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Letter to Student:

Dear English 1200 Service Learning Student,

My name is Blythe Neuhoff, and I studied W.H. Robinson Elementary School for my African American schools project.  Although this project was a long, and at times difficult, process, it was also very interesting.  I worked with Louanne Reekes and we decided to compose a paper and a timeline.  Our paper contained a lot of general information about Robinson and segregation across the United States. However, we could not find many specific dates about Robinson to add to our timeline, so I think this would be the best place for you to add detail.   One thing that made this project really difficult was the amount of information at Joyner.  There was not as much information about Robinson as there was on some of the other schools in Pitt County.  Our interview helped us the most so try to plan as many as you can without overloading yourself.  Good luck with everything!

Sincerely,

Blythe Neuhoff

 

Cover Letter

December 13, 2010

Old Cafeteria Complex, G-310

 

Dear Professor West-Puckett:

I, Blythe Neuhoff, have developed as a writer more than I could have possibly imagined during this English 1200 class.  I loved to write when I was younger, but during high school I felt as though I had lost my passion for writing.  At the beginning of this school year I was honestly dreading writing so many papers for this class because I simply did not enjoy writing.  However, I am extremely glad that I took this class and completed all of the papers because it stretched me past my limits.  Now, looking back at how much I have learned, I feel proud and accomplished of all that I have done.  The portfolio that I have completed includes categories labeled: “Discovery Writings,” “Major Project 1,” “Major Project 2,” and “Annotated Bibliographies.”  Each of these categories include well thought out, revised, and developed work.

During the semester I have had excellent attendance, only missing one class.  The day that I missed class I made sure that I knew what I needed to complete, and then I completed the assignments on time.  While in class, I have not only participated in every activity, but I also gave each activity my full attention and worked to my best ability.  I worked extremely hard outside of class by myself and with my partner for Major Project One, Louanne Reekes.  I spent many hours in Joyner Library, at W.H. Robinson Elementary School, and on my computer making revisions.  I also attended my Instructor Conference and then used all of the constructive criticism I received to make my Major Project Two a better mini-ethnography.  Pushing myself to work harder had the most affect on my writing.  Also, the instructor conference was a great help because it opened my eyes to mistakes that I had not noticed before.  Although all of the exercises we completed helped my writing, peer revision helped the least.  At times I felt as though we were all equally confused so we could not do much to help each other.  It was a little like “the blind leading the blind” at times.

I have met all of the due dates for the assignments during the entire semester, including everything from major projects to small reflective writings.  Also, I have worked my hardest to submit assignments that were above and beyond the expectations of the class.  To do so I made sure that my work was well written and descriptive, I made sure that my annotated bibliographies included enough information to inform the reader of what the resource was about, and I included detailed, vivid descriptions throughout my mini-ethnography.

I feel that I have poured a lot of hard work, time, and dedication into everything that I have produced during this class.  I wanted to make sure that every piece of writing had a sufficient amount of information, enough to clearly portray my thoughts.  Both of my Major Projects have been through many revisions.  Each revision helped my writing become more and more developed.  Because I am a perfectionist, I usually obsess over little things that are not exactly right.  However, I feel confident with all of the work that I am submitting, especially Major Project One.  I would even go so far as to say that in my opinion, Major Project One is included in the top five most impressive pieces of work that I have completed during my academic career.  I feel very proud of my final draft.

