05 December 2017

Classroom Management Observations

Observation Reflection 
Managing a classroom effectively 

For this activity, three special education classrooms were observed. My own K5 Special-Ed class,  Room 31 4th grade Special-Ed class, and Resource Special-Ed class.  In these observations I observed how the rules and procedures were implemented, and how teacher and staff interactions affected classroom behaviors.

Observation 1:
PERL K5 Room 32 Special Education
Teacher: Janelle McGee
Activity Observed: Social Skills

When observing classroom 32, the rules and procedures were listed on a poster and visible to staff and students in the classroom. There were three posters placed around the classroom that reminded students of the school rules. Those rules were “Be Respectful, Be Responsible,  and Be a problem solver”. There was also a work done procedure in the classroom. This poster indicated the options that a student had when they completed their work. Those options included drawing a picture, writing a story, reading, and completing worksheets.

These rules were being implemented in the classroom observation. Student’s were required to raise their hands before speaking or shouting out answers. When students occasionally forgot to raise there hands, they were asked by the teacher or a staff to reframe and try again. Because the class is special education, some students have goals that require them to raise their hand in order to answer a question. Per my observations, a student was required to raise his hand without speaking the answer out loud. This student was successful in three out of 5 trials. All four students during observations were being safe, following the raising hand rule before speaking, and they were being respectful.

Some rules that were not being implemented was the no running rule. When students were dismissed into their stations, a student ran to the blue station and was asked to reframe and try again by the teacher.
The rules and procedures established in the classroom during the observation had a positive impact on the application on student behavior. Student’s were calm as they followed the safe procedure. Student’s were on task as they knew what behaviors were expected of them. The teacher and staff modeled high behavioral expectations, and the students worked hard at meeting these expectations.

In the observation, the organization of the students included group-like setting. As there are only four students in the class three stations were being ran. Those stations were the red station which was ran by the teacher and had two students, and the other two stations was the blue and purple station. The blue station had a staff and two students, while the purple station had one staff and one student. This organization of students had a positive impact on behaviors because the separation of students allowed for one on one student and staff interaction, which created a positive classroom climate for motivational learning. Student’s were staying in their seats since it was separated groups, and they did not have the need to get up.
The type of activities students were engaged in during the observation included independent work with ten minute station intervals. Each student had an assignment to complete while a staff sat next to each student for guidance and support. This resulted in positive impact on student behaviors because a staff was always besides a student to remind them of the rules.
In special education classes students are expected to misbehave. During the observation there was  no misbehaving. When students did not follow the rules and directions, the students were asked to reframe. The impact that this had on the students was positive, as it reminded students of the class rules that need to be implemented.
The strategies and withitness used by the teacher included setting clear expectations and directives. The teacher modeled positive behavioral expectations and was a positive influence in the class. Consistency is key as it creates positive habits in the classroom. Positive reinforcements by use of praise allowed students to feel respected in the classroom. Each student is different, and requires different methods to handle behaviors. In special education students have behavioral intervention plans (BIP's) to assist students in on task behavior in the classroom.

Observation 2
Room 31 Special Ed
Activity Observed English Language Arts

For this observation I observed the special education class next door to mine.  This class contains five students with a large staff to student ratio. During this observation the activity the students were engaged in was ELA (English Language Arts). The students were sitting in a circle on the rug in the middle of the classroom while the teacher read a book and asked questions about the book. During this time four students were participating in this activity while another student was at his desk typing on his Chromebook, while a staff was sitting next to him.

