General Description Disston Elementary School, located at Knorr and Cottage Streets, in the Tacony/Wissinoming neighborhood of Philadelphia, is a four-story brick building. The school, K through 8, has a gym, auditorium, and library. There is also a computer lab, consumer education classroom, and a music room. The floors are organized by grade levels, starting with the lower grades on the first floor and working their way up the building. The ground floor, or basement, is reserved for specialty classes, such as music, etc.
The school, built in the early 1900’s, has very few modern improvements, mainly because it is a historical landmark.
There are no elevators or ramps making it inaccessible to those with walking disabilities or are wheelchair bound. The school, which has approximately 800 students and 40 teachers on staff, is maintained well and kept clean. The staff members I encountered at the school were well informed and professional. The neighborhood is predominately middle class, but does include some low-income families.
In addition, about 15% of the students are bussed to Disston from neighborhoods that are at or below the poverty level. The cooperating teacher, Ms. Bledy, was happy to share her classroom as well as her experiences.
She provided a pleasant atmosphere and gave me the opportunity to observe her seventh grade science, mathematics, and social studies classes, and fifth grade reading and English classes, which she also instructed. Her seventh grade classes consist of 29 students and her fifth grade RELA (Reading/Language Arts) class consists of 25 students. Learner Differences In the 7th grade class, there are 26 students with average or near-average ability and three students who have been identified with reading and math disabilities. These 3 students attend special classes for those subjects and return to Ms. Bledy for science and social studies.
Ms. Bledy adapts the content in science and social studies according to each of the special education students’ I. E. P. (Individual Education Plan). Since all three students are at, or below a second grade reading level, Ms. Bledy uses the school library to find appropriate stories, books, or articles at each students grade level. She looks for material that is parallel, or as close as possible, to the content that is being covered in science and social studies. While lower grade level books have less detail, the teacher tries to provide the special education children with some reading material on the same or a related topic.
For example, in a science class on metamorphosis, Ms. Bledy found a story called “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle. This grade 1 story, through pictures and words, shows the four life stages from an egg to a butterfly (Surprisingly, the students of average ability also enjoyed this 1st grade book). Ms. Bledy also provides daily hands-on and visual learning experiences for all her students; therefore she finds it easy to adapt lessons for the special education students mainstreamed into her classroom. With the exception of the 3 special educations students, the remaining 26 students in Ms.
Bledy’s math class are instructed on a 7th grade level. The teacher uses various visual, auditory, and hands-on learning techniques to adjust to each students learning style. Disston School provides a “reading cycle” for 90 minutes each day from 10:15 to 11:45 a. m. During this time, students throughout the school change classes to attend reading and language arts at their ability levels. Ms. Bledy teaches level 5 reading, writing, and English. In this class, there is a mixture of 28 students from grades four through eight.
Within the groups of students I observed, there were no students with physical handicaps, nor did I observe anyone with severe emotional behavior differences. Ms. Bledy did inform me that 2 students receive the prescription drug Ritalin daily, administered either by the school nurse or a parent. There were very few behavior difficulties in Ms. Bledy’s classroom. She has created a structured, firm and fair atmosphere that the students find comfortable. Motivation Techniques Ms. Bledy facilitates safety, belonging, and positive self-worth to each of her students on a daily basis.
The atmosphere in the class is one of calm, encouragement, respect, and unity. During the entire time I attended her classes, I saw students actively engaged in learning, any disruptions were addressed quickly, quietly and effectively. The children seemed to have little difficulty in dividing work in cooperative learning groups and they readily helped each other during class activities. I observed Ms. Bledy’s classes in the last few weeks of school, but it was apparent that the students had become accustomed to routines and had a sense of trust among them.
The special education students mainstreamed into the regular education classes were not afraid or embarrassed to show their group members any lower level materials they were using. Although the students were grouped heterogeneously, Ms. Bledy is careful to place the special education students in groups with students that are more patient and have a kinder disposition. These easy-going students are more compassionate toward a special education group member who might take longer to complete an assignment. Some examples of motivation techniques I observed are: Safety: While Ms.
Bledy was giving directions for a map activity in social studies class, one of her students, Brandon, rolled up a few small pieces of paper and was proceeding to put them into an empty pen tube. Just as he was about to put the pen to his lips, Ms. Bledy made eye contact with him as she continued giving directions for the activity. She walked over to Brandon and put out her hand so that he could hand over the “spitball” tube. She never stopped giving directions, but did stop this young man from throwing spitballs around the class causing a disruption. She then pointed to the behavior book and motioned for Brandon to sign it.
He shrugged, but quietly walked over, found the page in the book with his name on it and wrote the date and what he did. Brandon wrote, “trying to make spit ball tube, but Ms. Bledy took it from me. This is a warning, if I do something disruptive again today I will receive a penalty. ” At the beginning of the school year Ms. Bledy taught and practiced with her students the class rules and what was expected of them. She feels that if the students write down what they did and make some notation of either a consequence or some other thing that helps them improve their behavior, that there are fewer disruptions in class.
Effort and Improvement: Eric is having difficulty creating a circle graph from information on a complicated bar graph. Ms. Bledy gives Eric some individual attention. She goes over to his desk and helps him create some simple circle graphs from simple bar graphs. She then has him practice a few more circle/bar graphs escalating the difficulty each time. She gives encouragement and approval when he is correct and guidance as needed. In a short time, Eric is on his own, confident that he can probably handle the more difficult work. Ms. Bledy moves on, but keeps a watchful eye out for Eric.
