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Classroom Movement Observation

Classroom Movement

The image above details my observation of the movement within a class. The class consisted of 24 students. For the sake of simplicity, I’ve just included one student group above and charted movement of 3 students from the group sitting at the front tables as well as the movements of the teacher.

The class observed was a year 4 (grade 3) English class. The students were all Chinese L1 speakers. The teacher was American. The teacher had the students engage in a guided reading session. Students in each group were given reading A to Z books based on their group reading level and had to complete a corresponding quiz and other supplementary activities in their groups for 40 minutes, which happened to be the length of the class.

During this time, the teacher circulated between groups to check student work. As can be seen in the image above, the classroom setup made it easy for the teacher to get around. The students were organized in semi circular groups facing the board so that they could interact with each other and still focus on the teacher.

The position of the teacher’s desk made it easy for students to consult with the teacher during the lesson. Although no students went to the teacher’s desk to ask questions, it could be helpful for the teacher and students if tape were put on the ground to indicate to the students where they should line up and stop. Otherwise, students may crowd around the teachers’ desk or push or shove if the situation is not managed properly.

During the lesson, most students stayed within their groups without moving around very much. There were several exceptions that I decided to focus on as these exceptions were either A) undirected and unpurposeful, B) undirected and purposeful, or C) directed and purposeful.

Note: The arrows in the image not only indictate the actions of these 3 exceptions but also other types of general movement possible within the class period.

Student 1 engaged in an undirected and unpurposeful action when he went to the interactive whiteboard. It is not clear why he decided to this other than to get the attention of his group mates and to make the class off task. It was said that this student often has issues staying on task and has a habit of moving around when he shouldn’t, touching items in the class that do not belong to him, and standing up inappropriately during class.

Based on my observations, it might have been better to move him to a position in the classroom where he might not be around as many distractions, perhaps near the window or in the middle group table.

Student 2 engaged in a non-directed, but purposeful movement when she went to get a class dictionary from the back of the classroom. Actually, the dictionary should have already been on her desk at the start of class, but apparently she forgot to do this and got up without raising her hand to go get the dictionary.

Again, this class was mostly on task so there weren’t any major issues with this movement, but you can imagine if more students had also forgotten their dictionaries, it would have caused a lot of unnecessary commotion and taken away from precious teaching time. It would have been better, in my opinion, if the teacher had placed some boxes in the middle of each group for students to include important items that they might need for the guided reading session such as pens, pencils, markers, and dictionaries. The close proximity of these items would better enable the teacher to keep track of what the students are doing.

Student 3 engaged in directed student movement when she went to the computer to read RAZ Kids unit. I was told that she was allowed to do this as she was one of the highest level readers in the class so this would give her the opportunity to be challenged. The proximity of this student’s desk to the computer station made it easy for her to get to the computer without disturbing others. Nonetheless, it seems like the class might benefit from having more computers in the classroom. I think at least one more computer placed on the table on the left hand side of the classroom would allow for a better flow of movement around the class.

Mostly students were well behaved and I believe this had a lot to do with the classroom dynamic and how the desks were organized. Groups tended to focus on the task given to them and were rarely off task.

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