The classroom that I am currently in has a great environment for active learning. My teacher has his/her desk in the back left corner of the room. He/she has it in that location so they can be observing them all the time while they are back there. I am located in the front left of the room right night to one of the white boards. I like my location because I can see the student’s faces and reactions throughout the day. He has an interactive white board system in the front of the room. It is in the center and is the focus point of most lessons. He keeps his books and other supply cabinets in the room on the side by the door. There is a TV which is so far on played during the morning announcements on that side too. In the back there is a large map of the world. In the beginning the students have to find ‘Waldo’ on the map and write down the coordinates of Waldo. I really like this exercise because it is a good introduction routine and it is fun. My teacher has the desks in 7 rows, all of which are facing the interactive white board. That is the front of the class for the majority of time, but my teacher moves around as well.
My teacher is trying to have a structured relaxed environment. Interesting combination of words I know. My teacher expects my students to have a feel of a sense of cooperative learning in the classroom. I think the arrangement of the class makes it easier for them to ask questions and interact with each other about certain content while understanding that they are there to learn and not fool around. The students understand that it is the teacher room and rules, but that they are free to make comments about the material.
The classroom materials are pretty simple. They have standard desk and chair for the class. I have an average desk with an awesome wheelie chair. She/he has a bigger desk and more comfortable chair in his/her area. As I noted before there is an interactive white board as well as two old school white boards. There are cabinets filled with books and other classroom supplies as well. My teacher uses a laptop, as do I, and the kids have their own as well so there is WiFi that works half the time.
The main thing that I have learned so far is that every class is different. Each one interacts with you differently, each other differently, and the content differently. For the majority of my students their interests are peaked when they can relate somehow to the content. The students asking questions and commenting on the material are good cues. They are least interested when they are just being lectured and without being engaged. That doesn’t happen much in this classroom though.
This classroom behavior is so good because of their lack of involving with each other unless it was suppose to happen. The students will answer or comment on another’s question and they will work in groups, pairs, or helping each other do class work. But, other than that, it’s the occasionally boy trying to be a goof as a minor distracting or a group of girls gossiping to each other quietly. The students interact with their teacher when asking questions or commenting on the material. I think my teacher does a good job fostering and engaging student involvement. The kids know they have to be taking notes and being focused on the lesson.
The students are motivated by taking pride in successful work or trying to look ‘cool’ in front of each other. Taking pride in successful work is pretty obvious because it make the student feel worthy and successful. The students can look cool by answering a question correctly, getting a good grade on a test, or getting the compliment of the teacher. I do see small social cliques in class but they seem not to be well formed yet. They are freshman level high school students, so the upper tier section of secondary school is new to them. I am not sure, but they could have attended different middle schools so they are still meeting each other since it’s the beginning of school. You can tell who the smart kids are, the athletics, the in crowd and the out crowd in some situations. The majority of students are nice to each and respectful. I have not seen an outburst yet.
I think being a social studies student today is the same as a student of any subject. If the student feels value towards the class then they will look forward somewhat to it. The subject of social students will have a good amount of oral lessons and group activities, so students will have to be prepared for that. They should be ready to interact with the lessons and learn corporative with each other. When I was a student I looked forward to this subject, but I knew that I was going have to be ready to be engaged in the subject to learn it. Overall this subject of social studies can draw interest to many different children due to the wide range of topics.