Classroom Observations

I am currently a student intern at Ryan Middle School where I work with 7th grade English students.   My mentor teacher has been teaching at this school for about twenty years, so I’ve had a chance to see several different practiced management strategies in action.   My mentor teacher has a vocab word on the board each day for the students to copy down into their notebooks.   The students enter the classroom, hand out their notebooks, and begin copying down the vocab word.   This helps to give the students time to transition into the classroom and begin getting on task for the day.   Once the class actually begins my mentor teacher walks around the classroom during independent work time, making sure to walk around the entire classroom.   By doing this she is always aware of what most if not every student is doing, and is able to stop classroom disruptions before they begin.   My mentor teacher normally keeps class going until about a minute or a minute and a half before the bell rings.   She does this to keep students from congregating at the door for the classroom.

The three most common transitions I see are putting away writer’s notebooks, handing out the work for the day, and putting away computers at the end of a class period that uses computers.   My mentor teacher collects the writer’s notebooks every morning after the students do the vocab word or free write they are assigned.   She does this by having the students pass the notebooks forward and then having one student collect all the notebooks.   By doing this, she ensures there isn’t a mass rush of students trying to put away their notebooks all at once.   When handing out the work for the day, whether the work is the reading we are going to be doing, or the computers the kids will need, my mentor teacher tries to make sure to keep a discussion or lecture going.   This way the students have something to pay attention to.   If the students are picking up computers she dismisses them one row at a time to make sure there aren’t too many students crowded around the computer cart.   She does the same thing when students need to put computers away, allowing one row at a time to go.

I think the best strategy I saw that I would want to use in my own classroom is walking around the class keeping an eye on every student.   In most of my classes growing up the teacher stayed at the front of the class leading discussions or giving lectures.   I like seeing teachers walking up and down the rows interacting with each student, and I want to make sure I incorporate this into my own classroom in the future.

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