Carrie and I were going to observe a kindergarten classroom social studies class that combined their lesson with a first-grade class. We were scheduled to arrive at 2 PM. When I arrived at 1:50 PM, Carrie was waiting outside the school and informed me that she had already gone in and was told that there was going to be a fire drill in just a few minutes. We waited for the fire drill to finish and then went into the class. The time was about 2:10 at this point, so the teachers were running a little behind. When we entered the room it was empty, we had obviously beat the students back from the fire drill. This gave us time to look around. The kindergarten room was brightly decorated with lots of posters and student’s artwork. The kids were working on colours because there was a strip on top of the blackboard that had the colours and things we might see in that colour.
The student’s desks were arranged in two rows, pushed together and facing each other. There were about twelve seats in each group, so there were about 24 students in the class. Apparently, the class had just been returning from a trip to the school library when the fire drill went off, so when they came in they were still carrying their library books. The students were asked to take their seats and they did so quietly. Everyone’s eyes were on Carrie and me. Mrs Debolt asked us to introduce ourselves, which we did. She told the class that we were learning to be teachers and that we wanted to sit in on their social studies class. Each student sat at a little desk with their name laminated on the top. The students had laminated cards with their names on them tied around their neck with a long piece of yarn. I think that these were their library cards. Mrs Debolt asked me to collect these, which I did.
Prices start at $12
Prices start at $11
Prices start at $10
The students were pretty quiet while this was going on and followed directions well. Mrs Debolt told the class that we were going to have a joint lesson with Mrs Castiluzo’s 1st-grade class. She asked everyone to come up to the front of the room and sit quietly on their bottoms, hands in their laps. The two classrooms are connected by a door and soon Mrs Castiluzo, her aide, and the 1st graders came in. It was a tight squeeze but everyone got a little spot on the floor. You could tell the kids who like their personal space because they were uncomfortable in the tight space and tried to wiggle and scoot. Mrs Debolt introduced Carrie and me and then started her lesson. She started with a story about a green bear who lived in the forest. He would change the colour of his house as the seasons changed. Before she read she assess for prior knowledge. After she finished the book she led the group by questioning them about houses and families and health.
Then we talked about healthy bodies and how we make healthy bodies by eating correctly. The teacher would ask a question and then call on someone who raised their hand. When there was a fun task to do, the teacher would call on a student that was doing something right, like sitting up straight. I noticed that the same students were always raising their hands. The teacher should have tried to involve all of the students. After the discussion of green and healthy, Mrs Castiluza read a poem, but the children had already been sitting for 15-20 minutes and were not interested in the long poem at all. Then, Mrs Castiluza brought out a bag of fresh vegetables that she grew in her garden. This got the kids interested again and we discussed how the greens of the vegetables were different. Then Carrie and I got 2 helpers and cut up lettuce, peppers, and cucumbers to make a salad. We all ate salad and talked about the different textures and crunchiness of the vegetables.
The lesson was evaluated as the students ate their salad, the teachers informally walked around the room and spoke with the children, but not all of them. The kids finished, threw their paper plates away and returned to their seats. I stopped back at the library briefly on another day and found there to be quite a big selection of trade books on historical events and biographies. There was a big selection of folk tales. I found a section with plays that are made especially for classes with lots of parts. There were a lot of multicultural books on display. I think that they looked pretty new. There were computers available as well but I didn’t go and look at the software I think that the lesson was interesting enough, although maybe a little too long. The teachers tried to use literature and poems to tell the lesson. I think that the teacher should have a way to involve all the students in the discussion.
Also, I think that all the students should have been involved in making the salad. I think the idea of the salad was good, hands-on and a reward at the end. The students were very well behaved and the teacher handled misbehaving matter-of-factly without a lot of attention drawn to the deed. I don’t think that the material was particularly challenging, but then again we are dealing with kindergarten. The theme of the unit was “me and my family”. I think I see the way they were going with the green bear in his home and a healthy diet to keep you well. Did I mention that I want to teach 5th grade? Seriously though, I think these little ones are adorable but every time I spend time in kindergarten, I realize that I will do much better with older learners.