Sunday, April 25, 2010

Standard 6 Artifact 6.2

The handwritten sheet is my immediate reflection on the lesson, and all are things that I would alter. The typed sheets are part of the reflection I wrote after watching the video of that lesson. The assignment required us to watch the video and then answer questions about our teaching styles and strategies.


Name_____Colleen Kavanagh______________

Questions for Analysis: Please respond with comments

Describe your tone of voice. Does your tone vary in expression? Does it convey acceptance or impatience? Would you feel Comfortable taking risks given your tone of voice?

My tone of voice throughout the lesson is very calm and even toned. The only time that it really varied was during the classroom control. One method that I used was complimenting the children that were doing a good job listening and waiting for the instruction and when I did that my tone of voice was softer than it was when teaching the lesson.

The only other time that my tone changed was when I was quieting the classroom down when they were playing the UNO game, but the tone of voice didn’t convey that I was annoyed. The way sounded was that I was giving them a serious reminder to watch their noise level.

Listening to the lesson aspect I could tell when I was using humor to teach and when I was asking questions. I feel very comfortable with the tone and expression in my voice.

What is the nature of your verbalization? What kind of questions do you tend to ask most? Are they problem-solving questions? Questions that relate to real world experiences?

One thing that Joan and I have been working on throughout the semester is my tendency to pose open-ended questions to the students. While I have been working on changing this, listening to the lesson there were three instances when I posed questions that were not very direct. I need to remember to say things like “raise your hand if you have an example sentence” rather than saying “does anyone have an example sentence.” This way there is no room for a student to give a smart aleck remark that could disrupt the classroom learning.

The questions that I posed most during the lesson were about which form of the homophone to the students would use in the sentence. This was a direct question that the students could only give one of three answers to. After they responded I asked them to explain their thinking, which helped to reinforce the answer to the responding student and all the ones that were listening.

How responsive are you to what children are saying? Are you more responsive to certain children than to others?

Looking at the video I think that I did a good job of honoring student comments and answers. I was careful to call on a variety of children, and I definitely had a mental list of students that I wanted to answer (these were students that I thought might struggle with the lesson and would benefit from the attention). However, I did not ignore any children and was careful about responding to their hand signals. In my classroom if students had the same answer as someone else they can shake their hand to show that they were thinking the same thing rather than raising their hand to tell me they were thinking the same thing. I noticed that I saw the hand signals multiple times and said something along the lines of “I can see that many of you were thinking the same thing as ___.”

There was also an instance where one student wanted to share a trick she had to remember which homophone to use. She asked to share it in the middle of my direction giving so I told her that I would love to hear her trick but it would be best if she told me after I gave all the definitions. When the definitions were through she was able to stand up and share her trick with the class.

How often do you acknowledge children? What is the nature of this acknowledgement? What is your body language?

When I acknowledge what the students are saying I face them and make eye contact so they know that I am listening to their response. Another thing that I noticed I do is reiterate what they told me so not only am I rewording it for those students that may have been confused by their classmate’s comment, but I am also showing the student who was speaking that I was really listening to what they had to say.

I also noticed that there were times that I nodded my head at students who were shaking their hands in the middle of a classmate’s comment to show that I know they were on the same page.

How do you provide feedback to children regarding their performance? Do you tend to make global statements such as “good job” or do you tend to be more specific?

One major thing that I took from Jill this semester was the tendency to make specific comments about students’ behavior that I liked. This way the students know exactly what I liked so they can repeat the behavior in the future. These comments were usually made about behavior (e.g. I really like the way that student x is sitting with their legs crossed and their hands folded, waiting for the next sentence). However, I did notice that I made similar comments about student’s sentences. I didn’t remember making them but there was an instance where I praised one student for having a creative sentence (My mom packed me too many cookies for snack so I saved some of them for lunch). I told the student that I really loved the way that they brought in a real life example because they were focusing on writing stories about events that happened to them during Writers Workshop.

Affective Qualities: Describe an example or instance from the lesson you taught that shows each of the following qualities.

