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TWS 1: Contextual Factors

1. Contextual Factors (LO 1.3) (APS 1)

TWS Standard

Gabrielle Gregorie

The teacher uses information about the learning-teaching context and students individual differences to set learning goals, lesson objectives, plan instruction, and assessment(s).

  • A. Classroom Factors Mathews Elementary School:

Mathews Elementary School, home of the bulldogs, is a Title 1 school located

in Greenwood District 50. Mathews Elementary is “Where Children Think, Dream,

Believe, and Achieve”. With an enrollment of 598 students, Mathews is a very established school in the community. We are privileged to be at a University that is able to form quality educational partnerships for our clinical experiences.

Mission

The mission of Mathews Elementary School is to challenge all students to think, dream, believe, and achieve to their fullest potential by being ready, respectful, and responsible.

Mathews Elementary School goals for the 2013-1014 school year:

  • 1. Increase student learning for all students through the implementation of research based strategies and interventions so that our students are on grade level as measured by MAP, PASS, Running Records, and grades.

  • 2. Implement strategies and interventions to increase participation in PBIS celebrations.

  • 3. Implement Common Core Standards in ELA and Math.

Facilities and Classes:

Mathews offers a variety of facilities and classes to their students. Mathews Elementary consists of grades kindergarten through fifth grade. Mathews also has a Montessori Education Program, which is one of the choice options of Greenwood District 50. Mathews Montessori program serves children kindergarten through fourth grade. Mathews also offers a half-day 4K program. Mathews offers Special Education, and has many different specialist teachers to accommodate the needs of all students. Mathews’ Instructional Specialist, Leslie Sanford, works with the principal and the teachers on improving student achievement by focusing on instructional programs and the curriculum. Mathews has many facilities to offer students. The school has a large computer lab with new and current technology for students, a wonderful media center where children can enhances their knowledge on literature, clean and newly renovated classrooms and overall physical appearance, and many other forms of technology and learning experiences offered

TWS 1: Contextual Factors

Gabrielle Gregorie

in the classrooms. Overall Mathews Elementary is a welcoming and safe environment where students are challenged to grow and prosper as learners.

Physical Features:

The classroom is a relatively decent size classroom, but feels small when filled with twenty- three students. It is a cool temperature to keep students alert and awake, and natural light only comes in through two small windows. The teacher monitors the noise level, and the classroom is generally quiet. It is fairly organized, and space is utilized well. Bright colors, student reference sheets, and personal classroom décor is hung on the walls. The students’ desks are arranged in three main tables, and take up most of the floor space. There are two groups of eight desks (one has an extra desk), one group of five desks, and three students who work best with their desk separated away from the groups. There is a student bathroom located in the corner of the room, with the sink directly outside on the counter. Also further down the counter are the four classroom computers, and shelves above that store Mrs. Skipper’s personal hardback books. Mrs. Skipper has a kidney table in the back corner of the room where she can view the class while working with guided reading groups. Her area also has shelves and cabinets to store materials and other important paper work and records. There is a large colorful area rug that sits in front of the Smart Board. The rug is dividing into red, orange, green, blue, and purple squares; each student knowing what assigned square is theirs to sit in. There are hooks along the wall for students to hang up their belongings, which are located underneath the shelves that house the leveled library. Other storage is utilized around the classroom to store manipulatives, supplies, and other classroom materials. The American flag and South Carolina flag are displayed at the front of the classroom. Overall, the physical features of the classroom are warm, inviting, and promote a safe learning environment for students. It has all the features needed to provide an appropriate and meaningful education.

Availability of Technology:

There are many sources of technology that are available in the classroom. There are four computers located in the back of the classroom where students work daily on progressive review work. The school wide computer program used is Compass Learning Odyssey. During guided reading, students rotate between seatwork, independent reading, or a designated center (which is usually the computer station). They all have their own personal Ziploc bags that contain their personal headphones and Compass Learning Odyssey login information. The classroom also has a Smart Board, which is vital for daily instruction. It is used for:

accessing Mathew’s morning news, morning journal work, daily morning calendar, writing lessons, math lessons, shared readings, movement songs, and many other activities and lessons daily. Another use of the Smart Board is keeping up with the classroom behavior plan. Mrs. Skipper uses the Rick Morris Classroom Management

