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Department of Teacher Education & Learning Sciences

Elementary Education Program

Formal Observation Reflection


Directions: Complete the reflection questions and submit your response to your observer prior to having a post-
conference to discuss the observation. If a conference is held immediately after the observation you will submit
your responses to the observer the following day via email.

Name: Audrey Moore Date: 4/5/17

1. To what extent were learning outcomes appropriate and achievable to your students?

The three learning outcomes that I wanted students to meet during the lesson were: (1) Students
will discuss ways that the characters engage in bullying/are bullied in the text, and how it affects them,
(2) Students will list ways that bullying can be prevented in their school, and (3)Students will make a
visual model of how unkind words leave an impact on people, and be able to talk about how the model
represents that you can always apologize, but words still leave an impact, so you need to think before
you speak.
I think that the first learning outcome was very appropriate for students because it asked related
to the state standard that asked them to be able to describe characters in a story and how their actions
affected other characters. The second and third outcomes were related more to the story itself and the
theme of bullying, but my students consistently participate well in classroom discussions, so I knew
that they would be able to handle themselves appropriately in a more serious topic discussion. Looking
back, there are definitely ways that I could have assessed the students individual takeaways from the
lesson by having them complete individual activities, but I think that a whole-group setting was most
appropriate for this type of lesson because I was attempting to create a better sense of classroom
community through this lesson.

2. How effective were your instructional strategies? What changes would you make in your
instructional approaches if you taught this lesson again? Why?
One of my main instructional strategies was to ask students questions about what they were noticing in
the story and how they thought characters were feeling, rather than telling them my opinions. In order
to remember where I wanted to pause and ask questions, I marked some of the pages with sticky notes
and wrote my question on it. While I did have certain ideas in mind that I wanted to discuss, I tried to
make sure to make sure to acknowledge all of the students ideas. Another aspect of this lesson that I
had to manage was students getting distracted by ripping their paper continually during the ending
discussion. Since the paper was only supposed to be ripped during the story, I reminded students that
there were no more rips that needed to made in the paper while we were talking so they needed to put
their hands in their laps and their papers on the floor in front of them, and that worked.
Another instructional strategy that I used was Wait time. Each time I asked students a question, I
would pause and wait about 5 seconds before calling on a student. I also told students to, Think about
this for a minute, so that the ones who raised their hands immediately would have time to form a more
complete response, while students who were still thinking could have a chance to be called on as well.
If I taught this lesson again, I would make it more clear to students how the rips, tears, and crumples in
their papers represent the way that bullying leaves a mark on people.
3. Evaluate the effectiveness of your oral and written communication with students.
(Consider how well you communicated learning objectives, clarity of directions, use of standard
English, quality of questions and effectiveness of discussion techniques.)

When I opened up the lesson, I wrote the main I can statement on the whiteboard for all of
the students. Rather than just saying it out loud, I wrote it out and had a student verbally read it to the
class so that they knew what they were going to be doing during the lesson. The I can statement
came from the third grade state standard RL.3.3: Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits,
motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events. I wrote
the standard in more accessible terms as, I can describe characters in a story and how their actions
affect other characters. Throughout the lesson, we referred back to the standard and talked about
what ways the characters were affecting each other.
My discussion technique of having the students together as a whole group on the carpet was
effective because students were able to more clearly see each others paper people since they were
sitting close to one another. One thing that I would do next time is include a Turn and Talk. I had one
written into my lesson plans, but I forgot to incorporate it. I wanted to have students turn and talk to a
partner to tell them their initial reactions to the story, before engaging in a whole group discussion. I
think turn and talks take the pressure off of students who want to share ideas, just not in a whole group
setting. It also gives students a chance to process their thoughts and ideas in a low stress setting first.
This being said, a turn and talk would be appropriate for this type of lesson since the topic is
challenging.

4. Evaluate the level of student engagement in your lesson. (Consider how you presented the
content/skills, the activities and assignments for students, grouping of students, and structure
and pacing of the lesson.)
For the entirety of this lesson, I had students sitting in a group around me, while I sat in a chair
to read them the story. Looking back, this way of seating them was more effective than letting them sit
at their desks because in a closer group setting, students are more likely to participate and focus on me.
As I read the story, students asked questions about why the main character was acting the way
she was, and they also reacted with small comments throughout. Since the story took place in an
elementary school, I think that the students were able to connect more with the situation.
I think that the activity that I chose to pair with this lesson will leave an impact in the students minds.
While ripping paper each time you hear an unkind act seems very simple, it really helped the
students in my class to see how it is always possible to try to apologize to someone, but it can never
take back the words you said, so you need to think before you speak. I did notice that some students
took advantage of the chance to rip up paper and ripped the paper continually during the story, so if I
taught this lesson again, I would maybe tell students they could only crumple or fold up their paper, not
tear it, to reduce distraction.

