Classroom Observation Report
I observed a general education kindergarten class at Monte Vista Elementary school in the Albuquerque public school district in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The setup of the classroom had four round tables with six seats for the capacity of 24 students in total. The round tables were placed as a ‘U’ with the opening towards the front of the classroom.
There was a colorful rug in the middle of the ‘U”, with the alphabet displayed on it. With the placement of the tables, it was very easy for the teacher and teaching assistants to walk around to help any student in need. The colorful area rug was designed for out loud reading activities and lessons. The class was very organized. All toys, supplies and materials were labeled and put into storage bins in the back of the classroom where anyone can easily access it.
The lesson format was very structured and it was displayed in the front of the class with a time schedule. Students enter the classroom, put away their belongings and participate in about 20 minutes of free time. Free time consists of socializing, playing with toys, number blocks and more. Students then perform the pledge of allegiance; listen to the morning announcements and any comments the teacher has to make for the day.
Then they also select the line leader, door holder and snack helpers for the day. After that, the students go through their morning routine which consists of reciting the alphabet, colors and answering simple questions. Most of the instruction is done on the carpet in the front of the classroom. This space is used so students can interact with the instructor and get close to the book or material that is being presented. The tables the students sit at are used to complete written work or other assignments.
The teacher and TA’s use a three strike system with the students. When a student is asked to change their negative behavior for the third time, they are isolated from the rest of the group. For effective classroom management, the teacher set up behavior goals and provides incentives to behave well. While walking around the classroom, teaching assistants stay close to problem spots and turn the ring leaders into class leaders.
There were about three students with an emotional or behavior disorder in the classroom. With an emotional or behavior disorder these students have inability to learn, to maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships, they also have inappropriate types of behaviors or feelings and the tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears. One child had a temper tantrum in the middle of the reading lesson. Apparently, he did not like the story being told and decided to scream and cry.
Instead of a teaching assistant removing the child and isolating him from the class, she started to scold him and make a scene in front of the other children. The child’s motivation for this behavior was to escape the lesson being told. Early intervention and identification is critical in order to avoid these situations.
After observing the first class, I learned that it is essential to create a positive and meaningful environment and incorporate positive reinforcement. The rules displayed were very positive, but the consequences and how the teachers and teaching assistant used negative reinforcement for their students caused a great power struggle.