Penny Blank Education 215-01: Ed Psyc Dr. Edward J. Wenzel 06 December 2010 Field Learning Experience Introduction The school I was assigned to do my field learning experience with is Eagle Bluff Elementary School, located in Onalaska, Wisconsin. My cooperating teacher is Pat Stellflue, one of the art teachers. The grades I worked with on Friday afternoons were two classes of 2nd graders and one class of third graders. The dates I observed are as follows: October 8, 15, 22, November 5, 12, 19, December 3, and 10. Pat asked me if I would be interested in teaching for the duration of my field learning experience and I jumped at the chance. The dates Pat and I switched roles occurred on November 19, December 3 and 10. Room Description Walking into Pat Stellflue’s classroom, one immediately feels a flooding of senses. There are large blanket sized examples of different artists’ work hanging around the classroom creating a sound buffer for the high ceiling. The artists are Renoir, Monet, Monet, Van Gogh, Cassatt, and Seuratt. Mounted on the walls are framed prints depicting Normal Rockwell and better known artists’ prints. The classroom tables are strategically placed in a large triangular shape. Pat explained the reason for this is that it forces the students to walk single file upon entering, gathering supplies, cleaning up and exiting the classroom. While one might perceive it as chaotic and overflowing upon entering it, I find it to be a well thought out classroom with everything strategically placed to enhance and enforce student learning. This classroom provides a plethora of David Ausubel’s advanced organizers. Students are forced to be respectful of others in a controlled environment, which is not necessarily the case in art classes. The classroom environment is rich with content. It [art room] is located in the green hallway. The color green is connected to creativity. I was impressed with the classroom. It has all that an art teacher could need or want to teach art. There are two pottery wheels and a kiln room with shelves. Student Demographics Eagle Bluff School is well designed and strategically situated amongst a natural hill environment. Students can feel protected and enjoy the hill and trees surrounding it. In Pat’s classes there are Hmong students and I suspect there are students who fall under the socioeconomic need category. The reason I suspect some students as being in the low socio economic category is their lower level of thinking along with speech and behaviorisms. There are a few students who exhibit some behavioral issues and are now on a behavioral plan. Pat needs to tell the homeroom teachers when they come to collect their students at the close of the class period. I did not see any students with special physical requirements in Pat’s classes. Discussion of Lessons Observed What impressed me most on my initial visit was Pat. It was obvious she was putting into practice Pavlov’s classical conditioning in her method of gaining the students’ attention. When she says “Vincent” the students’ say “Van Gogh” and the room goes quiet, the fidgeting stops and she has their focus and attention. If they do not she repeats herself once. Pat has two chairs with a signs on them that state in a positive manner, “I will sit here and figure out what I did wrong.” (In all of my observation times, no one needed to use these chairs). There are colored hats on the wall that allows students to express their feelings. Pat has signs reinforcing class rules and signs to point or emphasize what she is teaching them even including a large needle with an exaggerated eye to provide visuals. I believe she makes use of the Attribution Theory and expects students to be on their best behavior at all times. Pat explained to me that all of the teachers in the building use the same hand signals for hallway travel and student expectations. When giving instruction Pat not only uses these visuals but pulls in information that students are learning in their other classrooms playing on what they already know or are learning making use of Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development. Pat uses both behaviorist and constructivist instructional practices when teaching. She provides historical content and information when setting the stage for the next project on which the students will be working. Once Pat has given instructions both verbally and visually on the board, she lets students work. Another point that Pat stressed to me is Bloom’s Taxonomy. She challenges students to use their critical thinking skills. I often hear a student ask her if he/she should add something to his/her work and she says, “I don’t know. It is your work. What do you think?” Pat does not believe in coddling students. She believes they can be taught to be self sufficient; in fact several students wanted me to assist them with tying their aprons. Pat noticed and used it as a teachable moment to instruct tying the apron. Pat is an academic challenger and students are treated equally. Over the course of the next several weeks I saw the value of helping students to not only be self sufficient but it also brings them confidence. I found it humorous to have students explain exactly what they are doing as if it were Pat talking. I see that Pat’s method of teaching allows for a more enjoyable teaching experience because as Pat stated, “You would wear yourself out.” Pat appeals to students’ senses no matter their learning style. She plays music in the background while they work (depending on the class) and I have seen her pick a student with whom to dance. She favors big band music and has a record player in the classroom next to the boom box. Other times I have observed Pat will play music about artists the students have just learned about to reinforce learning. The students respond favorable and enjoy learning. Pat also used Vygotsky’s Theory of Proximal Development requiring students to use their writing skills and to write their first and last name neatly along with the title of their artwork; the media used and depending on their age level, write an artist