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Elementary Education 201 - Student Observations

Deidra Glaser

EDU - 201


Student Observations 1

● Assignment 1 - Observations

1. Upon arrival to the classroom my first impression of the environment was that it seemed

very engaging, decorative and organized. My cooperating teacher, Ms.Bosch, was

dressed in a very cute Halloween t-shirt that matched some of the decor in the room. I did

my observations a couple weeks before Halloween, so Ms.Bosch was preparing her

classroom decor for the holiday. There were a lot of posters up on the walls that included

the class rules, some of the students work, and writing rules. The students were all seated

at their desks working on their chromebooks either on IReadyReading, or working on

their Personal Narrative Story that was due on Friday.

2. The makeup of the student body classroom was diverse. There were about 27 to 30

students in the classroom, and there seemed to be more boys than girls. ELL students

were mixed into the class, but there didn’t seem to be any students with physical

challenges or handicaps.

3. The main classroom rules were posted above the teacher's desk, and they were: be

productive; work as a team; be polite; come to class prepared; be respectful and

responsible; and do your best. Ms.Bosch had all of her students sign their names at the

bottom acknowledging these rules. There were also a lot of English and grammar rules

posted including things like the writing process, parts of speech, figurative language and

more. It was also neat to see that Ms.Bosch actually created new posters each week. Each

time they learn a new rule in language or reading, she creates a new poster to be put up in

the class.
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4. Yes, I think Ms.Bosch enforced the rules she had posted. During her lecture she was

always referring back to different rules posted around the classroom. For example, during

the narrative writing assignment she asked her students, “if they wanted to use the word

“like,” or “as,” what form of figurative language was that?” She followed up by walking

over to the poster labeled, “Similes and Metaphors,” to point out the answer. She also

referred back to the “be respectful and responsible” rule when students were talking too

much and not focusing on their work. I also observed that there were consequences for

not following the rules. For example, one of the writing rules they were working on as a

class that week was to write in complete sentence. When one of her students turned in a

paper during the small group session with one word or an incomplete answer, so she

erased his answers and told him to rewrite them in complete sentences.
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● Assignment 2 - Class Layout

➔ Please see attached document at the back of the packet for image of Classroom Layout.

1. The workflow of the classroom is very simple and classic. Students desks are

arranged into groups of six; the teacher's desk is in the back and there are two

white boards at the front and back of the classroom to optimize instruction. There

is also a smartboard and projector located on one side of the classroom.

Mrs.Bosch was even able to fit a library and reading area in the back of the

classroom. I think this space was used as efficiently as possible because when you

have so many pieces of furniture, you only have so many options for arranging it.

By having the students sit in groups, it allows for the teacher to be able to walk

around and between the desks. In addition, each student was able to see the

teacher at all times.

2. In my opinion, I don’t think the physical arrangement of the room needs to be

improved. It seemed very functional. It has nice flowing walkways throughout,

making it easy to walk through the desks, and back to the teacher's desk, and then

to the exit or front door.

Student Observations 4

● Assignment 3 - Instruction

1. The daily schedule was posted every morning. Ms.Bosch had two fourth grade

classes that she taught. She taught her fourth grade students reading, writing and

social studies while her cooperating teacher taught them math and science. Her

schedule included the times for special class, instructional time, lunch, the next

class’s schedule and when the final bell rang.

2. Yes, instructional time was broken up into several well organized sections

including class lecture, small groups, learning centers and individual assessment.

Mrs.Bosch would teach the lesson to the whole class followed by having the

students break into groups for “rotations.” Each student individually does the

assignment in the rotation, however they are able to talk quietly and get help from

their neighbor and the teacher if she is not busy with another group or student.

3. I would describe Ms.Bosch’s teaching style as a combination of the three; visual,

kinesthetic and auditory. She presented worksheets and journals for the visual and

kinetic learning; while she was also constantly speaking during class for her

auditory learners.

4. The learning styles that the teacher incorporates are bodily-kinesthetic,

interpersonal and intrapersonal. The teacher seemed very “in-tune” with her
Student Observations 5

students and was constantly having them work things out on their own and with

their hands.

5. Yes, all of the students seemed engaged in the lessons and activities that were

going on in the classroom. The students were participating by asking questions

and providing thoughtful answers.

6. The only time students were isolated from the rest of the class was for seating and

behavioral reasons. If a student couldn’t seem to concentrate on an assignment in

their regular assigned seat they would be moved to the back by the teachers desk.