TWS 1: Contextual Factors

Gabrielle Gregorie

Plan. Incorporated into this plan is a website called teach.classdojo.com. Each student is assigned a DOJO, which is a monster looking character. The DOJOs are displayed on the Smart Board, along with the students’ names. DOJO allows you to add and take away points for actions such as being on or off task, doing their work, listening, misbehaving, etc. Mrs. Skipper is able to rewarded or reduce students’ points from the Smart Board, and can adjust points on her personal ipad or her cellphone when we are in the hallway, lunchroom, or special area. The DOJO point system coincides with the Rick Morris Plan. More details are provided in classroom rules section of TWS 1. Mrs. Skipper does have an overhead projector, but only pulls it out a few times a year so the children can see how it works and experience it. There is an area designated to listening to books and stories on cassette, but I have not seen students using it. Mrs. Skipper has a personal iPad and laptop used in daily instruction. Overall, there is a variety of technological sources provided in the classroom that incorporate the uses and benefits of technology in an educational setting.

Equipment:

There is not much equipment that is used in the classroom. There is a class set of headphones for students to use at the computer station and special area in the computer lab. Having personal headphones ensures sanitation, and stored in name labeled Ziploc bags along with student Compass Learning Odyssey login information. There are also many different classroom sets of manipulatives, used mostly for math such as: foam and wooden shape clocks, counting cubes, colored letter magnets, etc. Overall, few forms of equipment are utilized in the classroom.

Learning Environment:

As you enter the classroom, you instantly feel the sense of a safe, appropriate, and inviting learning environment. There are many informative visuals around the room such as: an alphabet with pictures that start with identified letter, spelling words, behavior management charts, and other visual aids students can refer to during independent work. The room is colorful and bright in an appropriate manner that is appealing to students and visitors. The door of the classroom remains locked to ensure safety. The noise level is generally low, and Mrs. Skipper can rein the classroom room and address behavioral issues effortlessly. The students are all friendly towards another, and work as a class to learn to their full potential. They are engaged, enthusiastic, and participating in the lessons and activities. No behavior problems have been observed other than common distractions and having to address students who are off task. Mrs. Skipper is very knowledgeable about children’s behaviors and qwerks, and does not waste quality instruction time addressing and worrying about the petty things. She has had a lot of experience, and has expertise and techniques of accommodating many learning styles. The students are all provided with instruction that is appropriate and beneficial for their ability

TWS 1: Contextual Factors

Gabrielle Gregorie

level and individual learning style to the best of her ability. The students are given independent duties and tasks to guide them to self-sufficiency and organization. Overall the learning environment of the classroom is one the students both appreciate and enjoy. It has all the qualities and aspects needed to provide beneficial instruction and quality educational experiences. The overall atmosphere and learning environment of Mathew’s Elementary school is appropriate, safe, and inviting and truly makes me grateful for the academic partnership between Mathews Elementary and Lander University.

Resources:

There are many educational resources used throughout the classroom. Many visual aid references are hung on the walls throughout the classroom such as:

alphabet letters with a picture corresponding with the first letter in the word, maps of the world, a globe, various big books for shared reading instruction, manipulatives to enhance concepts of math, shapes, and number instruction, etc. Students have their personal name strips on their desk that also provide reference for numbers, letters, shapes, and colors. Each student has their own personal book- basket, which is at their desk at all times. They contain five books on the students reading level that are frequently changed for various texts and skill progression. Students read independently multiple times a day when assignments have been completed. Compass Learning Odyssey is a resource that students use during center time at the computer station. It is a school-wide computer program that tracks progress with activities and skill tests. Another resource used is the Rick Morris Behavioral Management Plan. The behavioral chart is hung on the bathroom door. Students move their names as they gain or lose points on the behavioral scale. Students also have a laminated reference sheet in their desk that includes content such as: numbers one through one hundred, shapes and their spelling, colors, days of the week, and other basic information. Overall, there are many resources used throughout the classroom to provide various forms, references, and dynamic to instruction.