The rules and procedures were posted around the classroom. The school rules posted in the classroom included “Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be a Problem Solver”.  There was also a work done procedure poster in the front of the classroom. The behavioral expectations in this classroom were very high. The teacher modeled high behavioral expectations, and the students knew how they should behave on the rug when sitting down next to their peers listening to the story. The teacher required hands raised before speaking when asked a question about the story. Also the students were well behaved and kept their hands to themselves while on the rug together. They followed the rules while in this activity, although the teacher had to remind two students twice to keep their hands to themselves, or by the warning they would return back to their desks. When given this warning, this teacher student interaction had a positive impact on student’s behavior because the students got a reminder of expected behaviors, as well as were able to get a warning to turn around their behavior. The students who were on task the whole time were rewarded with positive reinforcement in the form of tokens on their token board in which they could earn candy when the token board was filled up. This was a similar reinforcement strategy next door, as all special education classes follow this positive reinforcement procedure.

The students were organized into a small quiet group on the rug for teacher and group instruction, while one student had individual work at his desk while a staff was near him monitoring him. This organization of the students had a positive impact on student behaviors because the expectations for behaviors were set high since students were expected by teacher, staff, and peers to follow all rules while on the rug, otherwise they would have the consequence of returning back to their desk. This group work activity had a positive effect on academic behavior since students were able to be in a group setting and interact with peers as well as teacher and have a group discussion.
The teacher’s response to the misbehavior on the rug group activity breaking the rule keeping hands to themselves, resulted in a positive impact on the students behaviors, as it provided warnings to the students misbehaviors which allowed them to fix the wrong behavior. This also served as positive praise to the students who were on task, as they received tokens for modeling positive behavior, and the impact of this allowed for the on task students to continue being on task.

The strategy that the teacher implemented of giving warnings and then the consequence of returning to the student’s desk when they became off task was a memorable strategy in which I also use in my classroom. I thought it resulted in positive behavior from students, as well as reminded students what proper behavior should be implemented. I believe students behaviors could be improved in a group like situation if the teacher reminded the students of the rules she wanted implemented prior to the students getting released to join as a group for activity.
Some withitness and behavioral management techniques  that are useful when keeping a positive impact on behaviors in the classroom include keeping structure and consistency. Teachers should also model positive behaviors that would like to be seen in the classroom. The behavioral expectations in the classroom should also be set high by staff, teachers, and students themselves in order to result in positive classroom climate, in turn motivating students to learn.

Observation 3
Class Observed: Resource Special Education Grade 2
Activity Observed: Writing

This last observation I observed Special Education Resource class. The activity being taught was writing and the population of the student was a second grader. It was individualized instruction, since there was only one student in the classroom.

The school rules were posted in this classroom as well. Those rules were “Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be a Problem Solver”.  There were no visible classroom rules posted. Since the teacher was giving one on one direction whiles sitting directly next to the teacher, the safety behavioral expectations were set high, as the student was expected to be safe and keep hands to himself while completing is writing assignment with the pencil. The teacher student interaction had a positive impact on the student’s behavior, as the student was expected to be safe with the pencil while completing his writing assignment. The student followed the safety behavioral rule while with the teacher, and no consequences or warnings were given for misbehavior since the student did mot misbehave. This student was great completing his work with his pencil without having to be reminded of behavioral rules when using a pencil. I think it would have been beneficial to the student to go over rules of behavior regarding pencil usage prior to working on the writing assignment.
Strategies and withitness of the teacher in this resource program are that there should always be consistency and structure in the classroom. Clear expectations and directives should always be addressed. Creating positive habits in the classroom will make for a positive climate which will help motivate students to learn.

References :
Marzano, R. J. (2010). The art and science of teaching: a comprehensive framework for effective instruction. Alexandria, Va: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Reading Specialists and Classroom Management. (n.d.). The SAGE Encyclopedia of Classroom Management. doi:10.4135/9781483346243.n270

02 December 2017

Reflecting on High Expectations


The international Ranking of Student Achievement

Academic achievement is reported around the world by student performance on international tests that result in rankings of countries. One of these tests Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), provides a high ranking readings by policy members to determine if a country has a strong educational system. PISA is an assessment to determine if young adults starting at age 15, have the skills needed to cope with everyday society skills such as loss of a job, family breakup, solving problems, and making decisions.