7. Yes, instructional time seemed very organized. Ms.Bosch seemed to be trying her

best to manage it efficiently. She had a timer in the class for transitions and

keeping track of time. She also had the daily schedule on the board.

8. To handle transitions from subject to subject or activity to activity, Ms.Bosch

used a timer to count down thirty or ten minute intervals. When the timer went off

it was time to wrap up and start the next activity. I think this was very effective,

because the students knew exactly how long they had on their assignment or to

clean up. Everyone seemed to be on the appropriate task when the timer went off.

9. Some “attention getting” commands that were used in the classroom included,

“give me five,” or “all eyes on me,” and at one point when the students weren't

listening Ms.Bosch started drawing a hang man on the board. She then began to

tell the students that if she got all the way to the end everyone would have lunch

detention the next day.

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10. Specific behavior issues that the teacher had to deal with were things such as

keeping students in their seats, or constantly having to repeat the question or

answer for the assignment. There weren’t many behavioral issues. The class

seemed very respectful and well mannered. However, she did have to give one of

her classes lunch detention for not being respectful to her on one of the days that I

wasn’t there.

11. Policies that help instructional time I think are the “attention getters,” and the

timer. These procedures help keep the students on task by refocusing them on

what's important like the teacher or time left for an assignment. Something that

hinders instruction time would be students when repetitively ask questions like to

go to the bathroom or to get a drink of water.

Student Observations 7

● Assignment 4 - Culture

1. Physical Characteristics:

1.1. Looking around the Stanford Elementary School property I observed that the

school had up-coming event fliers posted around, pretty landscaping and looked

well constructed. The school is located right next to El Dorado HIgh School, so

there are a lot of crosswalks and school zone signs posted around. It is also

located right next to a public library which I believe helps promote an increased

learning environment. There are a few scattered trees along the property, and

some bushes and shrubs too. It seemed well maintained. The visitors parking,

school bus area and kindergarten zone was located at the front of the school, as

well as the main office. The kindergarten area was fenced off and closest to the

main office.

1.2. Going inside, the main office area is located at the front of the school. As soon as

you enter the building you have to go through a separate door into the main office
Student Observations 8

to actually enter the school. I think this is a good feature to have within schools

because it promotes security. This forces the students, parents and visitors to

interact with each other and the office staff before entering the building. There

were other areas for students to enter the building such as through the cafeteria

and other doors located in the building. There also always seemed to be staff

around those areas greeting students and parents as well. The hallways were

decorated with some of the students work and upcoming holiday and seasonal

decorations. The lighting seemed a little dim, however, I blame the lack of

windows, there were only a few. The hallways were long and grade levels seemed

to be in different sections of the building. It looked very cute, clean and well

organized. It also seemed to promote a positive and thoughtful educational


2. Culture of the School:

2.1. The school’s mission statement that I got from the school website is, “Stanford is

a Learning Community of teachers, parents, and students who are responsible for

the academic success of all students.” The motto from the school website is, “Yes,

Everyone Succeeds and it Begins with Me!” In addition, the students during

morning announcements would sing the school mission statement and motto. I

believe there was a lot more to it than that, and it included things like being kind,

respectful and thoughtful. It was a really wonderful sight to see. I felt like it

enforced the positive atmosphere and a good morale for school culture. Finally,

the school mascot is the Sabers. Fierce!

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2.2. Staff and student interactions seemed friendly and caring. The office staff helped

students with getting tardy passes, helping other staff, and directing parents who

were dropping off their children.

2.3. Formal practices like the bell schedule were pretty simple. The first bell rings at

8:55 a.m. and the final bell is at 3:26 p.m. The class that I observed was split. For

half of the day students of the one fourth grade class would be in one classroom

learning math and science, and then during the second half of the day would go to

the other teachers classroom and learn reading, writing and social studies. The

students would switch classes right after lunch. ELL students have time in another


2.4. The student-to-student interactions always seemed very friendly and respectful to

one another. During class student would help other students with assignments,

and while lining up for class in the morning students would help each other with

getting backpacks together and everyone in the correct line.

2.5. I observed that some of Stanford school traditions seemed to be endless. From the

decorations in the hallways, to the spirit week fliers posted around, and to my

favorite part, the morning assembles where the students sang the mission

statement and motto, followed by important school announcements in the school


3. Culture of the Classroom:

3.1. Mrs.Bosch always seemed very engaged and eager to help her students. She had a

very upbeat personality, and so did her students. Everyone also seemed respectful
Student Observations 10

to one another. Mrs.Bosch would always reinforce respectfulness in the

classroom, because that was one of her classroom rules. Mrs.Bosch believed in

having her students do the work themselves, however she was willing to help

them if need be.

