Josh Van Coppenolle
Social Studies Methods
Kindergarten teacher: Mrs. Debolt
First grade teacher: Mrs. Casteluzo
Location: Penn Yan Elementary
Carrie and I were going to observe a kindergarten classroom social studies class
that combined their lesson with a first grade class. We were scheduled to arrive at 2 PM.
When I arrived at 1:50 PM, Carrie was waiting outside the school and informed me that
she had already gone in and was told that there was going to be a fire drill in just a few
We waited for the fire drill to finish and then went into the class. The time was
about 2:10 at this point, so the teachers were running a little behind.
When we entered the room it was empty, we had obviously beat the students back
from the fire drill. This gave us time to look around. The kindergarten room was
brightly decorated with lots of posters and students art work. The kids were working on
colors because there was a strip on top of the blackboard that had the colors and things
we might see in that color.
The students desks were arranged in two rows, pushed
together and facing each other. There were about twelve seats in each group, so there
were about 24 students in the class. Apparently, the class had just been returning from a
trip to the school library when the fire drill went off, so when they came in they were
still carrying their library books. The students were asked to take their seats and they did
so quietly. Everyones eyes were on Carrie and me. Mrs.
Debolt asked us to introduce
ourselves, which we did. She told the class that we were learning to be teachers and
that we wanted to sit in on their social studies class. Each student sat at a little desk with
their name laminated on the top. The students had laminated cards with their names on
them tied around their neck with a long piece of yarn. I think that these were their library
Debolt asked me to collect these, which I did. The students were pretty quiet
while this was going on and followed directions well. Mrs. Debolt told the class that we
were going to have a joint lesson with Mrs. Castiluzos 1st grade class. She asked
everyone to come up to the front of the room and sit quietly on their bottoms, hands in
The two classrooms are connected by a door and soon Mrs. Castiluzo, her
aide, and the 1st graders came in. It was a tight squeeze but everyone got a little spot on
the floor. You could tell the kids who like their personal space because they were
uncomfortable in the tight space and tried to wiggle and scoot. Mrs. Debolt introduced
Carrie and me and then started her lesson.
She started with a story about a green bear
who lived in the forest. He would change the color of his house as the seasons changed.
Before she read she assess for prior knowledge. After she finished the book she led the
group by questioning them about houses and families and health. Then we talked about
healthy bodies and how we make healthy bodies by eating correctly. The teacher would
ask a question and then call on someone who raised their hand.
When there was a fun
task to do, the teacher would call on a student that was doing something right, like sitting
up straight. I noticed that the same students were always raising their hands. The teacher
should have tried to involve all of the students.
After the discussion of green and healthy, Mrs. Castiluza read a poem, but the
children had already been sitting for 15-20 minutes and were not interested in the long
poem at all. Then, Mrs.
Castiluza brought out a bag of fresh vegetables that she grew in
her garden. This got the kids interested again and we discussed how the greens of the
vegetables were different. Then Carrie and I got 2 helpers and cut up lettuce, peppers,
and cucumbers to make a salad. We all ate salad and talked about the different textures
and crunchiness of the vegetables. The lesson was evaluated as the students ate their
salad, the teachers informally walked around the room and spoke with the children, but
not all of them. The kids finished, threw their paper plates away and .