Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Learning Space: What it was like

The first grade classroom that I am observing was an eye opener to me. Not in the sense that it has more or less than I expected, it just wasn’t exactly what I expected. What did I expect you ask? I’m not really sure to be honest. All the past and recent headlines about school districts all over the country, I guess one thing I expected was for the classroom to be small with over 30 students. What I walked into was a room that was larger than I expected with a student total of 24.

The teacher has the students organized in pods of 4 students each, which is a design I have favored from the beginning of my MATC program. I enjoy this set up for many reasons, but the primary reason would be the opportunities it offers for collaboration. This configuration is conducive to learning because all the students are able to see the front of the room nicely and the desks are only 2 rows deep. Additionally, this configuration allows for enough space for the other half of the room to have a small group table, an audio station and circle time.

Although the room is a larger size than I expected it to be, it is still not large enough to have center stations that covers all areas of content. Therefore, the teacher accommodates this need through centers stations that are written on the white board and are in bins located in the front of the room. Some of her stations include poems, word zone, math and book nook.

The classroom environment is a positive one. This is encouraged and modeled by the teacher through several means. First, the classroom rules are posted in the classroom in a space in which all students can clearly see them. Second, routines have been established and practiced, therefore leaving no excuse for misbehavior. Third, a program titled Character Counts has been instituted; in which students are begin the day with a green card. Their cards are turned to yellow, and then orange etc if the student’s behavior does not meet the expectations of the classroom or the teacher. If their card does not get turned throughout the whole day then the student receives a sticker for their behavior chart. Positive reinforcement is used to keep your card at green comes in the form of a prize from the prize box once your behavior chart is filled.

The physical & classroom environment of this 1st grade classroom has several aspects that I would possibility adapt in my own room in the future. Ideas have defiantly generated in my mind that were jump started from my experience in this classroom.

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