3.2. Student participation in the classroom was very active. The students would ask

questions, for example when they didn’t understand something, and then answer

questions if they knew the answer. During the warmups in the morning it was

really neat to see all of the students raise their hands to answer the question. The

classroom I got to observe was definitely focused and determined to learn the

material. Mrs.Bosch also had several revolving stations that gave her the

opportunity for more individualized instruction and interaction with her students.

I think the student and teacher relationship definitely benefited from this.

3.3. The overall tone of the classroom was upbeat, clear and concise. Both the teacher

and the students were able to talk and ask questions in an appropriate manner. The

distribution of power was definitely equal within the classroom. Mrs.Bosch I

believed reinforced her lesson and the learning of her students by asking the

students questions to see if they understood the material and directions of the

Student Observations 11

● Assignment 5 - Cooperating Teacher Interview

During the interview part of the student observation assignment I really learned a lot. It

was a very insightful experience to be able to interview a teacher. I was even lucky enough to get

to interview a first year teacher. I felt like this was good because I’ve heard a lot of people say

that the first year of teaching is one of the hardest, so it was interesting to get a first years

teachers point of view.

Student Observations 12

My cooperating teacher's name was Mrs.Bosch. The primary reason she became a teacher

was because she adores kids. She loves the expression on a child’s face when they seem to “get

it.” The main challenge that she seems to be facing is keeping up with all the paperwork. This

not only includes all the lesson planning and grading, but field trips, parent contacts and

meetings, student evaluations and more. There is a lot of paperwork that comes with being a

teacher. Mrs. Bosch says that connecting with her students is the best part of being a teacher, and

I understand that complete. That is actually what I think the best part of the job will be as well.

She also says that seeing their smiling faces and hearing their stories make everything better and

can always put her in a good mood.

When it comes to determining how students sit in the class Mrs.Bosch uses something

called the KAGEN Strategy. It groups four students together and labels two A’s and two B’s.

The two A students are higher scoring students while the two B students are lower scoring

students. In addition, these scores vary between the two A’s and B’s based of “high scoring” and

“medium scoring,” for example one A is considered a “high scoring” while the second A is a

“medium scoring” and the same goes for the two B’s. She also bases flexible group seating off of

each student's instruction ability and lesson understanding.

Beyond standardized testing, some other types of assessments that Mrs. Bosch uses to

test her students include formative assessments and summative assessments. The formative

assessments are general test and grading assignments handed out throughout the week, and only

count for ten percent of the grading time; while the summative assessments take up about ninety

percent, and are the summaries the students do at the end of their reading journal each week.

Other types of assessments can include programs used in the classroom like IReadyReading,
Student Observations 13

RCBM and Maze. In addition, every two weeks progress reports are sent out to the parents,

which includes a detailed message about where the student is academically. Other than progress

reports, face to face interaction does not happen often with parents. The one’s that do come in

often have concerns about how to improve their child’s grades.

Grading is an important part of being a teacher, and there are a lot of things to grade.

When it comes to how long it takes Mrs.Bosch to do all of the grading it depends. For the most

part, formative grades are done once a week including the subjects involved in writing, reading

and social studies. While the summary of the grades are recorded twice a month. Overall, she

feels like she spends about three to five hours a week grading all sixty of her students. She told

me, “never go weeks without grading,” which is great advice because there are so many things to

document and record that getting behind by only a little will probably turn into a lot really quick.

When it comes to the time it takes lesson planning, she says it also varies. Per day, she

probably spends about forty-five minutes to two hours getting prepared either in the morning or

after school. She also feels that it takes about two hours or forty-five minutes to create the lesson

and activity coming up that is suited for the students. So when trying to estimate how long she

spends grading a week she says that it depends. She likes to be very detailed and critical while

making her lesson plans which can take some time. She also follows the D.O.K while making

her lessons, rarely encountering level four activities and mostly completing levels one through


Procedures or strategies that Mrs.Bosch likes to use to maximize instruction time include,

“give me five,” or she says, “it’s my job to talk and your job to listen.” Some positive

reinforcement strategies include the homework reward chart, the treasure box, and one of the
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most effective strategies is just plain positive praise. In contrast, for behavioral consequences,

she will do things like take points off, treasure box opportunities taken away, or lunch detention.