As stated before, all of my work has been revised multiple times.  My discovery writings have been revised until they reached what I thought was an appropriate length.  They also all address the topics that they are supposed to address.  Although I did not post separate revisions for each discovery writing, I have gone back into the posts that I have on my blog and made many changes to further develop my writing.  The discovery writings are the first things that I began to work on during this class so they are a good example of how my writing style, vocabulary, and organization have developed throughout the semester.  The annotated bibliographies have also been revised many times.  I had written annotated bibliographies before this class, but they were never as detailed as the ones that I have written this semester.  I had to make sure that I included enough information to show what the resource was about, and why it was a credible source.  I have worked extremely hard on my revisions for major projects one and two.  I have never completed an assignment this lengthy or detailed, so it required a lot of persistence.  Many classmates gave me advice for my writing.  One suggestion for Major Project One was brought up during class.  The class said that I should try to intertwine W.H. Robinson’s history with the entire nation’s history.  I accepted this suggestion, and it ended up making my paper flow much more smoothly.  There were a few other small suggestions that I did not necessarily agree with so I did not change my paper.  Also, I used all of the suggestions that I received during my instructor conference.  They were very helpful because I felt lost when I started Major Project Two.  Now that I have used those suggestions, I think that Major Project Two is a very strong mini-ethnography.  I am glad that I was able to compose a paper for Major Project One, while Louanne composed the timeline, because I thoroughly enjoyed writing the paper and making revisions.  I think that if I was forced to only compose a timeline, I would not feel as proud of my finished project.  Also, the direction of the project would have been different.  Writing a paper allowed me to include general things about segregation, and it did not restrict me to dates like a timeline would have.

Talking during class was helpful because many of my classmates had the same concerns and questions that I had.  Also, I enjoyed being in a class where we worked together to figure out how we were going to complete projects.  It was a nice break from having a professor tell you exactly what to do, and I actually feel like I learned more by being a part of the learning process.

Throughout my revisions I kept my audience in mind.  I wanted all of my writing to be “public-friendly.”  I wanted my blog to be a website that anyone of any age could read and understand.  While working on Major Project One, I thought about my audience even more than I did during my discovery writings.  This was because I wanted people in the Greenville/Winterville community to read my research paper and easily comprehend the information about segregation at W.H. Robinson.  It is important for the community to know what this area was like prior to integration because it helps bring segregation to life.  I wanted Major Project Two to make my audience feel as though they were observing at W.H. Robinson.  Therefore I wrote in a personal and descriptive writing style that appeals to a very general audience.

I have used many different types of resources during my research.  I have observed, conducted an interview, and used primary and secondary sources.  My field notes are proof of observation which was the most important resource for my ethnography.  I learned so much about the students and how they learn during my observations.  I have conducted interviews with Calvin C. Henderson and Jessica Pahye for major projects one and two.  The transcripts for these interviews are on my blog, and the actual audio files for the interviews are in my dropbox.  I have many secondary sources from newspapers and books in major projects one and two, and I found a few pictures of W.H. Robinson School, which count as primary sources for Major Project One.

In order to copyedit the final drafts for my major projects, I have read over my work many times looking for mistakes in capitalization, spelling, grammar, and punctuation.  I have also had other people proof-read my writings to catch the mistakes that I did not see.

In and out of class I have provided helpful feedback for fellow classmates.  I have provided my opinion during class and given constructive criticism.  I have also provided encouragement when I notice something that is superior.  On Louanne Reekes’s blog I provided feedback for her “Beginning Draft for MP2.”

Because of the hard work and many hours that I have devoted to this class to produce well written, detailed, and revised assignments, I believe that I should receive an ”A” for English 1200.  As shown above, I have not only completed all of the assignments correctly and on time, but I have also done exemplary work throughout the semester that stretches above and beyond the requirements for a “B” in the class.  I have grown as a writer and a person by pushing myself beyond my limits and acquiring new responsibilities.  I know that because of how hard I have worked during this class, I have new abilities that I will be able to use in the future.

 

Sincerely,

Blythe Neuhoff

Belford, Peter. Ratliff, Donald. (1972). A Network-Flow Model for Racially Balancing Schools. , 20(3), 619-628.

The authors of this journal entry explained what needed to be done to racially balance schools in 1972.  Although this entry was written in 1972, this is a good thing because it provides information about the schools shortly after they became integrated.  They say that it is important to pay attention to how far the students are from their schools and make the schools racially equal.  This is a scholarly journal the addresses the general public, including anyone who is interested in this topic.

Borja, Rhea. “NAACP Suit Challenges Breakup of Omaha Schools..” Education Week25.38 (2006): 5-15.EBSCOhost. Web. 16 Sept. 2010.

Borja writes about issues in Omaha, Nebraska involving segregation in the Omaha school system.  The school district wants to divide the system into three new sections. However, this plan provides an unequal separation of races and social classes.  The NAACP argues that this is unconstitutional and is trying to put a stop to the plan.  The article is a scholarly article that is making the public aware of the problems with segregation that still exist today.