Parent/Guardian Involvement:

The parent/guardian involvement in the classroom is diverse, but evident. The students come from various cultures and home settings. Ten students live with both of their parents, ten students live with their mother, two students who live with their mother and another guardian, and one student lives with their grandmother and grandfather. This dynamic is important to the parent involvement in the classroom, and the amount of parent involvement with the student outside of the classroom. Mrs. Skipper has formed relationships with all parents and guardians and communicates through many different forms. Parent Teacher communication occurs through weekly homework sheets, monthly behavioral sheets, weekly test papers are sent home and signed, monthly newsletters, guided reading signature

TWS 1: Contextual Factors

Gabrielle Gregorie

sheets, happy and sad notes when appropriate, welcome home phone call at the beginning of the year inviting parents to orientation, parent conferences, office and teacher copies of major and minor PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports) infraction write ups for misbehavior and signed by parent/guardian, and a log of all parent contacts is kept for teacher records. Parents are also involved school wide for Open house, Family Night, and PTO. Overall, parent involvement in students’ education is evident in our classroom and throughout the school.

Classroom Rules and Routines:

  • - Rules

There are many different rules and routines throughout the classroom to uphold a sense of order and provide an appropriate, safe environment for learning. The rules that all Mathew’s students are expected to follow in all circumstances are as follows: Be ready. Be respectful. Be responsible. Children are also expected to raise their hand and not talk out, stay on task, work about themselves not others, and be polite. All classroom rules and expectations are sent home in a parent letter and presented to the class on the first day of school. The rules and expectations are also posted in the classroom, and reviewed regularly throughout the year. When rules are broken and expectations are not lived up to, students suffer consequences. Consequences consists of loss of privileges, time out, cool of in office or buddy teacher classroom, minor/major PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention Supports) write ups, and loss of points on class DOJO. Students also receive positive reinforcements. There is a school wide positive reinforcement with the use of Positive Paws. These are tickets given out to the students or class as a whole when they are caught being ready, respectful, and responsible. Other classroom reinforcements are trips to the treat box, and rewarding of points on class DOJO. Overall, there are established rules and expectations for students school-wide and in the classroom.

  • - Behavior Management

The Rick Morris Behavioral Management Plan is in place in Mrs. Skipper’s

classroom. This plan is made up of seven tiers with assigned color and point value:

Outstanding Red (pts. 7, 8 &9) Great Day Orange (pts. 5 & 6) Good Day Yellow (pts. 3 & 4) Ready to Learn Green (pts. 0, 1, & 2) Think About It Blue (pts. -1 & -2) Teacher’s Choice – Purple (pts. -3, -4, & -5) Parent Contract Pink (pts. -6)

At the beginning of every new day, all students start on green, Ready to learn. Mrs. Skipper uses a website called teach.classdojo.com. This website assigns a DOJO, cartoon monster figure, to each student and is displayed on the Smart Board along

TWS 1: Contextual Factors

Gabrielle Gregorie

with the students’ names. Mrs. Skipper can access DOJO on the Smart Board in the classroom, and from her iPad or cellphone when in the hallway, lunchroom, or special areas. The website incorporates the Rick Morris Behavioral Management Plan, and allows the teacher to reward and take away points for students actions. This allows for consequences and positive reinforcements. Overall the Rick Morris Behavioral Management Plan is successful in our classroom and helps to monitor an influence the behavior of the students.

- Routines The class is based off of a daily routine to provide order and planned instruction for the students. The normal daily routine is as followed:

  • a. Students come into the room in the morning and unpack book bags

  • b. Students begin breakfast, roll is taken, pencils are sharpened, and morning work is begun.

  • c. Students use the restroom if needed.

  • d. When lining up at any point during the day, students are called by groups and know to line up quietly.

  • e. When students are finished with independent work and independent reading, they may go Literacy stations or Odyssey Computer program while others rotate through Guided Reading Groups. If students need instruction, they wait until teacher is not working with a group unless it is an emergency. When Guided Reading Groups are complete, the teacher addresses student needs.

Overall, there are daily routines that the children expect each day. When there is a change in the routine, students can be unfocused and distracted. The routine provides structure for the students. At this time of the year, students are knowledgeable of the order of the daily routine, and know what they are supposed to be doing at all times.

