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Journal Reflections

Aja Harvey

Drexel University School of Education


Journal Entry

Friday, January 26, 2018

Today was a new experience. Currently, the teachers are testing students for their

reading levels in preparation for adjustments to the reading intervention program. This has led to

my cooperating teacher’s absence from the classroom for the day. For the most part, the day

went as it normally would. The students are well versed in their morning routines and go through

the actions with little to no teacher prompting. I assisted the substitute with the intricacies of

how the classroom is run, and handled the students’ individual needs. Go Blue (the reading

intervention block) went as it normally would. I taught guided reading with a group of students,

continuing to practice fluency and use newly learned strategies, specifically the differences

between possessive nouns and contractions, to assist them with reading unfamiliar or more

difficult words in their newest text. Along with reading strategies, students were guided through

comprehension as they were asked to think and make predictions about the story, set a purpose,

and recall details following reading the text. After reading and discussing the text, students were

given a prompt to write about how the Queen in the story could have acted better towards the


Following Go Blue, is recess and lunch, and during this time I prepared myself for the

day’s math lesson, making sure that the interactive book was ready, deciding if I was going to

show the visual learning video, and gathering all supplies needed. When the students returned

from lunch for mindfulness, I sat with those students that had difficulties with the previous

night’s homework in order to explain what they may have done wrong and prepare them for the

day’s lesson which builds on the concepts from the previous night’s homework. For the day’s

math lesson, I was teaching students how to count by 1’s and 10’s using open number lines.

Open number lines by 1’s has been a tough concept for some students in the past, but they had

finally begun to understand without guidance, when we began to introduce counting by both 10’s

and 1’s to prepare students for learning about place-value. The lesson began as normal with use

looking at the solve and share problem and watching the visual learning video. As we began the

journal work at the board, a student began to show disruptive behavior, crawling along the

carpet, talking, and growing frustrated when students look at him. The substitute tried to work

separately with this student as a redirection, but he grew more frustrated as she took his math

journal so that he could not continue ripping holes in his pages. The majority of the class did

their best to ignore this student, but a few were finding the situation funny, feeding into the

student’s disruptive behavior. In both the substitute and my efforts to turn this student’s

behavior around it escalated into a great deal of anger. He destroyed his math journal and began

throwing things from his table onto the floor as math ended.

We moved into science and took the class outside to check the temperature and observe

the weather for our logs. At this point, the student that was causing such issue during math,

continued with unacceptable behavior as he continued to talk during our observations and put his

hand on a peer’s face who was signaling for him to stop his disruptive behavior. I spoke to him

about not putting his hands on a person’s face and why she was signaling for him to stop in the

first place before turning the class to reenter the school. As I lead the class back into the

classroom, my CT began speaking to the student that had been disruptive all afternoon as he had

been witnessed throwing the glass door closed and again hit the student who’s face he had put

his hand on. She pulled him from class to speak with him separately about his behavior which

had been gradually growing worse over the past week. The substitute and I continued in the

classroom, completing the science portion of the day which only consisted of the students filling

their observations into their log before we began “fun Friday”. Following fun Friday, the

students packed up, went to specials, and went home for the evening.


In reflecting on this journal entry, I find one of the most important things I learned is

about classroom management. I have been observing this student since October and thought I

understood his personality, but the week that led to this journal entry showed me the

unpredictability of working with some children. This journal entry heavily addresses domain 2:

classroom environment, and more specifically components 2a, 2b, 2d, as well as 3c.

2a- Creating an environment of respect and rapport

Looking at this situation, in comparison to the Danielson Framework, I have worked to

create the atmosphere of respect necessary for the bonding between students and teachers.