Diehl, Huston. “We’re All Colored.” Massachusetts Review 47.2 (2006): 362-374.EBSCOhost. Web. 16 Sept. 2010.

The author, Huston Diehl, a white female, taught elementary school in Virginia at a “colored school” called Z.C. Morton before the schools were segregated.  She explains that even though it is a colored school, there are white people in charge of the school, pictures of white people in their classroom and in their books, and no information on the history of African Americans.  Her class has a very intense conversation about calling African American people “black.”  This conversation starts because Diehl found a newspaper article about African Americans.  She was excited to have some information for the students to read that they could relate to.  However, the article referred to African Americans as “Black.”  When Diehl brought this article to class none of the students would read it.  She was extremely confused, but after awhile the students started to read, replacing the word “Black” with synonyms for the word.  The students explained to Diehl that they were not black, they were brown and other various shades of brown.  Therefore they did not want to be called “Black.”  After conversing with the students about this touchy subject, Diehl begins to feel their pain.

This article is well written and from a scholarly journal.  It is written from a first person point of view, and it allows the audience to grasp the inside view of an elementary colored school.  Diehl is a creditable author because she was an educated teacher at an African American school before segregation.

Highsmith, J. Henry. (1932). North Carolina High Schools 1930-1931. , 15(3), 111-117.

This article was written before schools were desegregated.  It is a scholarly journal that shows how many white and “colored schools” there were at the time.  It also shows how many more white schools there were and how many more white students were educated.  It is clearly not equal or fair.

Hill, S. (2010). Behind the names. Fountain, NC: RA Fountain Publisher.

This book contains small biographies about the people that Pitt County schools were named after.  However, the author could not find much information about William H. Robinson so he decided to provide information about the school instead.  It includes a time line and information about the building, teachers, and other various things.

Knowledge Contest [photo]. Winterville, NC.

This is a picture of Dr. Andrew Best conducting a “Knowledge Contest” at Robinson Union School on April 28, 1962.  It was published in the Daily Reflector newspaper.

Marlowe, G. (1968, January 30). Negro spokesman hits teacher test. The News and Observer, p. 1.

The News and Observer, from Raleigh, North Carolina, published an article in 1968 that contained information about the National Teacher Examination.  E.B. Palmer, Executive Secretary of North Carolina Teachers Association, was a public voice for African Americans.  He announced that the National Teacher Examination was designed so that more African American teachers in North Carolina would fail.  Palmer thought the state was trying to get rid of as many African American teachers as possible before integration began.

Neuhoff, B., L. Reekes (personal communication with Calvin Henderson, November 15, 2010)

We conducted, recorded, and transcribed an interview with Calvin C. Henderson on November 15, 2010 in his office at the NAACP building in Greenville, North Carolina.  Henderson was a former student at W.H. Robinson prior to segregation.  He provided a large amount of helpful information about the school, teachers, segregation, and many other things.

Race segregation in schools could face1953 legislature. (1953, January). We the People10(8), 29-30.

This article addresses the fact that although public schools are supposed to be “Separate but Equal,” they are not.  Some African Americans say that the segregation itself is inequity no matter what the schools are like.  Also, the Attorney General of the United States stated that having segregation provided humiliation for the United States.  The courts could either decide to reinforce the “Separate but Equal” law, or they could decide to change the law which would provide problems for many southern states.  North Carolina had an advantage over other southern states because its school system was controlled by the state rather than by cities or counties.  Also, North Carolina had fewer African American residents than other southern states.

Robinson union school now large institution. (1965).The Daily Reflector, p. F.

This article was published in The Daily Reflector in 1965.  It contains information about the actual building that was Robinson Union.  Also, it has information about teachers and the way that the grades were separated between classrooms along with various other things about the school.

School opens to court orders, busing, confusion and hard work. (1971, September). We the People29(9), 36-38, 52-53.

When the 1971-1972 school year began many things were happening.  People began to feel like segregation in school was a thing of the past and now the focus needed to be more on different races getting along.  The school boards wanted students to better understand student and teachers of other races than themselves.  On April 20th the U.S. Supreme court decided on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg.  They decided to use busing to further put a stop to segregation.