After the assessment, PISA allows educators and policy makers to determine the correct policies that should be in place to then adapt into local contexts.
International Math and science student (TIMSS) is another international ranking of student achievement. This assessment begin as assessing students in fourth grade, and also in eighth grade. This was first conducted in 1995, with statistics that were recorded helped to gauge where students were at academically according to math and science in the United States as well as other countries. By analyzing TIMSS  statistical report educators are able to examine changes in mathematical and science achievement. By doing this, teachers can edit or modify lesson plans I  the classroom. This assessment examines scores from United States and other countries, so I was able to look at the statistics of the US as well as California, which is where I teach,  so it was interesting to read the statistics from 2011. Some specific examples contrasting rankings of a few other countries and some  key statistics include :

-The US average math score at grade 4 was higher than the international TIMSS scale average which is set at 500.
-At grade 4 the US was among the top 15 education systems in math, and scored higher, on average than 42.
-The six educational systems with average science scores above the US score were Korea, Singapore, Finland, Japan, The Russian Federation , and Chinese Taipei CHN.


Some reasons for the International ranking of the country include the expectation of high academic achievement. By having such high academic achievements, teachers are expected to go through a series of classes and exams, resulting in a list of qualifications that is required in order to teach. In California where I am from, went to school, and now currently teach, it is required for all teachers to at least have a Bachelors degree, a teaching credential, pass the CBEST, which is an exam to teach, and have a masters degree. Because expectations are so high for academics at a young age, it allows for the proper preparation of those wanting to become educators, as well as provides a positive climate in the education system since it is expected to earn degrees, and pass exams. With such high academic expectations the role of teachers and educators is that they are expected to administer life skills preparation, science and math preparation, and have students pass exams so that the state they are in as well as the country they are in can have a high international ranking.

 By administering tests like TIMSS and PISA, by analyzing the results it is able to help identify what mathematics and science, as well as life skills are  taught in the classroom.  Also by collecting background information on students, schools, teachers, curricula, and official education policies, cross natural comparison of educational context can then be related to student achievement.

Academic Expectations of Teachers, Schools, and Parents in the US
The academic expectations of teachers are held to a high standard by school officials. Teacher’s play a vital role in the preparation of students and academic testing. At my school in particular, teachers are required to take mandatory trainings for each student required assessment. Teacher’s must be able to administer these tests properly, as well as accurately prepare students to be successful when testing. The academic expectations of school when assessing students is also high. Schools have to be accountable for students test scores. They are held to high standards, and if these test standards are not met, schools can get in trouble for that. When schools get in trouble for not meeting testing standards, they have to come down on hard on the teachers because it means the teachers did not adequately prepare the students, and that can result in terminating teachers. Lastly, parents have a vital role in the preparation of assessments for students. It is the parents job to ensure that the students have rested properly, and eaten breakfast. Getting the proper preparation and rest at home, can help improve assessment scores in the classroom, which help teachers and schools. Teacher’s, parents, and schools are all similar in terms of academic expectations. The similarity is that all three of those groups want student success in assessments. When the students are successful in exams, it means the schools did there job in preparing teachers with ample information and test administration, it means teachers did there jobs in preparing the students academically for testing, and Parents did there part to in making sure students were well rested and ate breakfast. The differences of academic expectations of teachers, schools, and Parents is that each one had a different and specific role in ensuring the student pass assessments.

My Perception of Academic Expectations of Teachers, Schools, and Parents in the US

My personal perception of academic expectations of teachers, school, and Parents in the US is that I am in agreeable that each teacher, school, and parent has an important role in ensuring proper preparation and success in student assessments. I believe standards should be set high for students, and for teachers since they are together all year and can prepare together.

My View of the Importance of a Teacher Setting High Academic and Behavioral Expectations for Students 

It is very important the role a teacher plays in setting high academic and behavioral expectations for students. As far as behaviors, teachers need to implement rules and procedures in the classroom that protect students, staff, and encourage a positive classroom climate. By doing this, students will be more motivated to learn. Academic expectations should also be set high from the first day of class. The teacher is seen as the leader. If the teacher fails to implement academic and behavioral expectations, students will model that behavior, which may result in poor test scores.