5. How effectively did you use instructional materials, resources, and/or technology?
In order to carry out this lesson, I only needed a few simple materials. I needed the book, Each
Kindness, by Jacqueline Woodson, a whiteboard and markers to write down the objectives, a paper
cutout for each student, a piece of paper and markers to make a class list at the end, and sticky notes to
mark my discussion points in the book. I think that the book and sticky notes were effective because
the books central theme was relevant to the students lives, and the characters actions in the book
were distinct enough to help the students meet the objectives. When I read the book, I had all of the
students gather around me in a circle so that all of them could see. I read the book with the pictures
facing them too. I think that the paper people cutouts were also effective because not only did students
get a visual of how words can impact someone, but they were also forced to engage in the story by
interacting with them. The students could not rip or tear the person unless they heard something mean
done to one of the characters, so they had to carefully listen to details. One thing that I think I could
have done more effectively is the class list at the end. My intention was to wrap up our discussion on
kindness and the negative effects of bullying by composing a class list of ways that the students could
prevent bullying in their own school. I meant to make this on chart paper, but I ended up having to
write it on notebook paper. Next time, I would use chart paper so that the students could see it better, as
well as be able to hang it up in their classroom as a reminder.

6. To what extent were your assessment strategies effective? What changes would you make
in your assessment approach if you taught this lesson again? Why?

After reflecting on this lesson, I definitely think it was effective in the 30 minutes of time that I
had. My main assessment strategy was the paper people that the students were ripping and tearing
throughout the story. As I read the story students reacted by saying things like, Why is that girl being
so mean, Thats not fair, and I feel so bad for her. I made sure to pause and notice when students
ripped them so that I could see what details they were noticing, and what parts of the story they were
paying attention to. Each student ripped their person multiple times, and was able to recall a detail
from the story that made them choose to rip it when they did, so I consider that a success.
Due to time constraints, I ended the lesson by having a whole group discussion on how the
characters affected each other, what the themes of the story were, and how they could prevent bullying
in their own schools. Students made very thoughtful contributions to the discussion, so that showed me
they were engaged. However, if I had a full hour to teach this lesson, I would have made a few
changes. Since this lesson required students to empathize with the character, Maya, who was being
bullied, in order to describe how one character's actions affected another, I could have tied this into a
lesson on Point of View for ELA. I could have asked students to write a new part of the story from
Mayas point of view, in order to assess whether or not they understand how deeply unkind words can
affect people. I think that some form of individual work like this would give me a better indication of
student learning.

7. To what extent was your feedback to students accurate, substantive, constructive, specific,
and/or timely?
Since this lesson did not require students to submit anything to me, and all of the activities were
completed during the lesson, I had to give feedback as the lesson was going on. The feedback I gave to
students consisted of me acknowledging ideas and thoughts that the students raised their hands to
share, and letting them know that their idea was thoughtful or insightful, and that I was appreciative
that they contributed. I also gave feedback to students about their ideas that they shared to be put onto
the class bully prevention list. I included the ideas that each student shared, even if it was repetitive.
Another way I tried to give specific feedback was if one student brought up a new point in the
discussion, I would try to relate it to another students previous comment so that they knew I was really
listening to them.
For the students that did participate in this lesson, I would say that my feedback was
constructive. However, I do wish that there had been a way to give feedback to the students that did not
speak up, but did participate in the paper-people ripping activity. Looking back, maybe I could have
asked each student to give a detail about which part of the story made them choose to make one of
their rips, so that I could hear what each student took away from the story.

8. To what extent did the classroom management and environment contribute to student
learning? (Consider your classroom procedures, your use of physical space, and the students
conduct.)
My most effective classroom management technique that I used during this lesson was having
students sit on the carpet around me as I read the story, and as we engaged in a discussion on this
lesson. By sitting in this arrangement, students were emulating a community, and they were in better
position to hear each others ideas and comments when they were closer together, rather than spread
out at their individual desks. With the students near me at the carpet I was able to give everyone a good
view of the book and its illustrations, I could monitor the students use of the paper people and keep
them on task, and I was able to keep the students reminded of the standard we were meeting since they
were sitting close to the whiteboard that I wrote it down on.
Overall, the students were extremely respectful of each other during this discussion, but I did
have to remind students be respectful when other students were sharing ideas several times.

9. Did you make modifications to your lesson plan during the lesson? If so, what were they
and what motivated these changes?
Yes, I decided to make the state standard more clear during the lesson. Five minutes before I
taught the lesson, I read through my learning objectives one more time, and realized that the first one
connected very closely to one of the state standards (described above in question #3). I decided to
explicitly introduce the standard, rather than just incorporate it into our post-reading discussion. I did
this because I have noticed that my mentor teacher writes out her I can statements for students before
beginning a lesson because she wants the ELL learners to have a visual of what they are supposed to be
learning.
Also, I decided to make the class list of Ways to Prevent Bullying on Notebook paper instead
of chart paper because I was thinking that if I did it that way, I would be able to hang it up in the
classroom for everyone to be able to see. However, think I should have stayed with my original idea of
using chart paper because as I wrote on the notebook paper, the students could not see what I was
writing.

10. Was your Teaching Behavior Focus goal met?


My focus was to provide clear directions, provide ample student response opportunities, and making
sure that when I do ask questions, I am leaving proper wait time for students to answer questions (3+
seconds.) I chose these things because if students dont receive clear directions, they will not be
prepared to do their best work. Additionally, I want students not only to have time to respond, but also
enough wait time to respond so that students who take longer to formulate an answer will have a
chance to participate.
After discussing my lesson with my mentor teacher afterwards, I think that my goal of giving students
ample response opportunities was met. I paused very frequently to ask students for their opinions and
reactions to the story. Also, the class list at the end was made solely from student ideas about how to
prevent bullying in the school. My teacher also told me that she noticed I used good wait time when
asking questions to the students.
I think that my directions and expectations for the paper people could have been more explicit, but it
was still an effective activity.