Sharpe, B. (1958, January). The N.C. press on segregation. The State25(18), 9.

The newspapers of North Carolina have many different opinions about segregation.  However, none of the papers admit straight forward that they are for integration.  The opinions rage from the News and Observer in Raleigh, which does not say anything negative about moving “Negro children” into white schools, to the Record and Landmark in Statesville, which implies that they think the Supreme Court has taken power from the Constitution that is not granted to it.

Siegel-Hawley, Genevieve. “Realizing the Dream.”American School Board Journal197.9 (2010): 43-45.EBSCOhost. Web. 16 Sept. 2010.

Although there is no longer specific racial segregation, there is still segregation based on classes in society.  This article explains these problems in a Wake County school district in North Carolina.  The NAACP claims that by using the “neighborhood school concept” the schools will be racially imbalanced because certain neighborhoods have more white residents than African American residents and vice versa in other neighborhoods.  The article explains that the school boards have a huge impact on keeping schools desegregated.

State Department of Public Instruction , (1968). North carolina educational directory (No. 415). Raleigh, NC.

This booklet is a government document that includes information about North Carolina Schools during the 1949-1950 school year.  Although it did not provide much information about Robinson it was still helpful because it provided the number of teachers in the school and the principal at the time.  It states that the school was in Winterville, and it had nine teachers and one principal whose name was J.W. Maye.  It is a credible source because it is a government document.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction, (1949). Educational directory of north carolina (No. 273). Raleigh, NC.

This booklet is a government document that includes information about North Carolina Schools during the 1958-1959 school year.  Although it did not provide much information about Robinson it was still helpful because it provided the number of teachers in the school and the principal at the time.  It states that the school included grades second through twelfth and it had forty-one teachers.  The principal at this time was still J.W. Maye, and the school was accredited in 1959.  It is a credible source because it is a government document.

Teachers with Equipment [photo]. Winterville, NC.

In the fall of 1966, Robinson School received new audiovisual equipment.  This picture shows some of the teachers learning how to use the new equipment.  It was published in the Daily Reflector newspaper.

Teachers with Equipment (2) [photo]. Winterville, NC.

In the fall of 1966, Robinson School received new audiovisual equipment.  This picture shows some of the teachers learning how to use the new equipment.  It was published in the Daily Reflector newspaper.

Watching Contest [photo]. Winterville, NC.

This is another picture of Dr. Andrew Best conducting the “Knowledge Contest” at Robinson Union School on April 28, 1962.  It also includes the audience and shows the room that the contest was held in.  It was published in the Daily Reflector newspaper.

W.H. Robinson Union School Graduates [photo]. Winterville, NC.

This is a picture of a graduating class from Robinson Union.  Although the exact year is unknown, it was taken somewhere between 1949 and 1967 and published in the Daily Reflector newspaper.

W.H. Robinson Union School Graduates (2) [photo]. Winterville, NC.

This is a picture of the Robinson Union graduating class in May of 1966.  It is was published in The Daily Reflector newspaper.

 

Neuhoff, B. (personal communication with Jessica Pahye, November 15, 2010)

I conducted an interview with Jessica Payhe on November 15, 2010.   She provided valuable information and answered all of my questions thoroughly.  She addressed her reason for teaching, the different learning styles, teaching techniques, and many other things.   The interview helped answer many of the questions that I had after conducting my fieldwork at W.H. Robinson.  She helped me to realize that my hypothesis was incorrect.  In actuality, students, no matter what their learning style, have equal learning opportunities.  However, visual learners have a slight advantage when taking tests because most tests are done with paper and pencil.

Smutny, Joan. (2010). Differentiating For the Young Child: Teaching Strategies Across the Content Areas, PreK-3. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin.

This book explains how to teach primary age students.  It is directed towards primary school teachers and it informs them of how they can focus on all the different types of learning styles.  It also talks about many other important things such as the students’ learning environment, planning ahead of schedule, and connecting and studying each student to assess their individual needs.

