Reflection 1, April 8
April 8 was my first day at Estabrook Elementary School. I am in the 4th grade classroom with teacher Ms. Christensen. As I expected Estabrook is a diverse public school, which is good for me because that is the type of school I want to be in. I have had previous background in types of schools like this, but every school has different facets that you have to get used to. For example I was very surprised when I saw the student population of the classroom. There are 31 students in the classroom which makes the classroom crowded at times. Another aspect that I enjoy is that there are a wide variety of students with different needs; more specifically 2 students that have autism. Students with autism fascinate me very much and I hope to work with them during this experience.
I got there to the class 20 mins early so I could chat with Ms. Christensen about what she wanted me to do and to inform her what I needed to get done for my class. We talked for a bit so I could get a feel for how she ran the class and what I could do to help. When the students got to the classroom I was going to read the book The Magic Finger, by Roald Dahl with a group of 4 students. I didn’t get a lot of background knowledge about the group that I was going to be with. The only thing she told me was that one of the students had autism, so I was excited to hear that. The group reading went well; we all read about a page which is about 2-3 paragraphs each and then switched readers. I found that the group was a mixture of low-achieving readers and high-achieving readers. When students didn’t know what a word meant I didn’t want to just tell them what it meant. I didn’t want them to forget what it meant by the next page so we would use context clues and the pictures to help figure it out. I liked having the group be a mixture of different reading leveled readers because those who struggled a little could hear more fluent readers read. It also allowed the groups to finish around the same time.
One thing I noticed was that students read very quietly so I would consistently have to ask them to read a little louder. This happened often with the student who had autism. He would start out reading nice and loud, and then as he progressed he would start reading silently. He would get caught in the reading and forget to read the section out loud. I also noticed that many of the students skipped words or changed the tense of words while reading. However, the words they missed or changed didn’t really change the meaning of the text so they were reading for comprehension. We ended up reading 5 chapters this day and had to do story maps of the section we read. The story map included author, title, setting, and plot.