[Peer Observation: Miss R]
was written in the Fall of
2001, as part of my teaching
Disclaimer: This work is
entirely my own. I bare all
responsibility for the
contents of this paper. All
opinion are my original work
and any quotes or ideas of
other authors are footnoted.
Peer Observation: Miss R
Miss R’s classroom is very open. Half of the students’ desks are each side of the room; they
are turned in toward the middle so that students face each other. There is a large walkway
down the center of the classroom which provides the teacher easy access to each student.
The teacher’s desk is tucked into the back of the room, away from the focus of the class. In
the front of the room is an overhead projector and screen to support discussion and
lectures. The walls are filled with posters to encourage students. There is space to display
Miss R greets students as they walk into class. In a typical day, the students spend the
first ten minutes writing in their journals. This allows them the an opportunity to practice
their writing skills and gives Miss R time to take care of administrative tasks such as
taking roll and returning students work. The students’ journals are collected once a
week. Miss R checks for content and amount written. She looks closely at 2 or 3 entries
and comment on what the students have written. She it not overly critical of grammar as
these journals are intended to help the students better express their ideas.
When students’ have finished with their daily journals, Miss R takes a few minutes to go
over the previous days work and checks in with the students about the progress they are
making in their journals. Miss R reminds students of the smiley face tricks, these are
techniques students can use to monitor their own writing. She explains how these can be
put into action and reminds the students of an opportunity for extra credit if they use this
method in their journals.
Next, the class discusses ways to break up paragraph in order to better understand the
material being read. Miss R uses a method called Expository Paragraph Outline to help the
class break up what they have just read. This helps them to understand what is going on
in the text and students will reverse this method later on to assist in their own writing.
This is a good exercise for getting the students involved and Miss R takes every
opportunity to draw her students out. She involves them, asks them questions and gives
them plenty of positive feedback and support.
Miss R has a sweet soft-spoken manner. It is difficult to imagine her ever raising her voice
in anger. Instead one expects and can observe patience and genuine concern for her
students. When necessary students receive gentle corrections, never rushed or angered
comments. Miss R’s students seem comfortable asking her questions. She has developed
good rapport with her class. She interjects short personal stories throughout her lectures
to illustrate points she is making. The Expository Paragraph Outline takes the up most of
the rest of the class period. Miss R uses the last five minutes of class to review important
points and prepare the students for the next day’s work.
Peer Observation: Notes on my classroom
Miss R observed my classroom during the third week of school. Sierra high school is on a
block schedule; each student has four ninety-minute classes. Students take four classes
in the fall and four different classes in the spring. Many of my peers took over classes in
which they observed for several months. For this class, I was allowed to start fresh. These
students know only me as the art teacher. I am grateful for this fact because it has made
the experience seem less artificial and I think it will ultimately be of greater benefit to me.
The block schedule speeds up the school year so that students (and teachers) are doing
their work in half the time they would otherwise have. There are many benefits to this
system and it is ideal for the art classroom.
When Miss R came to observe we were well into our first major project. The class has
previously discussed Pre-historic art history and we focused on Aboriginal art and their
ideas, specifically the ‘dreamings’. Students were asked to create several images in line
drawings on newsprint. These would later be transferred to black paper to begin the final
project. Students would then apply dots to the surface using the puff paint. We (the
students and their teacher) were also still learning how to clean up our classroom, since
this was only our third or forth time we were still a bit slow.
I had very little time to discuss the project with Miss R during class time. I spent much of
my time moving around the classroom assisting students, all in various stages of the
project. I am very open with my students and they seem comfortable asking me questions.
I tend to spend most of my class time walking around the room, helping when I am
needed or just spending time talking to the kids.
Lesson Plan for the day of the observation
1. The Student will have an understanding of Aboriginal art and its history.
2. The student will demonstrate safe working procedures.
3. Students will practice their drawing skills.
4. Students will work in groups to accomplish tasks and be responsible for cleaning and
maintaining their group’s workstation.
Day 1 History Lesson
A discussion of Aboriginal art history will introduce students to style and technique. A
brief daily follow up will add to students’ knowledge base and reinforce ideas already
Students begin full size drawings to come up with a design for their final project. Each
student will draw a minimum of four different images on newsprint paper. After teacher
approval, drawings will be transferred to black construction paper.
Day 2-5 Student Practice
Teacher will demonstrate puff paint to each table group. Students will have an opportunity
to use puff paints before beginning their final projects. When students are comfortable
they may begin painting on the final paper. Those students who progress more quickly
will assist other students.
Puff Paint Construction paper Newsprint paper Pencil
Vocabulary: the Student will understand the following terms.
Aboriginal Puff Paint Newsprint paper
Time Frame: three to five class periods.