Walpole, S., & McKenna, M,. (2007). Differentiated reading instruction: strategies for the primary grades. New York: The Guilford Press.

This book addresses how important it is to reach every student when teaching them how to read.  In order to do this, teachers need to be well trained use many different techniques.  Not every technique will work for every student.  This book helps teachers, and students who are planning to be teachers, by helping them plan out a well rounded lesson plan that incorporates things that will apply to each and every student.  It is a valuable and dependable source because the authors have talked with many professionals and completed detailed research.  Walpole works in the School of Education at the University of Delaware as the Assistant Professor and McKenna is a Professor of Reading at the University of Virginia.  They are both working to increase the literacy rate by publishing information about reading.

 

Equity for All Learning Styles

For my mini ethnography I decided to observe at W.H. Robinson Elementary School.  I wanted to find out if there was equity between the three different learning styles; audio, visual, and kinesthetic.  From my personal experiences, it seems as though teachers use the audio learning style the most.  Therefore, I think that audio learners will have an advantage over kinesthetic and visual learners.  To prove or disprove this assumption, I have decided to conduct fieldwork in Mrs. Payhe’s second grade classroom.  Therefore, the results that I acquire will reflect her class, but they will not reflect every single elementary class.

Before I went into W.H. Robinson to observe, I decided that I would need to behave in a certain way to receive the information that I needed.  By following certain guidelines I would be able to observe and learn without intruding on the students.  In order to figure out how I needed to behave I thought back to when I was younger.

I was once an elementary student, but I attended a private school.  Therefore I knew my experiences were very different from the students who are now at W.H. Robinson Elementary.  However, I have sat in a classroom, listened to the teachers instruct, and participated in activities.  I learned the basics, such as saying my ABC’s, reading and writing small words, and doing simple math problems. I learned how to interact with other students and teachers, and on some days I really missed my mom and dad.  I knew that each of these are things happen every day in the lives of the students at W.H. Robinson.

I thought that this would be a very interesting subculture to study.  It would be easy in some ways and hard in others.  While children are innocent and honest, they also act differently when something out of the ordinary happens.  I had questions like; will I affect the way the children act if I sit in the classroom during class?  The students may act up and try to show off, or they could act like “perfect little angels” to impress me.  Because of this I knew it would be hard to learn how the children really act.  I knew that there would be some surprises, but I could not imagine what they would be.  The subculture seemed pretty straight-forward, especially because I was working with an elementary school.  I thought that young students would be much easier to understand than middle school or high school students.  However, I did have a feeling that many of the surprises that I would encounter would be things that are different between public and private schools.

I hoped that I would learn many things about the students, the teachers, and the parents while observing.  Since my goal was to find out if there was equity between each learning style, I planned to conduct an interview with Ms. Pahye, research the school, and observe.  I looked forward to learning more about the subculture of W.H. Robinson and I wondered what this experience would teach me.

I decided to read about learning styles before I began my fieldwork.  I knew that this would help me know what to look for in the classroom.  Also, it helped me develop interview questions for Ms. Pahye.  The research showed that it is extremely important for teachers to use many different teaching techniques because what works for one student may not work for another.  In order to do this, teachers have to have a well thought out lesson plan (Smutny, 2010.)  Also, I read about the different techniques used when teaching elementary school students to read.  There are many visual, audio, and kinesthetic techniques that teachers should involve in their lesson plans.  If teachers use techniques that apply to each learning style, they will reach many more students than they would if they just used techniques that apply to one learning style (Walpole, 2007.)

I started my fieldwork research by first observing the area that W.H. Robinson was in, the outside of the school, and the people who went in and out of the school.  I decided to do this because I wanted to obtain an outsiders view without having an effect on the school.

The school was a one story brick building, and it was clear that the building had been added onto over the years because parts looked older than others.  I was intrigued by the size of the school because the private school that I attended was fairly small and it contained grades kindergarten through eighth.  When I went to a public high school I was shocked by how large it was and I became lost many times during the first couple of weeks.  I could not imagine being an elementary student and trying to find my way around a school of that size.  I wondered if the students always stayed in one classroom or if the teacher led them around from class to class.