Marzano, R. J. (2010). The art and science of teaching: a comprehensive framework for effective instruction. Alexandria, Va: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Yow, J. A. (n.d.). Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study. Encyclopedia of Curriculum Studies. doi:10.4135/9781412958806.n477

PISA 2012 Results: Ready to Learn (Volume III). (2013). Pisa. doi:10.1787/9789264201170-en

30 November 2017

Visual and Verbal Literacies: Freshman ENG I: ANALYSIS of 3 Videos: Roller Coster Physics, Chinese Math, Whole Brain Teaching

Visual and Verbal Literacies: Freshman ENG I: ANALYSIS of 3 Videos: Roller Coster Physics, Chinese Math, Whole Brain Teaching

ANALYSIS of 3 Videos: Roller Coster Physics, Chinese Math, Whole Brain Teaching


Roller Coaster Physics:

This video was really great to watch. The teacher had the students learning physics through fun by hands on learning. She implemented project based learning by having this project run over the course of a little over a week. The first week she had them test, the next week she had the students design their own coaster.

The strategies that she used worked well with her classroom. The first strategy she used was called chiming. This is where she would pick a chimer, that student would then tell about what trials and tribulations they had during the experiment from the week before, and other students would take notes while chiming into the chimer. The benefits of this was that it was a formative assessment tool for the teacher to understand where the students are at. It also promotes automus learning where students value other ideas and opinions. Another strategy that the teacher used was sketch designs. She separated the students into groups, and each group created a model sketch. The benefit of this strategy was that again the teacher could tell where the students were at, and it also created self assessment and peer assessment for the students. Sketches also created a team building environment, and allowed the students to come to a consensus on the project.

The teacher's strategies of more constraints eventually created better problem solvers in the classroom because the students were able to think more and problem solve because of the lack of materials.
As far as academic expectations there were high expectations from the beginning. The students were on task, and the teacher never had to remind anyone to be respectful and listen to peers during chiming. Each student was given a job to do and treated others with respect because that student had a job to complete. No student was wandering around the classroom bored  because every student had a role and something to do. The behavior expectations were to be on task, safe with materials, and respectful when a student has the floor to talk. The norms and procedures were already in place because the student who was given the job of managing money knew about the budget that they had to stick to, ensuring no materials were stolen or out of place. The modeling of behavioral expectations were already high, so that was the norm in this classroom.
The teaching strategies used complimented positive aspects of project based learning. By providing each student with a role, each student always had something to do. It created cognitive flow because ideas from one student would roll onto another student during chiming, which really enhanced group collaboration. Student’s also used 21st century research skills by using technology to research ideas for their rollercoaster. The subject was engineering, but math was incorporated into this project with the idea of purchasing materials. That’s was super creative. A clear directive of how this activity would play out in my K5 Special Ed class has some pros and cons. For the chiming strategy, the con would be that my students would struggle as each student cannot stay quiet for long, and aren’t the best at taking turns. A pro for chiming in my class would be to pair them up rather than the whole class, and then do the chiming, as my students would greatly benefit from peer interaction. The other teaching strategy of sketching would greatly benefit my classroom. The pros of this include peer assessment as my students would be able to share their sketches after an activity we do such as reading or morning journal. By doing this I would also be able to see what they remembered from the story we read as I can look at the sketch that they drew. All in all, this was a great video to watch. I will be implementing some strategies in my own classroom to create a positive environment.