Mrs.Bosch is a first year teacher and doesn’t believe that she has begun to work with any

specialist teachers. However, she has been working with both the librarian and art teacher on a

cross-curricular assignment on Women’s suffrage, if that counts. As a new teacher she also gets

evaluated three times a year by a general or Standard Teacher Evaluation. She already had one

evaluation in September, and got one of the best scores which made her very happy. When it

comes to consequences for failing or getting a bad evaluation, she’s not sure what they are,

however she assumes that she would have to take more training classes and be more “under the

microscope” by the administration until there was improvement. A first year teacher also

receives a lot of support. Financially, she gets allowances and certain new materials like pencils

and paper each semester. Instructionally, there is a lot of staff support. She says the best thing to

do is ask if you need anything or have a question. Professionally, the school offers different

classes for training in things like gradebook, behavioral reinforcements, teaching multicultural

classes and free continuing educational courses. Mrs.Bosch also explained to me an opportunity

where the T.P.A raised enough money for the fourth graders to all go on a field trip this year

which while be an exciting learning experience for the students, but teachers and volunteer

parents, as well.

The thing that surprised my cooperating teacher the most was how time flies and then in

contrast how there also seems like there is not enough time. “Time flies when you are having

fun,” Mrs.Bosch says. That’s a very true statement. I would also like to add that I had a very fun
Student Observations 15

time in Mrs.Bosch’s classroom and the time definitely flew by. I learned a lot through this

interview. I am very grateful that I was able to have this opportunity.

● Assignment 6 - Observing a Student

Student Observations 16

While doing my student observations, being required to observe a student was an

interesting task. I actually found it a little challenging trying to watch a single student without

looking too obvious. However, I picked a little girl who was a little squirrelly, but for the most

part, always seemed on task. She would occasionally talk to her partner and group about the

assignment. To me, this was a good thing because she was comfortable and confident enough in

her answers to share them with her classmates. The little girl raised her hand a lot to answer or

ask questions which I believe helps promote a positive class atmosphere.

I also really enjoyed being able to watching her share her comments and things with the

class. One of the days she had a piece of artwork with her that she had done in art class. She was

very proud of this picture, obviously, because she was showing it around to everyone and

couldn't seem to take her eyes off it. Mrs.Bosch and the other students around her encouraged

and praised her for her good work. It was really a wonderful sight to see.

● Assignment 7 - Summary
Student Observations 17

While observing Mrs.Bosch’s fourth grade classroom I have discovered that there are a

lot of components to being a teacher. From time management, to the students and the parents, to

the lesson planning and grading, there is a lot to cover. She had about twenty-seven to thirty

students in the class, and it’s a lot of work keeping all the students on task and not acting

squirrely. Mrs.Bosch did a good job though. The classroom the I got to observe was very

respectful and seemed very engaged in the work.

One of the pieces of advice that my cooperating teacher gave me was, “be ready for

change, because sometimes things come up and lesson plans have to be moved to later dates or

somethings have to be covered quicker than planned.” Therefore, teachers need to be flexible

with their lessons and their students. For example, on Monday, there was a counselor who came

in and wanted to talk to the students for twenty minutes. This was fine and Mrs.Bosch had

agreed to it. However, she thought it was the following week, and had already had a different

lesson planned for that day; so in response she had to move her lesson around and be adaptable

and flexible to the changing environment.

Another reason you have to be flexible is because managing instructional time is a

difficulty in the classroom; there never seems to be enough of it, and there is something new that

needs to be covered each day. A challenge with teaching something new is making sure that all

of the students are on the same page and understand the previous material. If not, then more

instructional time is going to be needed and set aside. All of the students will not be on the same

page at all times when it comes to reading levels and such. Intervention groups or centers can

help with instruction and getting students to understand the material better, however as much as

Mrs.Bosch wishes she could give each student the individual instruction time that they need;
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time is a constraint and a problem. Therefore, as a teacher it will be my job to come up with

appropriate lessons and activities that maximize instructional and learning time for the students

both within groups and individually.

Overall, I really enjoyed being able to have this opportunity during my associate degree

to be able to sit in on an elementary school classroom. It gave me the chance to see what the

work was actually going to be like in my chosen career field. One of my favorite parts was being

able to observe the school culture and watch the students in the morning do the announcements

and sing the school motto. I also loved being able to see the students be engaged in their learning

and work during this time. It made me excited about becoming a teacher, because I realized I

will be able to similar things someday in my own classroom which will be very fun. In

conclusion, I really liked watching the students interact with each other, and found the interview

and whole observation assignment very insightful.