Grouping Patterns:

The students experience two main grouping patterns in the classroom. The

first is the placements of students’ desks. The students’ desks are arranged in three

main tables, and take up most of the floor space. There are two groups of eight desks

(one has an extra desk), one group of five desks, and three students who work best with their desk separated away from the groups. Theses groups are used when lining up, navigating from lesson to lesson, and any other time smaller student groups are needed. The other grouping pattern evident in the classroom is the Guided Reading groups. Several groups are selected throughout the classroom for students to have small group instruction on guided reading. The students groups are established according to skill level, grouping students who are closest in ability. Overall grouping patterns are utilized in the classroom for efficiency and convenience, and also for small group instruction with designated Guided Reading groups.

TWS 1: Contextual Factors

Scheduling:

Gabrielle Gregorie

The children have a routine schedule that is ingrained and consistent throughout the year. They arrive at school around 7:30, put up their belongings, take their parent folders out their book bags, and move to their desks. When breakfast arrives, students eat while taking out their Morning Work notebooks for the consistent prompt of basic knowledge practice to get their brains awake and ready for the day. The Mathews Morning news also occurs during this time. A normal morning work requires the children to write the date in full form, identify and label simple colors, shapes, or writing numbers in standard form. They also write a sentence about a provided picture. These activities are displayed on the Smart Board. When finished working, students have work checked by Mrs. Skipper or I, and read independently till everyone is complete. Students then transition to the rug to review morning work, shake out the morning wiggles with a movement song, and review the daily morning calendar, weather, and temperature. The class then moves on to a Shared Reading, which has recently been An Apple A Day. Students then review their weekly spelling words, and have some form of spelling word review activity. All of the class time that is shared on the rug uses Smart Board instruction. Around 9:30, students transition back to their desks for seatwork. Some students will be assigned to the computers to work on Odyssey or another designated activity, and rotate when activities are completed. This is also when Guided Reading Groups and one-on-one instruction are implemented. As Mrs. Skipper rotates through reading groups, she rotates students at activities and computers as well. Students at their desk have daily review sheets of concepts worked on during rug time to complete. By the end of Guided Reading, students have all completed review sheets, and independently read or worked on designated activity. Mrs. Skipper begins Math shortly after Guided reading. We have been working on shapes and using the shape block to create new shapes and existing shapes out of multiple blocks. Math lesson is interrupted at 11: 15 11:40 for lunch. All students have the opportunity to use the restroom after lunch, and returned to classroom and finish current lesson. After Math, students participate in another activity, usually writing sentences. The students return to the rug for a Read Aloud, and reflect on the day. They transition to a special area (usually computer or media center, other special areas are in the morning on different days) and leave from activity to the playground for recess. When they return to the classroom, final thoughts and information is wrapped up, students pack belongings, and dismiss for the day.

Classroom Arrangement:

Hallway
Hallway

TWS 1: Contextual Factors

Gabrielle Gregorie

Bookshelves and Student’s Cubbies Mrs. Skipper’s Area Reading Center Smart Board Desk Desk Table Area Rug
Bookshelves and Student’s Cubbies
Mrs. Skipper’s Area
Reading Center
Smart Board
Desk
Desk
Table
Area Rug
Guided
Reading/
Teacher’s
Table
Shelves for
storage
Desk
Desk
Desk
Desk
Desk
Desk
Empty
Desk
Desk
Desk
Desk
Desk
Bathroom
Sink
Cabinets and Computers
Cabinets
ECED 429: TWS 1 Contextual Factors
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Table
Desk
Desk
Desk
Desk
Desk
Desk
Desk
Desk
Desk
Desk
Desk

TWS 1: Contextual Factors

Gabrielle Gregorie

  • B. Student Demographics and Characteristics:

Mrs. Skipper’s 1 st Grade Classroom Mathews Elementary School Fall 2013

   

Female

Male

Total

 

Description No. Of children

9

14

23

         

Age

 

7

12

19

 

Six years old Seven years old

2

2

4

         

Race/Ethnicity

African - American

6

10

16

 

Hispanic

0

3

3

 

Caucasian

3

1

4

All of the students in my class attended public school kindergarten. I have a total of twenty-three students in my class. Ten students who live with both parents, one lives with their grandmother and grandfather, ten who live with their mother and two who live with their mother and another guardian. This information was gained from information sheets filled out by guardians. Transition sheets filled out by the previous teachers gave Mrs. Skipper information on current reading levels and math levels. The students in my class range from a level 1 to a level 14 on the DRA running record, given in kindergarten. These students were also given DRA running record assessments the first two weeks of first grade, and some levels needed to be adjusted. I have 9 girls and 14 boys in my class. There are three Hispanic, sixteen African American and four white students in my class. I have one student who is being served by the Reading Recovery teacher and 4 students being served for RTI in reading in a group setting. One of my students is an extended resource student and receives 4 hours of small group instruction in both reading and math. Two of my students receive Speech Therapy and one student receives ESOL group instruction. Two students are currently on medication for ADHD