Chinese Math:

This video was interesting. The behavioral expectations were that the students be engaged in the lesson. They all had to chant in unison. It was a group lesson, which required the students to listen to the teacher.
The academic expectations included the memorization of times tables. The teacher lacked visuals in this lesson, as she would only use the whiteboard to write down math problems in which all answers had to come from each students memory. That is a lot of pressure when having to chant the correct answer as a class. It also makes it hard for the teacher to keep teach of which student got the answer incorrect.
 The learning objective was that the students were expected to multiple three digit numbers at the end of the lesson. I believe the teaching strategies she used included a transitional approach. It seemed that to get the students attention she chanted something similar to “one, two, three eyes one me”, and the students chanted back before going onto the next problem. That seemed to work for her as the students were engaged, focused, and sat appropriately on the rug during the lesson.
Memorizing a math chant at an early age for 15 hours a week creates high standards and expectations in the Chinese society. Because math is one of the three core subjects in curricular exam, learning math and memorizing chants happens in the classroom as well as at home. It is great to have parents so involved in their children's education.

The Norms and procedures in this video stated clear rules. The teacher reviewed the rules before the lesson, which included how to sit on the carpet appropriately, raising hands before speaking, and listening to the full question before answering.
The teaching strategy of repetition and memorization of multiplication tables compliments positive aspects of approach. By memorization of multiplication tables students will always be thinking about math. Not only will students be always thinking about math, but it encourages parents to be more involved since math is a core subject that gets standardized testing. A clear directive of how repetition and memorization would work in my classroom would be during math. Having my students memorize math is a great idea and helps stimulate the mind. As a con to this strategy, as stated earlier the chanting in the video of the math answers would not work in my classroom due to behaviors.

Whole Brain Teaching:

In this video the academic expectations were high. Whole Brain Teaching was similar to the gradual release model, as it emphasized on how to teach a lesson. It used different methods and techniques that had attention grabbers, brain engagement, direct instruction, and collaborative learning. The students got to teach each other and learn from each other in finding locations.

Behavioral expectations included frequent collaboration. The students were engaged and expected to teach each other. It was expected for student to manage their own learning during collaboration.

The norms and procedures in this video were well established in a sense that the students knew what was expected of them. There was a brief review of the rules with the teacher and the students before the activity, and a list of rules that required students to raise hands before speaking, keep the teacher happy, make smart choices, and follow directions quickly. These rules seemed to work well in this classroom to create a positive climate.
The teaching strategy of collaborative learning compliments the positive aspect of the students teach students approach that was happening in the video. A pro to this approach is that when the students were having collaborative students discussions, it created peer and self assessment , which let the teacher keep track of where the students were at, and allowed social interaction for the students. A con of having the students teach each other is that if the student did not learn the lesson fully, they could be teaching the wrong idea to the other students. A clear directive of this would work in my classroom would be after a lesson having all four of my students get together in a group, group, and one sharing at a time ideas and thoughts, receiving feedback from the group.


Teaching K5 Special education in Fairfield, California means that I have to cater to different learning and behavioral levels. My class includes emotionally disturbed students, students with learning disabilities, students with behavioral disabilities, as well as autistic students. Watching these three videos have enlightened my teaching strategies, and opened up new learning possibilities for my classroom.
In comparing how I would create learning environments for my students that are similar to the three situations in the videos, I would keep all two scenarios similar except for one. For the first video Roller Coaster Physics, in contrast to having my students test the experiment at the same time across the classroom, I would have one group go at a time. I loved how each student had a job and role for the activity. The project based learning project would also be appropriate to use in my classroom. My students are antsy and almost anything can trigger a behavior it is best to have materials kept by the teacher and staff until the materials are ready to be used. I would also modify this activity in terms of materials that are physically hard so that they cannot be turned into weapons of destruction.
For the second video Chinese Math, this activity would work well for my classroom. I currently have four students total, so sitting on the rug together would not be a problem. As stated earlier, every student in my classroom is special and loves to be heard. Chanting out the answers does not work well in my classroom because some students like to be heard over other students, while other students don’t like to talk at all, with the end result resulting in behaviors. As a modification to this lesson food my classroom, instead of having the students chant together, I would call specifically on a quiet hand and ask for the answer. I do like the memorization of multiplication tables. In class currently, I have given each student a multiplication chart, and we will begin the memorization process shortly. I am thankful to have watched this video prior so that I can test out some strategies in my own classroom.
The last video Whole Brain Teaching was interesting to watch. Similarly in my classroom, I also have the students read out the rules as a class. This type of chanting works well with my students as they are all in agreement of the rules. Hopefully in the future rather than chanting the rules, my students will be able to implement the rules daily in the classroom. In conclusion, the videos watched all had the same thing of creating a positive classroom environment which in the end is essential for the motivation of students to learn.

