Mrs. Laners’ teaches first grade at Smallville Elementary School in Smallville, Ohio. Her class is made up of nineteen students, eight of which have been diagnosed with ADHD. In addition to ADHD one student has also been diagnosed as oppositionally defiant, meaning he does the opposite of what is being said to him. He is the only student to have his own desk; all other students have assigned seats along three long tables on one side of the classroom. There is no teacher assistant assigned to this classroom.
The classroom is bright, with one wall being made up of windows, the others have student’s work posted. There are signs to remind students of the rules, the alphabet and numbers are listed and placed where everyone is able to see them. Two dry erase boards are on opposite ends of the room. There is ample cubby space, one for each student to place personal items such as a coat or backpack. The science area is home for ants at this point but has been home to many different species throughout the school year. The library area has a lamp with a rainbow of colors all around it and gives plenty of light to those who spend time reading there. There was no specific writing area set aside; the students are encouraged to write at their seats throughout the day.
My role in the classroom during this observation is not to be a participant, but a witness to how one teacher manages a class by herself.
The assignment I was invited to observe was a writer’s workshop. This assignment was a four day activity. I arrived on the morning of the fourth day only to discover that two students were not as far along in the workshop as was planned. The schedule was as follows:
Day 1-Discuss with a neighbor what they would like to write about.
Student’s write and draw first draft.
Day 2-Conference with the teacher.
Day 3-Publish (write, draw and compile pages)
Day 4-Book reading and comments given.
This workshop was building on telling a story. Throughout the school year, the class had been discussing how to tell a story, what to include in a story and how to put the pages together to produce a book. I have included the writer’s workshop assignment page and two samples of books that were written at the conclusion of this observation essay.
Circle Time and Interaction
A five minute warning was given shortly after I arrived. Another verbal prompt of three minutes was given before the bell rang for the students to turn in their finished books and sit on the carpet for circle time. The two students that were not finished with their stories were instructed to stay at their seats until they were completed.
The first item discussed was a quick review of what they had been working on for the last four days. The teacher brought...