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Michael Casey

PreK-5 Elementary Developmental Project

Pat V(E): Individual reflection

Every day, parents send their children to school with high hopes of academic success. As

educators, we are tasked with not only teaching our students but molding them into their best

possible selves. In order to gain a better understanding of what it takes to ensure all of our

students receive an excellent education, it is important to take a look at the developmental

differences and growth areas that occur at each grade level.

As part of the elementary developmental project, I had the opportunity to observe

classrooms at the following levels: Pre-K, 3rd grade, and 5th grade. My experiences as an

enhancement teacher at a K-8 school also influence my reflections. Developmentally, students

experience a lot of change and growth between Pre-K and 5th grade.

Using the observation rubric my group created, I was able to look for some of the key

social and emotional differences at each grade level. Teachers were really focusing on ensuring

students had a love for learning. Pre-K teachers taught with a lot of love and worked to ensure

that students enjoyed coming to school. Learning seemed fun and students were encouraged to

work with others. I think when we talk about rigorous instruction; we can easily get side tracked

by looking at opportunities for our upper elementary learners. However, rigorous instruction

should also be occurring in our lower elementary classes too. Literacy is a great vehicle to do this

with. Weaving the thread of literacy from our Pre-K through 5th grade classrooms will give our

students the building blocks to succeed when they enter middle school and high school.

In the 5th grade classroom I observed students making inferences about a passage they

were about to read. These are the types of skills that have to be planted at a young age if we want

students to be able to apply the skill in college or in the workforce. I was really impressed with
how the 3rd grade teacher designed her centers during the literacy block. As noted on the rubric,

students in 3rd grade notably like to work with different peer groups. Students also have a limited

attention span. The teacher had the students switching groups and centers very 12 to 15 minutes.

This gave me confidence that the teacher was really working with students in a developmentally

appropriate way.

Throughout the course of the observations, I learned that teachers need to be aware of the

developmental differences at each grade and age level. I observed teachers that seemed to be

doing a great job with aligning their instruction to the learners in their classroom. As a school

leader, it might be a good idea to offer some developmental refreshers from time to time for

teachers. It is common for teachers to switch grade levels a few times throughout their career.

When a teacher understands where each child is developmentally, the opportunity for growth is

nearly limitless!