I have one student who receives resource for reading and math, one student who is in Reading Recovery, four students who are in a literacy group for RTI, and three students who have accommodations for ESOL. These students are monitored closely during instruction and practice activities and given reinforcement and re- teaching when needed. They are also given extra activities to work on at home. Each day these students are given instructions for homework because of non-English speaking parents at home. Mrs. Skipper includes all accommodations on the lesson plans, as well as the ELL standards.

-Student Interest The students respond well to use of manipulatives and Smart Board activities. They also love interactive learning games. These are incorporated into

TWS 1: Contextual Factors

Gabrielle Gregorie

instruction as much as possible. When Mrs. Skipper learns of a certain pupil’s interest, she does her best to incorporate that into some lesson or have reading materials available on the interest.

-Assessment Informal assessments are completed daily through questioning, observation, and checklists. Formal observations are given at the end of each unit of study with mastery being 80% or better. Assessments serve as a monitor to determine if sequence and pacing are appropriate. Within the classroom, assessment portfolios contain information as outlined by Greenwood District 50. Weekly papers are sent home, reviewed, signed by the parent and are filed separately from portfolio documents. Grades are recorded in Power Teacher Grade Book. First graders are given S, P, or N on interim and report cards. Satisfactory or S means the student is reading at or above the benchmark and has 80% or better mastery of reading and math skills. Progressing (P) indicates a student has between 70% and 80% mastery in reading and or math skills and is reading just below the grade level benchmark. Needs Improvement (N) signifies mastery is below 70% in reading and or math and reading level is much below grade level benchmark. Common Assessments are given every three weeks in language arts.

-Learning and Developmental Goals All students will develop an understanding of all the first grade standards set forth by the state of South Carolina in preparation of MAP and PASS test.

ELA:

All students will make adequate progress in balanced literacy in order to reach and or exceed the level 16 benchmark. Students will develop a vocabulary to become successful writers including spelling of high frequency words. Students will be able to demonstrate their understandings through oral discussion as well as written expression.

Math:

All students will have an understanding of number sense, algebra, geometry, measurement, data analysis, and probability to use in everyday life. Students will be able to demonstrate their understanding through oral discussion as well as written expression.

Science:

By the end of the year, students will have knowledge of science concepts and the correlation to everyday life. Concepts to be taught include plants, sun/moon, earth materials, and force and motion. Students will be able to demonstrate their understandings through oral discussion, written expression, and hands-on experiments.

Social Studies:

TWS 1: Contextual Factors

Gabrielle Gregorie

All students will understand concepts of community as it relates to local, national, and world regions. Students will develop an understanding of the roles of government leaders both locally and nationally. In addition, students will have knowledge of map skills and cardinal directions.

Health:

By the end of the year, all students will understand the importance of eating healthy and staying safe.

  • C. Instructional Implications

    • a. The contextual information of the classroom is relevant and impacting to instruction. Every student has a different learning style. By assessing students and knowing their background and ability, teachers can provide the students with quality instruction. Assessing students allows you to see where their skill level is, and design instruction to benefit the student and individual learning needs. Knowing that I am working with ESOL students, I can plan for accommodations and extended instruction to these students for assignments. They often need directions repeated slowly and clear. Also knowing that many children have resource teachers and IEPs, I can address all accommodations and needs of the students during instruction.

    • b. Instructional Implications are used to accommodate the contextual factors of the classroom. Parent involvement is evident in the classroom, but every child has a different situation in life outside of school. By knowing the parents and guardian involvement with the student, it is easier to regulate communication and out of school assignments. Another factor that will influence planning is the availability of technology. Almost all lesson in my classroom are Smart Board instructed activities. Technology does not always function properly, and back up plans for teaching the lesson have to be planned for modified instruction. Overall many instructional implications of the contextual factors influence how I will plan and teach lessons.