There was a sidewalk that stretched in front of the school and up to the main entrance, which was made of two glass doors.  Beside the sidewalk there were red benches and part of the side walk had a shelter over it.  There were also a couple of trees nearby.  Directly in front the school there was a long stretch of grass with a small amount of parking for visitors by the road, and parking for faculty in a small lot beside the school.  I was disturbed by how little parking space there was.  There were people parked both ways on the sides of the road.  This made me wonder how the parents pick up and drop off their children.  Do they use the street to line up? Does it block traffic? Is there anyone to help the small students in and out of the cars?  Is it safe?  Another thing that disturbed me was the “Drug Free School Zone” sign that was near the street.  I am glad that the school is drug free, but I was also shocked that they would even need to have that sign in front of an elementary school.  I guess part of the shock came from my private school sheltered life, but it made me wonder how many elementary schools are not “drug free.”  I started to think how the students learning would be effected if the school was not “drug-free.”  I thought that it would probably cause a higher level of stress and tension in the classroom which would in return hinder the students’ ability to learn.

While watching, something that surprised me was how many people went in and out of the school during the thirty minutes that I was there.  It seemed as though there was a constant flow of people when I first arrived at 10:45 am.  When I left at 11:15 am it had subsided some, but the school was still very busy.  I am guessing that the vast majority of the guests were parents, but a few, maybe volunteers, looked younger and did not come back out of the school while I was observing.  Some of the parents came in with lunch boxes and book bags while others picked up or dropped off students.  I never thought about how busy an elementary school office must be before I began observing.  I started to think about how often young students forget things and how involved parents are in their school lives.  I wondered if parents had any effect on their child’s learning style.  Are students likely to have the same learning style as their parents?

By this point in my research I already felt like I was beginning to learn more about W.H. Robinson, and I was excited to expand my knowledge on this subject as I continued to conduct fieldwork.

The next time that I visited W.H. Robinson, I decided to enter the school and then observe in Ms. Pahye’s classroom.  I walked up the long sidewalk and through the glass doors.  There was a long and wide hallway that stretched to my right and my left.  I went right, towards the office.  The office was fairly large and had a few women working on paper work and answering phone calls.  They were busy and did not notice me so I decided to sign in. Then I grabbed a “visitor’s pass.” The pass was my artifact from the school.  It was a white sticker with a red apple on it.  It said “visitor” in big blue letters and had a space below to fill in your name.  These passes are very important for the school because it helps them regulate who is inside, which also protects the teachers and students.  It was my ticket to observing in the classroom.

After I was done signing in, I proceeded back into the hallway and walked all the way down to the other end.  I passed the library, the gym, and many wide-eyed and whispering students along the way.  I knew that they were wondering why I was there.  I even heard one boy say, “That girls got braces!” I thought it was funny because it is something that only an elementary school student would say.  Finally, I arrived at Ms. Pahye’s classroom.  It was the very last door on the left.  Her classroom was very bright and colorful.  All of the children stopped, stared in my direction, and then asked Ms. Pahye why I was there.  Some students tried to be discrete about it while others would yell their comments and questions all the way across the room.  I found a seat in the back while Ms. Pahye explained that I was there to watch.  Then she said, “Now get back to work,” and soon after, the children forgot about me and went back to their activities.  There were stations set up around the room that groups of about four or five students would go to when it was the correct time.  This was a perfect example of incorporating every learning style into a lesson.  One station involved a game on the computer, which was kinesthetic.  At another station, Ms. Pahye read aloud with the students, which was audio, and at the third station the students completed worksheets, which was visual.  It was a very busy and slightly chaotic morning, but every student’s needs were being met.  After things quieted down, I started to look around the classroom.  The room was rectangular, with a board at the front and six round tables with small chairs around them.  This was where the students sat.  There was also a large window on the wall opposite from the door and a teacher’s desk in the back corner.  I could see many charts, posters, and pictures on the walls.  I noticed one large calendar for October that had the dates on paper pumpkins. Beside it was a list of the assigned classroom duties, which included door holder, line leader, and other various jobs.  These two things helped the children learn organizational skills and responsibility.  All of the other posters included pictures, classroom rules, and information about writing and math.  They were all very colorful and helped to make the room brighter and more exciting.  In return this helped the students to stay attentive.  The temperature in the room was a little warm and I felt cramped.  The seat that I sat in was made for a second grader, not made for someone who is my size, 5’4”.  The students were all about the same height and they wore navy blue, red, and white uniforms.  Besides the uniforms and size, each student looked unique.  One little girl sat in the back of the classroom close to me, and she kept glancing at me when she thought that I would not notice.  She had very dark hair in long pigtails and looked Asian.  I could tell that she was very girly because she wore small gold earrings, a matching bracelet, and pink socks.  Although she looked at me occasionally, she was a good student.  She was quiet and always did what the teacher asked.  I did not hear her speak until she raised her hand and said, “I need help Ms. Pahye,” while working on an English worksheet.  As soon as Ms. Pahye read the directions to her and explained what to do, she understood immediately.  This made me think that she was an audio learner.

