is required to teach, but
also will embellish these objectives and create activities to let the students become
more engaged in the learning process.
6. What is your favorite thing to teach?
Mrs. Mattock enjoys instructing reading. It’s something that she enjoys as a hobby and
it’s something she feels is very important in all subjects to understand. Her least favorite
subjects to teach are social studies and science not because she doesn’t like them herself,
but because of the time restraint she feels she can’t really teach those subjects the way
she wants because of the time she doesn’t have.
Signature form - cooperating teacher(s) (15 pts.)
Mechanics: Grammar, Usage, Punctuation, Spelling, Typed (5 pts.)
Assignment Turned-in on Due Date: (5 pts.)