Accepting and tolerant

During the lesson I asked on student to think of an example sentence using the homophone too. The student was taking a bit longer than the other students and so I let him work out the sentence in his head. I knew that he was the kind of student who really liked to consider his answers before giving them and so I asked the other students to give him some time and wait patiently. Eventually the student gave a really thoughtful example.

Encouraging and supportive

One student gave me an incorrect answer to the fill in the blank question I asked. Rather than tell her she was wrong and ask someone else to give me the correct answer I guided her through the options. Once we went through the options she asked if she could change her answer and gave me the right one.

Friendly and warm

When the student shared her trick for remembering the differences between the homophones I thanked her for sharing her knowledge with us and honored her example.

Having an appropriate use of humor

When I noticed the students were getting restless at the end of the part of the lesson on the rug I told them I had one more sentence for them and then wrote “it is ___ loud in here, the noise is hurting my ears.” I then read the sentence to the students in a teasing manner, but they got my hint and settled down.

Calm, in spite of conflicting demands

There were two boys that were not paying close attention to what I was teaching and I had to speak to them multiple times. However, each time I did it my voice was soft and calm. After the group left the rug I went to speak with each of them and calmly expressed my displeasure that they were not focusing and expressed my hope that they would pay attention for the rest of the lesson.

Attentive and responsive to students’ needs and interests

There was one boy in particular in my class that really needs extra teacher attention and gets discouraged easily. I knew that he was not feeling very confident about the lesson and getting frustrated with the worksheet so I went over to help him and then assigned him the special task of making sure that everyone was making the correct column of UNO cards. He loved the attention and the responsibility.


After reflecting on your use of interpersonal skills during your videotaping, please complete the following statements.

  1. I felt really good about…

My tone of voice when talking to the students. I think the tone that I was using throughout the lesson was a good one and made for a good learning environment.

  1. I was uncomfortable with…

The way that I handled the two students who were not paying attention. I feel as though I should have gone over and talked to them during the lesson because then I wouldn’t have had to interrupt the class as much with comments to them. Or I could have changed my tone and spoken a bit more sternly to them.

  1. What I learned most about myself was…

That I have very expressive hands. I never realized how much I moved my hands when I talk, but after watching the videotape I noticed that I couldn’t just stand there. I always need to be doing something with my hands.

  1. I had problems with…

How much I twisted my rings. As a result of always needing to move my hands I was twisting my rings a lot and I feel like that may have been a bit distracting for some students.

  1. Things I would do differently next time include ….(state why)

Ask two students to pass out the auction cards for me. This way I could still be standing in front of the class controlling their behavior and engaging them in the lesson. By passing the cards out myself students were just sitting there with nothing to focus on and they got distracted very easily.

I would also have the sentences written on the board ahead of time. Every time I turned around to write a sentence on the board it again took away from the classroom control. It would have been much easier if I had had that planned out ahead of time.

  1. The decision I made during the lesson that stays most in my mind was…

Keeping those two boys in the back of the group. If I could change that I would have had them move themselves to the front of the group so I knew they were focusing. By allowing them to stay in the back they were able to get away with more and got less out of the lesson. I could see them clearly in the viewing of my lesson and I was not happy with it at all.

  1. When I think about teaching, learning, and the learning process, I learned….

That I need to really think about classroom management when making my lesson plans. I may have some ideas of how the students will react to my teaching, but it makes a big difference when you think of how you will handle their reactions. If I had really thought about it I would have separated some students, had two children pass out the auction cards, and had the sentences on the board before the lesson even began. I could have covered the sentences up and uncovered them one by one.

I also learned that I need to be flexible in my plans. My teacher told me the morning of the lesson that she would give me extra time for the students to play the UNO game. I had planned enough time for them to make the cards but not play. Jill pointed out that it would be unfair for them to put in all the work and then not be able to use the cards. Because I hadn’t planned on playing the game I didn’t spend much time thinking of how I would introduce it. Calling the class over for a demonstration was probably the best thing I could have done, but I wish I had thought more about who would demonstrate and how I could have written the rules to make them more child friendly. I really just need to think about every individual aspect of the lesson and really plan what I am going to do every step of the way.

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