You are on page 1of 7

FIELD EXPERIENCE

Reflection

LAINEY LOSEKAMP
NOVEMBER 4, 2014
E301 Emergent Literacy

FIELD EXPERIENCE

For my Emergent Literacy class, we were assigned to complete 20 hours of field


experience in a primary-grade classroom. For the field experience, most of our
observations were required to take place during the literacy instruction at Switzerland
County Elementary School. I was appointed to a kindergarten classroom and given the
opportunity to work with Mrs. Sherrie Howard. Mrs. Howard has been teaching for 36
years at Switzerland County and has taught kindergarten for 25 of those years. The
literacy instruction designed in her classroom occupied 2 hours in the morning. First,
students would come in and work on morning work. Morning work consisted of a
coloring page and worksheet on the letter of the week. Once students arrived and had
completed their work, Mrs. Howard would have the students meet her in the center of
the room for morning meeting. Morning meeting included stretching to a song, calendar
time, and morning message. Morning message, seemed to be a great strategy for
students to learn about writing. I was impressed with how engaged the whole class was
with the writing and reading activity. Students were learning how to read the words in
the morning message, recognizing letters, and recognizing grammatical errors in the
message. After morning meeting, students would then meet in their literacy groups.
Students were assigned to certain color groups based on their reading level. After
literacy group was finished, Mrs. Howard would teach a literacy lesson based on the
letter of week. Students would then complete a letter worksheet. Her classroom
consisted of only 19 students this year. Out of the 19 students, there are 7 boys and 12
girls in the classroom. While observing her class, I noticed that there was a wide range
of different learning abilities in the classroom. She said teaching this year was tricky
because she has very high-ability students and also some very low-level ability

FIELD EXPERIENCE

students. The difference among the two learning levels of students made it difficult for
her to find an equilibrium in her lesson plans to reach every childs needs.
This course in Emergent Literacy has deepened my understanding of all the
different areas involved with Language Arts. I have learned different strategies to use to
assist me into becoming a better comprehensive reader for myself as well as others. I
even gave my friend advice on how to become a better reader by using the concept of
creating a mental picture in her head and connecting what she has read to her prior
knowledge. She used those strategies and it aided her in reading. The 7 Keys to
Comprehension has been a fantastic tool for me in the classroom. This book has
helped explain the different steps it requires to become a good reader. When teaching
my first lesson, I knew what areas I wanted to work on with the students and exactly
what I wanted to accomplish when working with my students. In my first lesson plan,
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? I knew how to assist the students creating
mental images in their mind of what was happening in the story. I demonstrated this
understanding by having children act out the different animals. Using that specific book
aided in accessing the students prior knowledge of recognizing the different animals
and the colors in the book. When reading to the class, I offered clues for the students to
use such as pictorial clues. Students were able to make a connection with the pictures
in the text. The repetition in the book allowed students to be able to predict what will
happen next. I had most of the class reading along with me. I am fully aware of all the
different strategies it takes to become a good reader and feel confident in my ability to
teach children how to read.

FIELD EXPERIENCE

Before this class, I had a misconception about all of the components of reading.
I was not well aware of what phonemic awareness and what a phoneme was. I learned
that a phoneme is the unit of sound and phonemic awareness is the ability to think
about the sounds in words. I confused phonemes with phonics and didnt realize there
was a difference between the two. During literacy groups, I observed Mrs. Howard
teaching the students the phonemes, phonemic awareness, and phonics with letters of
the alphabet. She had a flip book and on every page was the letter of the alphabet.
Students would say the letter, the sound, and a word that would start with that letter
sound. As I observed Mrs. Howard, I recognized that she was not pronouncing the
letter sounds correctly. For example the /l/, instead of saying the /l/ sound she would
have the students say, luhhh. I noticed she did the same with the letter /r/. I was
really surprised that with 25 years of experience in teaching kindergarten, she was not
teaching the correct way to say the sounds of the letters. As I pondered this more, I
realized, she did this when working with lower-level ability students. I believed she
added the uhh sound to put more of an emphasis on the letter sound for the students.
This group of students were having trouble saying and remembering the sounds of the
letters.
In the classroom there was a multicultural piece lacking. The teacher separated
the boys and girls from each other when lining up for lunch. She compared how well
the girls would behave compared to the boys. I noticed something during literacy groups
that really bothered me. She would award the higher-level ability students with gummy
worms after literacy groups. I found this was very unfair and an act of discrimination
among the other students. Even though she tried to be sneaky and tell the higher ability

FIELD EXPERIENCE

students not to tell the other students in the classroom; they already knew. I was
working with one little boy and heard him say, I am not smart enough or good enough
to get a gummy worm. This statement broke my heart. I have promised myself I will
not discriminate children based on their intelligence and make them feel inferior. Once
you make a child feel inferior, you inhibit their potential to learn and grow.
Mrs. Howard usually assessed her students through performance observation.
Most of her assessing was formative assessment. She would observe children based
on their participation and how well they understood the objective of the lesson. The first
week I met with Mrs. Howard they were working on summative assessment for reading.
The students took an oral quiz on the different parts of the book. Mrs. Howard had a
checklist and she would mark off if the students answered the questions correctly which
would be: Where is the cover? What is an author? What is an illustrator?
This teacher was very helpful. She gave me books that assisted me with
creating my lesson plans. The unit books she gave me were on phonemic awareness
and reading. They were very helpful and gave me insight. This teacher also provided
me the curriculum for that month which was based on themes for that season and
letters of the week. Her teaching philosophy was very traditional compared to what I am
learning today about becoming a teacher. Mrs. Howard reminded me more of an
authoritarian figure in the classroom, she was strict when it came to discipline. Her
classroom was very structured and teacher-centered. She expected the students to
obey the rules and if they did not obey the rules she would have them move a bird. On
the wall, she had a quilt with a tree and birds on the tree with every childs name. If the
child misbehaved, they got a bird moved and would not get a sticker for that day.

FIELD EXPERIENCE

Sometimes she would isolate students from the classroom based on their behavior. Her
classroom was very structured and the children were expected to sit at their seats for
morning work, classroom meeting, etc. However, I was impressed with how well she
had control over her students in the classroom. She had the students respect and they
would listen to her. She definitely knew how to keep her classroom in order.
My strengths, as a teacher, will be that I am a very caring, loving, and
affectionate person. Students could tell that I would listen to their crazy stories and was
willing to give them a hug. They saw me as a friend, which backfired on some
occasions. My first mini-lesson did not go as well as I planned, it was complete chaos.
Students were being disruptive and interrupting when I was talking. I had to stop in the
middle of the story to discipline two children from keeping their hands away from each
other. I had some students participating and some students not participating when I
asked them to act out the animals. Mrs. Howard came in to help me with their
misbehavior. I always thought I would be good at keeping control in the classroom but
realized through this field experience that I am weak in areas of managing my
classroom. My second lesson plan went better. All of the students were engaged and
listening. I was so proud of myself because I just introduced the lesson. They enjoyed
my lesson and I felt so successful because over half the class knew what rhyming
words were. Another area I was excellent in was teaching word families to the students
during centers. I was able to explain and introduce what word families are to the
students.
From this field experience, I have learned so much more about emergent literacy
than I knew before. I was able to take what I have learned from class discussion and

FIELD EXPERIENCE

be able to demonstrate my understanding in the classroom. I hope to find a happy


medium in being a caring, affectionate teacher but also be able to control my classroom.