Here I’d like to share some of my experiences and observations of my time in an elementary school this semester!
Week One: Students & Learning Environment
Monday, 22 February 2016, 10:56 AM
For my field placement I am in Mrs. Ewert-Molesky’s grade ¾ class at Grant Road School. The kids were so fantastic and so friendly. We were immediately welcomed by all the students and they wanted to get to know us… The classroom was quite large and the kids sat at desks in groups of about 5 or 6. The kids worked well and they were at the age where they didn’t need a lot of help if any… The day went by so fast and I was almost disappointed to leave… I was surprised at how well they got along with each other. The helped each other and no one was excluded from any activities… They were so friendly and very few of them were shy. I got lots of opportunity to walk around the room and talk to the students. They were very excited to have my partner and I with them for the afternoon. This first day was so awesome and I can’t wait to go back. -Sarah Vatamaniuck
Week 2: School and Community
Monday, 29 February 2016, 10:38 AM
…As far as the community goes, Grant Road School is in the south part of the city. That’s the area I live around and my own elementary is near there too, so I know the general area pretty well. There are quite a few immigrants-about 1/3 the class and will be getting higher (a student from Syria will be joining the class in a few weeks). It’s a pretty safe neighborhood and right in the middle of the community. There’s a park and a skating rink right beside the school so I imagine the kids are used to being in and around the community.There’s quite a lot of diversity at Grant Road, not just from immigrants, but they also have a program for students with disabilities which I think is great! From what I’ve seen, there are some really awesome things about this school, and I’ve heard quite a few teachers say this is a good school too, so I’m excited to continue going back.
Week 3: Teachers and Knowledge
Wednesday, 2 March 2016, 5:48 PM
…This week was different because the students were a lot more rowdy than usual and it was a good experience to see how their teacher dealt with them. First of all she was quite patient, but still remained authoritative and let them know that their behavior wasn’t appropriate. One thing I found very interesting was right before the bell rang she asked the students if they liked have a more wild end of the day or if they preferred it to be quieter. Students raised their hands for both. I thought this was great because she understands that students learn differently and some thrive in a louder environment and others don’t.Seeing their teacher teach lessons is also really great. She makes it so that the students are having fun but still learning. Often the kids just blurt something our when she’s teaching but most of the time they’re actually really good observations so the teacher allows that to happen. It’s clear that these students really like learning new things which is awesome and I know the teacher definitely plays a part in that.
Week Four: Inclusive Education- Diversity & Difference
Thursday, 10 March 2016, 10:54 AM
This week I started the afternoon off by reading to the class. They seemed to enjoy it a lot and I got positive feedback from the students…Concerning inclusion in the classroom, I have been quite impressed with the variety of tools used. There are rocking chairs, a standing desk, headphones, and a box of fidget toys. The teacher also allows the students to get up and move throughout a lesson. At first I thought all of this would be distracting to the students, but it seems to work for this class. I don’t believe there are any students with disabilities in my class, just a lot of different learning needs. There are also quite a few EAL students. For children with severe disabilities there is a whole separate hallway for them and I have only really seen some of those kids a couple times.I think this school is doing really well with inclusion. I have noticed there are some other kids with disabilities in the regular classrooms with an EA. There are many tools in the classrooms and the teachers try hard to make sure each student has the same opportunity to learn. With the separate hallway for kids with more severe disabilities, I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing because of how much help they need.