Nadya A. Carlisle
SS 203 03
Historical & Cultural Foundations of Education
November 26, 2012
Will Smith, Ph. D.
I observed Ms. Utroska’s first grade class at Durant Public School in Durant, Ms, where I am also employed. With me being a teacher myself I was anxious to see different tricks and routine that were used in others teachers or my fellow co-workers. Mrs. U is one of those teachers that you would love to see how she makes her class flow. Just by looking through her window, one can tell that there is some teaching and learning taking place. The students only went to other teachers or faculty for computer or recess. The class of nineteen students spent most of the time in the classroom during the day. The morning session followed by this sequence: morning announcements, attendance, on the carpet for challenge words and word meaning map, activities daily 5 (writing, reading, computer, TV, fluency, packets and matching games), on the carpet for oral language chart, then more activities daily 5, and finally a You Tube video on pollution. I noticed how Mrs. U addressed concepts about print during her morning routine. The way Mrs. U practiced concepts about print was quite in line with progressivism. She did it while reading the morning message to students. She called on different students to find beginning or end of a sentences, rimes and onsets of words, count number of sentences, and so forth. She gave a different task to every student, considering his or her level of knowledge. The experience was very interesting and informative. I feel like I was almost in the perfect classroom. Everything was in order and flowed perfectly.
I also enjoyed the way Mrs. U constructed her Science lesson on plants. She started her lesson by talking to the students about her classroom plants. Then she proceeded with a cute story by Arnoid Lobel on plant life cycle (it stages from seeds to flowers). The next step took place outside in the school courtyard where kids planted flowers seeds together, thus, putting the newly acquired knowledge into real life practice. The students also watched a You Tube Video on pollution, and Mrs. U discussed at length ways pollution can be avoided or minimized. The way she went about the spelling words was quite in line with progressivism as well. Instead of simple rote memorization she had them fill out and discuss a graphic organizer on the word “warm”. The children had to write the word, the definition, a synonym, an antonym, draw a picture of the words, and use the word in a sentence. The students did not do this on their own; rather the teacher guided them through the exercise and asked many open-ended questions. Overall, she exhibited an educational philosophy quite in the line with progressivism; however, it cannot be discounted that 1st graders do not have to take standardized test in order to pass to 2nd grade in the state of Mississippi. So, it could be that she has such freedom of instruction only because she does not have to worry about students passing test to progress to the next grade.
I suppose the biggest thing I would take away from the experience is how to handle children who are