After awhile the students left the classroom to attend music, art, or computer.  I talked to Ms. Pahye a little before I left and realized that she acted much different around the children than she did when we had a one on one conversation.  She wore dress pants, a professional looking blouse, and had short blonde hair.  She looked like she was in her thirties and she knew how to be stern in order to keep the children under control.  When we were talking one on one she no longer used her “teacher voice.”  Instead she was laid back and very easy to talk to.  After we had talked for awhile I thanked her for allowing me to observe, walked to the office to sign out, and left feeling excited about what I had seen.  It was very interesting to me, and I felt glad that I had picked an elementary school for observation.

All of my visits were much like the first one.  The only things that really changed were the subject being taught and the behavior of the students.  Both of these things changed depending on what time of day I observed.  I noticed that in the afternoon the students had more trouble concentrating.  I could feel the restlessness coming from the students.  They had just gotten back in from recess so it was hard for them to sit still.

One afternoon I heard Ms. Payhe, teaching a math lesson.  Throughout the lesson she did a very thorough job of covering every learning style.  The students were learning about number placement in ones, tens, and hundreds columns.  Ms. Pahye would write a number on the overhead projector for the visual learners, say the number for the audio learners, and allow the students to use number blocks for the kinesthetic learners.  She seemed to reach the majority of the students by using these three techniques.  She asked many questions, and talked clearly and loudly so that she could keep the students attention.  I heard the students fidgeting with their counting blocks, and whispering to one another.  Ms. Pahye used phrases like, “I should be the only one speaking,” and “All eyes on me,” when things started to get out of control.

Throughout all of my fieldwork, I noticed a pattern.  Even though I did not have an extraordinary amount of hours of fieldwork, the time that I spent at W.H. Robinson provided me with enough experience to clearly see that each student had their own learning style.  The more extroverted a student was, the easier it was for me to see what their learning style was.  Also, I noticed that some students seemed to have a combination of learning styles.  Ms. Pahye used many different techniques while she was teaching and did a thorough job of helping each student reach their full potential.

During one of my later observations, I conducted an interview with Ms. Pahye.  This provided a lot of insight into what teachers see in the classroom every day.  She said that different children definitely had different learning styles, but this school year she has an even amount of visual, audio, and kinesthetic learners in her class.  However, there have been a few trends that she has noticed over the years.  It seems as though boys usually require more hands on learning while girls usually have audio or visual learning styles.  Also, children often take after one of their parents, and Ms. Pahye has noticed that children who have attention deficit hyperactive disorder need to have hands on activity to help them stay focused.  Also, contrary to my hypothesis, she believes that audio learners do not have an advantage in her classroom.  She thinks that all of the students have equal opportunities to learn no matter what their learning style is.  However, she said visual learners do have a slight advantage when they are taking tests because most tests are paper and pencil (Neuhoff, 2010).

Completing my field work taught me many things about the learning styles of the second graders in Ms. Pahye’s class at W.H. Robinson.  I am very glad that I had this opportunity!  In conclusion, I do not agree with my hypothesis.  Now that I have observed and conducted research, I believe that there is equity for all learning styles.  However, there is a slight advantage for visual learners when taking tests.