Wei, K. (n.d.). Explainer: what makes Chinese maths lessons so good? Retrieved March 25, 2014, from http://theconversation.com/explainer-what-makes-chinese-maths-lessons-so-good-24380
Whole Brain Teaching – The fastest growing education reform movement in the world! (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2017, from http://wholebrainteaching.com/

10 November 2017

Creating a Climate of Caring and Concern in the Classroom for Students From Diverse Racial, Ethic, and Cultural Groups

Creating a Climate of Caring and Concern in the Classroom for Students from Diverse Racial, Ethnic, and Cultural Groups

By: Janelle McGee

When teachers can implement positive teacher-student relationships in the classroom, that in turn creates a positive climate in the classroom. When students are comfortable in their environment, they are motivated to learn. From greeting students at the door before they come into class, to making eye contact, smiling, and engaging in appropriate playful behavoirs students benefit from personal engagements with the teacher.

Student's come from many diverse, racial, and ethnic cultural groups. Coming from a different country myself, Trinidad and Tobago, my skin is dark and I am from a different cultural and racial background than my students. It is very important to create a climate of caring and concern. Creating this type of environment decreases bullying and increases academic achievement and psychological well-being all while mitigating the negative effects of soceoeconomic status. When the teacher can give off the image of a team approach in the classroom, students will believe that they and the teacher are all on the same team while leaving cultural, racial, and soceoeconimal differences behind because while in the classroom we are all "one".

Some reccomendations on creating a positive climate of Caring and Concern in the Classroom for Students from Diverse Racial, ethnic, and Cultural Groups include an assessment of the current climate, creating a shared vision, and working together to carry out the shared vision. An example of assessing the current climate in the classroom would be at the beginning of the year with an ice breaker activity. An "All About Me " questionnaire can break the jitters of new students in a classroom as well as break the ice for personal relationships between stude t and teacher. Questions like what did you do over summer break, what is your favorite hobby, and how many brothers and sisters do you have are all questions that can help the teacher learn more about the students outside of the classroom. Creating a shared vision in the classroom means that student and teacher are all on the same team with one goal; learning. Being on the same team eliminates "I'm better than you because my skin color or where I'm from", and puts everyone on the same team. This encourages social interactions, and can develop interpersonal relationships in the classroom when students help students. When working together as a class with one shared vision, there are limitless possibilities of learning that can happen in the classroom.

When creating a positive climate in the classroom, teachers should be aware that issues can always arise. That means if the teacher tries to male a joke, make sure it is appropriate and not racial or degrading. Also the teacher when relating to the students must relate to every student so that one does not feel left out. By doing this and relating to all students rather than just one it can eliminate negative vibes.

In conclusion, it is essential for teachers to create a climate of care and Concern in the Classroom. In my 4th Grade special ed class, I notice less Behavoirs happening when I can relate to my students on a personal level. Student's become motivated to learn in the classroom, and with the use of 21st century technology students become excited to come to school, learn with other classmates, and engage with the teacher.

 Key Factors in Creating a Positive Classroom Climate. (2017, September 28). Retrieved November 10, 2017, from http://www.cfchildren.org/blog/2012/08/key-factors-in-creating-a-positive-classroom-climate/

How to Create a Positive School Climate. (n.d.). Retrieved November 10, 2017, from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_to_create_a_positive_school_climate

04 June 2014

29 May 2014

Presentation SD

My software for powerpoint wasn't working properly, so I converted it in a video.

I hope its fine with everyone :)