statement using two or more complete sentences for second graders. Third graders must write three sentences. The students are required to first write in pencil then have either Pat or I and two of their neighbors sign the back of the card. The signatures on the back of the card mean that the student’s work has been proofed and all spelling and grammar are accurate. The student then can take a black sharpie and go over the pencil to finish the card. These cards go on display with students’ work around the school building. On my third visit I saw some of the students’ sculptures, complete with all the six line requirements on them. The paper mache sculptures were colorful and painted in either the primary, secondary or neutral colors with embellishments such as jewels, puff paint, wire and pipe cleaners. The leaves that were stamped on colored construction paper were hanging in the lunchroom. The clay leaf plates were glazed and on display depicting fall, in the glass display case outside the main office. Each piece on display had the student’s card attached to it. Pat requires students to write on a card the title of their piece, the artist and media used as well as an artist statement that must go along with their age level. The second graders must write two sentences. The spelling must be checked by two of the student’s class neighbors in pencil and they sign the back. Then before students can go over it with black sharpie, either Pat or I needed to check it. It is rewarding to see students’ sculptures and glazed leaves on display upon entrance into the school in a glass display case. I can recognize some of the beautiful fall leaves painted and lining the lunch room and hallways throughout the building. I fondly think of the students’ and their work when walking towards the art classroom. It is obvious art definitely has a place at Eagle Bluff Elementary School. Impact on Professional Preparation Pat asked me if I wanted to teach the remaining three dates that I will be sharing with Eagle Bluff students. I jumped at the chance. I felt honored to be asked and I valued her feedback and suggestions. Pat stated she would be happy to have me as a student teacher. I never thought I would be interested in teaching at the Elementary level, but Pat has given me something to think about. I thoroughly enjoyed this field experience. Pat is the art teacher I am hoping to one day become. Week 1, Introduction to Pat Stellflue. Pat had a black wire stand sitting on the floor next to the door with large books of Picasso, Van Gogh, Impressionism, and Renaissance. Inside the classroom one is assailed with organized chaos. The students file in single file and go right to their assigned seats and look at me curiously. Pat introduces me and they give me an Eagle Bluff welcome which consists of using their arms like wings and fan them three times. Pat proceeds to go over what the students are learning and introduces me to her teaching method which expects students to be focused as well as responsible. Each student washes their hands, gathers a classroom apron and we line up to go outside to collect fall leaves. It was a beautiful day out sunny and warm. The students collect their leaves and we walk single file back to the classroom. Pat asks me to collect the colored construction paper while the students get small paint containers lined up on a table and a sponge. Pat demonstrates to the students how to place the leaves on the paper, then dip their sponge into the paint and using a stippling method sponging paint onto the paper around the leave edges. She then demonstrates the use of colored pencil to create lines depicting stem leaves and veins. Class time today was shortened because of taking the time to be introduced. The students each placed their freshly painted work on the drying rack and washed their hands, sponges putting everything in its place then proceeded to wash their table area. Pat encouraged those that were finished to be a good neighbor and assist those who weren’t to have all completed in time. The students all sat in their chairs and waited expectantly to be released to their teacher. I really enjoyed observing Pat work and am excited to return. Week 2. Students are working on sculptures. The sculptures are made from assorted items and must have on six lines; horizontal, vertical, curve, zigzag, swirl, straight, diagonal. Pat explained that people often save items rather than throwing them away and bring them to her classroom for students’ artwork. In the classroom there is a large garbage container filled with assorted items. I noticed one boy, later found out his name is Cole, started to assemble his sculpture but by the end of the class had disassembled it. Week 3. Pat was absent and I assisted the substitute who was not an art teacher. Students were sanding their clay leaf plates. I was assigned to check student’s plates to make sure all edges were sanded to prevent students from getting their hands cut on the plates when completed. Students had to place three coats of glaze on their leaf plates. The second graders were working on their sculptures and Cole again did not get his sculpture assembled. Week 4, I told Pat I would assist Cole today because all the other students were either finishing their sculptures or had completed them. It was obvious when working that Cole that he did not like to touch the paste. He wrinkled up his nose and exclaimed, “Ich” I told him it would be okay and it can be fun. Pat explained that all the students were to clean up except Cole and I who were working to get Cole’s sculpture put together. We used several large pieces and pasted them on. Before the students left that day Cole’s sculpture was put together and left to dry. One student next to me, said it was okay to help get Cole caught up but he could paint the white primer on himself. Inside I chuckled at her statement which sounded a lot like something Pat would say. Week 5, 6, and 7. Pat and I switched roles and I taught both second grade classes and the third grade class. (see the binder for lesson plans and teaching reflections).