While, I was able and have continued to create such an atmosphere, there was a clear break down

of the tenuous bond I had with this particular student. While it may not have been through any

fault of my own, this student did not perceive me to be worthy of respect thus leading to his

disregard for his peers as well. In dealing with this situation, I should have taken a more active

role in directing and disciplining this student, and work at restructuring and strengthening our


2b- Establishing a culture for learning

In trying to establish this attitude on learning for the majority of students I overlooked

working more with this student. While he knows he needs to learn, because it is what children

are meant to do, I should have worked with him to help him understand that math and everything

he learns in school will come into use in the future in some way. I know this student wants to be

a mechanic like his father, and I could have done more to use that to my advantage and redirect

his engagement with the content, by rewording the problems to fit that interest of his. In leaving

the substitute to try and handle this student, I now also see that I indirectly showed that I had low

expectations for this student. From his perspective this student probably felt that I had given up

on him, one of the worst feelings I could have let him deal with that day.

2d- Managing student behavior

This component is where I know I was least in line with this day. As I said, I left this

student to the substitute teacher so that I could work with the whole class. However, in

hindsight, I believe that the situation may have escalated as it did because I was inconsistent with

how I dealt with this student’s behavior, as well as choosing to ignore him as the behavior

increased. When I made the decision to begin ignoring the behavior I believed he was doing it

for attention and was hoping by not giving that attention, the student would come to realize his

actions were not getting him what he wanted. However, that was not the case, and I see that my

assumptions caused a negative consequence overall.

3c- Engaging students in learning

This lesson was not taught in an engaging enough way which left far too great an

opportunity for the student exhibiting behaviors to find himself detached from the academics.

As previously stated, knowing some of the student’s interests, I should have found a way to

incorporate it into the day’s lesson and try to redirect his behavior. The lesson, as taught with the

math text, was not naturally engaging, but I should have included more opportunities for small

activities that promoted kinesthetic based learning to help with any restlessness the individual

students was feeling, along with supporting students who learn better through movement.

Student learning was adversely affected by the behavior of this student, but also because

of my not taking more authority in the situation. I felt that I should let the substitute teacher

handle the student and ignore the behaviors and continue working with the whole group. In

hindsight, I find I should have worked with this student myself, reiterating the class expectations

as well as my own expectations for him, as I was the most familiar authority figure for him in the

room. This whole incident caused a short period of inappropriate behavior from other students

when I am teaching, and cause adverse effects to academic understanding as was evident by

student’s difficulties understanding the topic that day and subsequent days as we moved towards

the end of the unit. I had to partially reteach the concept the following lesson to assess how well

students understood the concept around the disruptions of the lesson.

From this experience, I learned a great deal about how important the teacher language

used is to influencing student behaviors. After this incident I have taken to a more direct, matter-

of fact tone that leaves little to no room for the students to question me or my resolve in the

statements I make. Following this incident, I looked to my cooperating teacher for good sources

on responsive classroom language which is an approach in line with how I wish to teach and

work with students. I have been reading the text The Power of Our Words by Dr. Paula Denton,

which outlines how to use language, both verbal and body, effectively in promoting student

achievement academically and socially. Along with reading texts, I have been speaking with my

cooperating teacher regularly on the best approaches to how to use my language in dealing with

inappropriate student behaviors that may occur in specific situations. I have also come to learn

that I need to be more flexible to engage and redirect errant students toward acceptable and

expected behaviors.

Immediately following this situation, I set several goals for myself. I am continuously

working on my language, both verbal and body, to show students that I am an authority figure,

but that I care about them, and want to create a mutual relationship that will benefit them in the

grand scheme. Along with my language, I am taking a more active and individualized role in

dealing with behaviors, by pulling students aside separately to speak to them on their behaviors

and why they are unacceptable. I continue to observe, and communicate with students to know

them better and use that knowledge to create more engaging activities and lessons that advance

learning. Most importantly, my goal is to be more direct and consistent in my instructions and

expectations so that there is no question from students on what consequences follow a certain

type of behavior. I am continuing to grow as a teacher, and, through my mistakes or missteps, I

will find the perfect blend of characteristics, procedures, and strategies that will help me to serve

my students to the best of my ability.



Danielson, C. (2013). The Framework for Teaching Evaluation Instrument (2013 ed.).

Danielson group & Teachscape. Retrieved from

Denton, P., & Hodges, L. (2016). The power of our words. Turners Falls: Center for Responsive