Teacher about the Lesson
The teacher defined the aim of the lesson as “giving children the notion about poetry and getting them interested in it”. The assignments that she planned to give to the students were focused on developing such skills as active listening and listening comprehension, oral presentation, visual presentation etc.
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The teacher said that she had concerns about the complexity of the material and assignments, as she considered this topic a bit difficult for the students’ current level. She planned to do her best to simplify the material so that the students would understand it and would not get bored; to reach this goal, she planned to use diverse assignments.
The teacher had worked with several compilations of poems for children and chose the simplest, but at the same time the most interesting ones. She said that the lesson would be held in the way which is traditional for her: after presenting the material, she gives the students creative assignments related to it.
The teacher explained that she will access the effectiveness by the results of children’s creative work: she will understand whether they comprehended the material and got interested about the topic.
Teacher about the Class
The teacher characterized the class as motivated and willing to work. She noticed that the majority of the students prefer assignments that give them opportunity to actively participate and use their creativity; at the same time, there was a minority of students who behaved less actively and did not express the desire to answer the teacher’s questions.
Observation and Analysis of Teaching
- Setting: (enter the name)
- Gender: Female
- Number of years teaching in current assignment: 3
- Grade level: 2
- Subject area of lesson: Language Arts
The topic of the lesson is poems for children. Students are expected to get familiarized with several poems and complete a range of assignments. The assignments offered by the teacher are focused on improving different skills related to the field of language arts.
The teacher uses the following scheme of work:
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- A short and simple poem is introduced to the class.
- A short discussion of a poem takes place
- The teacher introduces an assignment related to a poem
- The students fulfill an assignment
- The results are presented and summarized. The teacher makes conclusions.
The following issues were included to the lesson:
- Reading poems. Highlighting and discussing rhythm, rhyme. Expressive reading.
- Discussing poems. Re-telling, summarizing, expressing own opinion. Answering questions.
- Developing and narrating the continuation of a story introduced in a poem.
- Rhyming offered words.
- Creating illustrations to a poem.
The lesson included class work, work in teams and individual work.
Analysis of Teaching Skills
Domain 2a – Creating an environment of respect and rapport.
This domain implies evaluation of interaction between the teacher and the students and between the students (Danielson).
The appropriate environment was very important for the lesson, as students were expected to demonstrate results of their work. The teacher has managed to encourage students to work actively and created good atmosphere for sharing and discussing results of students’ individual and team work.
To encourage students, the teacher first offered collective discussion and a collective assignment: students were expected to rhyme words. They became very enthusiastic and joined in the work. The teacher did not criticize students’ ideas; she supported and complimented them.
When students presented results of their work, the teacher supported the atmosphere of respect. Students discussed, but did not criticize and offend each other.
Domain 2b – Establishing a culture for learning.
This domain focuses on evaluating students’ willingness to study, their understanding of studying process and their expectations (Danielson).
The teacher paid much attention to explaining the importance and significance of the studied issues to students. It is necessary to mention that sometimes the explanations were a bit difficult for children, as they “outstripped” their current level: particularly, the teacher’s explanations of the general role and peculiarities of poetry left the students indifferent.
However, the teacher managed to inspire students to fulfill assignments with diligence and enthusiasm. Students were putting effort into achieving good results when fulfilling team and individual assignments.
Domain 2c – Managing classroom procedures
This domain implies evaluation of management of such issues as transition, materials and supplies etc (Danielson).
The teacher has planned and prepared to the lesson assignments appropriately. One of the assignments implied illustrating a poem. All students had necessary materials to work on their drawings. However, the materials prepared beforehand seemed to distract some of the students: one of them tried to draw before the drawing assignment was offered.
The teacher managed transitions successfully. The studying process was integral, logical and well-organized. However, at the end of the lesson, little time left for drawing, and some students found it difficult to complete the task within the given time.
Domain 2d – Managing student behavior
This domain refers to evaluation of a teacher’s ability to monitor students’ behavior and react on misbehavior (Danielson).
As the assignment implied team work and demonstrating creativity, teacher’s task was to manage their enthusiasm and not let it turn into misbehavior. The teacher succeeded in supporting good environment for comprehending the material and working on the assignments. When activities implied collective discussion, the teacher managed to avoid disorder.
The teacher also encouraged students who seemed passive or shy to participate in collective discussion. Team work and individual work implied that students had some time to fulfill assignments, and during this time, the teacher successfully supported discipline and good studying environment.
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When the teacher noticed that the student mentioned above is drawing, she successfully switched his attention to an assignment that the class was working on.
Domain 2e – Organizing physical space
This domain implies evaluation of a teacher’s ability to make class space safe and convenient for students (Danielson).
As the lesson implied teamwork and presenting its results, organizing physical space was very important. The space for the teamwork was organized successfully: it was convenient for students to work together; the teams did not disturb each other. The teacher was able to approach each team quickly and easily in case the students asked her for help.
At the same time, it seemed that students needed a bit more space to present results of their work. They were limited in space when performing in teams. However, students were not confused with this fact and felt quite comfortable.
Domain 3a – Communicating Clearly and accurately
This domain implies evaluation of the teacher’s ability to provide clear and comprehensible instructions, use appropriate language (Danielson).
