Classroom Notes

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Reinforcement is a big part of what goes on in the classroom. Reinforcement is provided in more than one way. One type of reinforcement is through direct praise for student work. Mrs. Williams mainly uses verbal reinforcement for correct student responses to questions. Reinforcement is also used if the student performs well (80% or better) on computer reading and math assessments. One example of this was on September 12th, when Mrs. Williams accredited a child’s work on the board by saying “[student’s name] changed our magnets to the correct day” to the class. Mrs. Williams then asked for the students’ help with changing the calendar. Students’ responses demonstrate that the praise was reinforcement. Generally, after praise was given for a student’s response, the student would respond again to the next question. It seemed as though the students that responded were generally the same students that always responded. For the most part, Mrs. Williams favored using verbal praise to encourage students, saying things such as “that’s right” or “good job.” There have been two instances where reinforcement was used in a manner reminiscent of shaping. In one instance, on September 26th, Mrs. Williams was introducing a new set of spelling words. She asks the students how they think “ick” is spelled, as the spelling words were all “_ick” words. One student said “ic.” Instead of embarrassing the child, Mrs. Williams said: “You can spell it that way. Most of the time, it is spelled ‘ick.’ I bet you know lots of ‘_ick’ words.” This encouraged the child to continue to respond to questions, even though they were not sure of the answer. Mrs. Williams likes to use modeling as a big part of her classroom management techniques. She even mentioned the... ... middle of paper ... ...istrator, who came and took the child away crying. The children in this classroom, who are in first grade, are mostly in the concrete operational thinking stage. There are some who may be in the preoperational stage. It is difficult to tell because I have not given them any conservation tasks. Some of the students are definitely at a lower cognitive development stage than other though. These children are in the industry versus inferiority stage, as defined by Erik Erikson. They are learning how to learn and work with others. The children are constantly being assessed in this classroom. Every Monday, the day of my practicum, they go into the computer lab and take reading and math assessments on the computer. They have spelling quizzes every week, with new words each week. Mrs. Williams also uses daily classwork, such as handouts, to assess the students’ knowledge.
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