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Observation Journal Entry #2

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 Circle: more jumping rope. Boys to double dutch this time...one sucessful entering...not one could jump. They couldn't figure out that you have to move to the center of the stike zone...that if you are too left or too right, you get hit with the rope you aren't jumping.

Move to classroom: Classroom desks pushed to one side of room, they had cleaned last night. At line up Ms. R asks which students wants to live in civilization? Which in newly settled country? Which in the far wilderness? Group A here, B there, and C here. Asks each group to describe and think about how life for Johnny Appleseed would have been like in those areas. come up with ideas, remember details from story yesterday.

Room put back together and each group reported starting with Civilization (encouraged to use their own words, not just repeat element from story day before).

Moved to state report. Ms. R put a 2 sentence intro paragraph on the board for example and gave out sheets of paper (with reminders to use cursive and use every other line) and write out their own 2-3 sentence paragraph. Also pointed out that the words I or me really aren't allowed in this formal style of writing and please try not to use it (with example on the board of formal academic style)

Discipline Observation
As a student-teacher who spent nearly a year teaching handwork and had troubles with classroom management, I am fascinated in watching how others do it. what I saw today.

One child got hyper at time of putting room back together, she guided him into the immediate corner with an arm around the shoulder and spoke very quietly to him about calming down and sent him to putting his seat where it belonged.

One child playing with objects that are distracting to her and others.  Hand held out in silent demand for items. One item immediately handed over, child attempted to retain second by putting it in desk, she moved around the desk to remove the retained object and child handed it over.

During story (of the Iroquois nation) three children disrupted activity. Kept them in at recess. First, they restarted their day by lining up outside and walking into the room. Then held quick discussion with each individually about the offending behavior, had them practice desired behavior, and discussed why desired behavior was the desired one and can't we agree this works for us all so much better? Took less than 5 minutes.

Ms. R's style is authoritative. She doesn't come across as the heavy, strict disciplinarian I remember from elementary school. There's lots of laughter, but most of her discipline/classroom management is VERY QUIET. She lowers her voice when dealing with unwanted behavior. She removes the student from the situation for quick (!) chats on the behavior desired and illicts their promise of cooperation. She makes them try again. "Hmmm...that's not the correct, behavior. Please try again." That is her method for both individual students and the entire class. When the class came down the hill running and yelling, she sent them back up and had them do it correctly. I like the way she lets the children know they've messed up, and then teaches them how she wants them to behave. It's an attitude of you're not a bad kid, I'm just going to show you how to behave so we can all get along happily.

This is something I wish to emulate. when I started teaching I didn't know what I was doing, I didn't know how to strike that balance of how to be an authority without resorting to authoritarianism. I didn't set up rules nor did I think about what behavior I wanted in my class. Since I jumped into the classroom without this, I fought an uphill battle with the upper grades for the rest of they year (defined 3/4). I figured out First and Second fairly quickly and rarely had discipline problems with them, but that 3/4 made me tear my hair out for the rest of the year. I'm not sure if having my own son in the class is what made it so, or just the personality of that particular class. But what I got out of that experience is that I MUST have a plan for the behavior I want to encourage and how do I discourage the behavior I do not wish. Ms. R has, I think, an interesting approach. I like the quietness of it and I like how she tries to preserve their privacy when possible (i.e. pulling child into corner for quick chat) so that they are NOT disciplined in front of everyone. (Which, as I remember from being a student many years ago, is both embarrassing and opens one up for harrassment on the playground.)

Playground observation:
You can kinda ID class by their activity.
5th graders are playing with abandon. Lots of laughter and trying to learn to ride unicycles together.
6th graders: boys are playing on swings, but trying to look cool. Girls are posing at playing a game.
7th graders: boys are showing off their physical abilities to one another. Girls, in a group talking and taking furitive looks at boys
8th graders: boys standing around BSing. Girls fixing each others hair while BSing. Sometimes these groups intermingle...but mostly this class stands around chatting the entire recess.

 
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