The teacher demonstrated good understanding of students’ level and needs. She managed to explain the notions of rhythm and rhyme to students, though they were not familiar with them before. After the teacher explained the material, students were able to cope with assignments successfully, which means that the material was delivered in the right way.
Students understood the assignments well. They asked questions after the teacher explained them, but they did not ask to explain once again: they just wanted to specify some peculiar points in order to fulfill the assignment more precisely.
Domain 3b – Using questioning and discussion techniques
This domain evaluates how a teacher uses question and discussion as the way to communicate with students and teach them (Danielson).
The teacher used questions and discussion actively. Their use was quite effective: with the help of questions, the teacher managed to monitor whether students comprehend the material well.
When carrying out discussions, the teacher sometimes used questions that were somewhat general; they might be more specific, as students were not enthusiastic to answer them. However, the teacher soon felt that students prefer specific questions and changed the strategy. The discussion was active and interesting. Students reacted the most actively on the questions that gave them opportunity to discuss their likings, emotions and experience.
Domain 3c – Engaging students in learning
The domain is focused on a teacher’s ability to make students involved into the learning process, group them and provide their equal participation (Danielson).
The teacher paid particular attention to involve all students into studying. The opportunity to express their own opinion was given to the students who expressed their willingness to speak and to those who seemed more passive.
When the students worked in team, the teacher monitored the work and participated in it from time to time, though unobtrusively. At the same time, one team had certain problems in their work: there were no a person who demonstrated strong leadership skills. The teacher had to help them with their work.
Domain 3d – Providing feedback to students
This domain evaluates quality and timeliness of a teacher’s feedback on students’ work (Danielson).
This domain is also important for this lesson considering the assignments it included (Danielson). The interaction between the teacher and the student was successful. The teacher responded on students’ questions and performance effectively, adequately and constructively. The teacher’s feedback supported and encouraged students.
Domain 3e – Demonstrating flexibility
This domain is focused on a teacher’s ability to understand students and adjust to them during the lesson (Danielson).
Though experiencing some difficulties in the beginning of the lesson, the teacher nevertheless soon understood the students’ interests and adjusted the way of teaching. She changed the focus of her questions in the situation mentioned above.
When one of the students asked if she could change an assignment a bit and complete her drawing in another way, the teacher asked her to follow her instructions. The students seemed a bit disappointed and somewhat lost her enthusiasm about drawing, but this episode seems to be quite useful: in their future studying, students will need to be able to follow guidelines and instructions precisely.
The overall impression of the lesson is positive. The teacher managed to create good environment for studying and interest the students. Despite some minor “technical” faults mentioned in the evaluation, the teacher was able to organize the class and to manage their work. The students were enthusiastic and willing to learn; they fulfilled the assignments diligently and demonstrated their creativity.
The assignments were aimed at improving different skills: reading, retelling, comprehending, illustrating, performing et al. They corresponded to the requirements contained in (New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards Language Art Literacy) that concern reading, speaking and listening. Diversity of the assignments gave students opportunity to demonstrate their strengths and have fun.
The students coped with the assignments successfully, which demonstrates that the teacher succeeded in explaining the material and giving instructions.
It may be reasonable for the teacher to improve her flexibility and understanding students’ interests. In this case, the students will have more pleasure when studying and actively participate in the learning process all the time.
I had the opportunity to talk with the teacher almost right after the lesson finished. She said that she was satisfied with the lesson and its result. She was slightly disappointed that the material turned out to be a bit more extensive than it had to be and the end of the lesson was somewhat confused.
I shared my opinion about the lesson described in the Summary Statement of this paper. The idea that the lesson a bit lacked emotional flexibility at first seemed to be quite unexpected for her; however, then she agreed that some moments of “weak rapport” might take place.
Self-Reflection of Process
When fulfilling the observation, I tried to focus on both the material of the lesson and its emotional component. The goals of my observation were to evaluate:
- correspondence of the lesson plan to the NJ standards
- correspondence of the lesson material and the way it is delivered to the students’ current level
- the teacher’s ability to make and keep students interested in the lesson
- the teacher’s ability to organize and conduct the work during the lesson
- the teacher’s emotional flexibility
During the observation, I managed to fulfill my evaluation according to all of these points. The results of the observation are presented in Lesson Overview of this paper.
I feel that at the pre-observation stage, I did not provide the teacher with the sufficient explanation of the criteria of my evaluation. I outlined the basic points and did not highlight the details that I will pay attention to. On the one hand, this might play a negative role: the teacher would have opportunity to take these details into account and consider them during the lesson. However, on the other hand, this had certain positive effect: I had the opportunity to see the “natural” version of the lesson and thus notice the mistakes that the teacher may make regularly.
I consider that it was a good decision to talk about the lesson right after it ended: when I explained my impression about emotional flexibility, the teacher recollected the course of the lesson and agreed with me. If we discussed this issue later, she might lose this impression.
Danielson, C. (1996). Enhancing Professional Practice: A Framework for Teaching. Umatilla. Web.
New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards Language Art Literacy. NJPEP. Web.