By the end of class, Eric is successful in completing his graphs. Rewards: Ms. Bledy makes positive comments to her students regularly. She also gives students simple, but effective, rewards. One student, Melissa, not only was helpful to the teacher, but she went out of her way to help Antoine (a special education student) locate the Allied countries of WWI on a map. At the end of class, Ms. Bledy used her cell phone to call Melissa’s mother and told her what a wonderful person Melissa is. Multiple Intelligence: Like most classrooms Ms. Bledy’s class has a variety of intelligences.
One of the techniques she uses to address this is by having students divide up work in cooperative learning groups according to their interests. In science class where the students were working on a project on acid rain, the students in each co-op group were required to provide research, complete an experiment, keep a daily journal of results and conclusions, make drawings and graphs of the results, and complete a cover page. Each group is permitted to divide the work according to their talents, although all group members must share in the experiment. Behavioral Learning Principles Ms.
Bledy’s classroom atmosphere stresses learning, from the various information provided on classroom bulletin boards, posters, and at workstations to the organization and structure of daily activities she creates for her students. Here are some examples I observed: Fact Learning: Ms. Bledy begins each math class with a math warm-up. The students complete a few simple questions (no more than 5) in two or three minutes. These warm-ups are designed to practice various skills. Students practice basic multiplication, addition, subtraction, and division skills by playing the math game “24”.
Students prepare study cards, usually for homework. They are similar to a flash card, where they put a definition on one side and the term on the other side. This is done on 3×5 index cards. In class, the students play a memory game either in pairs or small groups, using these cards. Reinforcement: Ms. Bledy uses positive reinforcement in her classroom. When she praises a student she uses concrete words that describe the achievement made. One student, Regina, who struggles with math but excels in social studies, was trying to figure out the average winter temperature in Celsius in the country of Germany.
She knew the temperature in Fahrenheit. Regina recalled that during a math and science class, Ms. Bledy had shown them how to convert Fahrenheit into Celsius. During this social studies class, Regina applied those skills and was successful in finding the answer. When she told Ms. Bledy the answer, the teacher complimented her on her math skills. Regina beamed the rest of the afternoon and took pride in showing her classmates how to convert the temperatures. Punishment: I observed Ms. Bledy use both presentation and removal punishment techniques.
She regularly removes items from the students that can cause them to be disruptive, such as when she removed Brandon’s spitball tube. But, I only saw her need to remove one student to a time-out area. Patrick refused to cooperate with his group and Ms. Bledy had him complete a writing activity (presentation punishment) on cooperation in a time-out area (removal punishment). When he completed this activity he was eager to get back to his group. Ms. Bledy allowed him to rejoin the group where he participated mannerly. Schedules of Reinforcement: Ms.
Bledy uses a variable ratio as the schedule of reinforcement in her classroom. She calls on students randomly who offer answers. Although Ms. Bledy schedules particular educational trips with specific dates, she randomly assigns points that students need to earn toward that trip. At the beginning of an activity on statistics in math class, Ms. Bledy told the class that each student could earn 10 points toward Spirit Day, by completing the activity in a timely and thorough manner. One of the requirements she listed was that each group member helps each other complete the assignment.
Behavior Modification: Ms. Bledy uses a daily report for students to help them improve behavior. On this report the students identify the behavior they are trying to improve, whether it is disciplinary or academic. The student presents the daily report to all teachers throughout the day. Each teacher writes whether or not the child improved that targeted behavior for that class and lists any suggestions the student can follow for further improvement. At the end of the day, the child takes the daily report home for a parental signature (This is not always a requirement.
It is done on a case-by-case situation). Ms. Bledy and the student review the daily report each morning and discuss other ways the child can help him/herself. Modeling: Ms. Bledy uses modeling as part of her direct instruction at the beginning of most classes. In one instance, the students were to create a time line of their future. Ms. Bledy created a time line for herself and shared it with the class. She showed them how she started out by making a list of 10 goals for herself on paper. Then she explained how long she thought (realistically) it would take her to achieve each goal.
Finally, she picked 2001 as a starting point and systematically set up her time line. The students grasped the idea and went quickly to work. Cognitive Learning Principles Ms. Bledy increases her students learning by using a number of cognitive learning principles. Concepts are learned through practice and examples, information is processed by using chunking, categorizing, etc. and her students regularly participate in meaningful activities linking new information to existing knowledge. Concept Learning: Ms. Bledy writes a list (or row) of terms that are related and adds one that is unrelated.
In a science lesson on solutions she listed the terms “dissolving, hard water, soft water, bacteria, solute, solvent. ” The students identified the term “bacteria” as the one that did not fit into this list. She continued by listing 3 or more groups. Information Processing: Ms. Bledy makes constant use of charts and graphs. The students created bar graphs for a math class I observed based on statistical information they collected. Students surveyed Ms. Bledy’s class as well as seven other classrooms on how they would like, or wish, to spend their summer vacations.
They combined their information and converted it into percentages. Then they created bar graphs and later in the week made circle graphs. Constructivism: Ms. Bledy’s students went on to accumulate information on how they actually spent their summer vacations (meaningful activity) and created graphs using this information. As a conclusion to this assignment, Ms. Bledy had the students compare the way they actually spend vacation to how they wish their vacations would be like. Classroom Management Ms. Bledy’s classroom is well organized and well managed. She has three osters above the side blackboard that lists rules, penalties, and rewards (see attached copy of Ms. Bledy’s Discipline Plan).
Cite this essay
Classroom Field Study Report. (2018, Oct 10). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/classroom-field-study-report-essay