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1. Contextual Factors (LO 1.

3) (APS 1) My placement is at Westview Middle School in an 8th grade, South Carolina History classroom taught by Mrs. Kathryn Benjamin. I observe three classes, each a hour long, but I am teaching her 3rd period class. Before you can walk into the school, you must push a button and tell the secretary what you are doing in the building. She will then unlock the door for you to enter. This is important because the building is secure and the students know they are protected. After signing in, I walk down one of the four hallways in the school. In the middle of the school there is the administration office, the guidance office, the nurse, the lunchroom, the library, and a computer lab. Three of the hallways represent a grade level. The two hallways to the right house the 6th and 7th grade classrooms. To the left side of the building, there are two more hallways which house the 8th grade classrooms and the fine arts classrooms. My classroom is on the 8th grade hallway. On the walls of the building you can see student work as well as many posters. One poster promotes the Safe School Climate Acts while others promote technology in the classroom. Mrs. Benjamins classroom is very decorative and inviting. On her walls she has the flag of the United States, the South Carolina flag, and Blackbeards flag that was seen on his ship the Queen Annes Revenge. As the year progresses she changes some of her posters and flags to represent the time period they are discussing in class. She also has the students complete a word wall. This wall contains visual vocabulary and work the students have done. She promotes students to be proud of their work. There is also a video camera in the classroom which records at all time on the school system. This is for purposes of crime. There is also a thermostat to which she can control the temperature in her room so that her students are comfortable. There is also a phone in the classroom for which she can communicate with fellow teachers and with the

administration. The floors are multi-colored and the walls are cream. There are three computers in the classroom but Mrs. Benjamin does not use them because there are also seven computer labs at her discretion throughout the building. Westview Middle School rewards their students with titan tickets. These tickets can be used for a variety of things such as a bathroom pass or sitting outside for lunch. The students really enjoy getting these tickets and it is a great behavior modification that the school has adopted. Westview Middle School has also adopted a policy of using technology more in the classroom. Soon the classrooms are going to be fitted with Wi-Fi where the students can use their own iPads and phones to research information in the classroom. There are thirty-five students in the classroom. Eighteen of those thirty-five students are African American, fifteen students are Caucasian, and two students are Hispanic. One of the Hispanic students is an ESL student and is listed under preferred language in English as Beginner. Twenty of the thirty-five students in my classroom are considered below-average performing students. Eleven students are average performing students while only four students are considered above average students. There are fourteen females in the classroom and twentyone male students in my classroom. The third period class in which I am doing my lessons is an inclusion class. There are ten students in the classroom who are in Resource and only have inclusion classrooms in History and Science. These students also have an aid, Mrs. Sanders, who is with them in the classroom at all times. These ten students require special instruction. When doing reading activities, the work must be read to the students and for note-taking, the students are required to take notes themselves but then the PowerPoints are printed off and given to the ten students as well. If the class is doing group activities or research activities, Mrs. Sanders will take them out of the

classroom and back to her classroom to complete the activity. The ten students also test in a different room. As I am planning for my lessons, I will have to keep in mind my ten students with IEPs. My instruction will need to be very concise and clear since twenty of my thirty-five students are below average. Instruction and materials should be simple enough for the students to understand but also tough enough so that the other students are not pulled down. PowerPoints and lectures will have to be kept to a minimum with only ten to fifteen minutes of lecture. Hands-on activities will be beneficial to these children because they are able to interact and communicate better than they can write. Keeping an open, understanding mind will be crucial in the classroom this semester.