Bibliography:

Neuhoff, B. (personal communication with Jessica Pahye, November 15, 2010)

I conducted an interview with Jessica Payhe on November 15, 2010.   She provided valuable information and answered all of my questions thoroughly.  She addressed her reason for teaching, the different learning styles, teaching techniques, and many other things.   The interview helped answer many of the questions that I had after conducting my fieldwork at W.H. Robinson.  She helped me to realize that my hypothesis was incorrect.  In actuality, students, no matter what their learning style, have equal learning opportunities.  However, visual learners have a slight advantage when taking tests because most tests are done with paper and pencil.

 

Bibliography:

Neuhoff, B. (personal communication with Jessica Pahye, November 15, 2010)

 

I conducted an interview with Jessica Payhe on November 15, 2010.   She provided valuable information and answered all of my questions thoroughly.  She addressed her reason for teaching, the different learning styles, teaching techniques, and many other things.   The interview helped answer many of the questions that I had after conducting my fieldwork at W.H. Robinson.  She helped me to realize that my hypothesis was incorrect.  In actuality, students, no matter what their learning style, have equal learning opportunities.  However, visual learners have a slight advantage when taking tests because most tests are done with paper and pencil.

Smutny, Joan. (2010). Differentiating For the Young Child: Teaching Strategies Across the Content Areas, PreK-3. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin.

This book explains how to teach primary age students.  It is directed towards primary school teachers and it informs them of how they can focus on all the different types of learning styles.  It also talks about many other important things such as the students’ learning environment, planning ahead of schedule, and connecting and studying each student to assess their individual needs.

Walpole, S., & McKenna, M,. (2007). Differentiated reading instruction: strategies for the primary grades. New York: The Guilford Press.

This book addresses how important it is to reach every student when teaching them how to read.  In order to do this, teachers need to be well trained use many different techniques.  Not every technique will work for every student.  This book helps teachers, and students who are planning to be teachers, by helping them plan out a well rounded lesson plan that incorporates things that will apply to each and every student.  It is a valuable and dependable source because the authors have talked with many professionals and completed detailed research.  Walpole works in the School of Education at the University of Delaware as the Assistant Professor and McKenna is a Professor of Reading at the University of Virginia.  They are both working to increase the literacy rate by publishing information about reading.

 

 

Writer’s Memo

The Writer’s Memo

To:  Mrs. West-Puckett

From:  Blythe Neuhoff

Date:  December 7, 2010

Re:  MP 2

For my major project two assignment, I conducted fieldwork at W.H. Robinson to observe the students and how they learn.  I wrote this paper in a style that is easily understood by the general public.

Up to this point the writing process has been difficult for me.  It is hard because I have so much information, and I am having trouble deciding what to include and what not to include.  Also, I need to work on the organization of my paper some more.  I know that I have the materials and resources that I need, but I need to figure out how to fit all the information together.

I am happy with the fact that I learned a lot about the three different learning styles, visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.  Also, I feel confident that I have enough information to make the reader feel as if they were at W.H. Robinson conducting the fieldwork themselves.

Next, I want to edit the paper by changing the order of a few things so that it will make more since to the reader.  Right now the paper seems to skip from one subject to the next which makes the paper difficult to understand.  By the end of the paper I want to have a complete, informative, clear, easy-to-read ethnography that includes many vivid descriptions.

For points of focus, as I said before, I need to work on my organization more.  I know that some points in my draft may make since to me, but they do not make since to the reader.  However, I feel that my paper is strong because I stated my thesis, a hypothesis, and my conclusion.  Also, I feel that the style of writing I used is easy to understand for all readers.

Any type of response from my readers is helpful.  It feels good to hear what I have done correct so that I know what I should definitely keep in my paper.  Also, constructive criticism helps because I can not see everything that I need to change.  Sometimes a “fresh pair of eyes” will catch a mistake that I would not have.  I would like to receive the responses through a written response, such as e-mail, or during a conference.

MP 2 Draft 3

Equity for All Learning Styles

Purpose:

For my mini ethnography I decided to focus on equity over the three different learning styles; audio, visual, and kinesthetic.  Throughout my studies I wanted to find out if one learning style has an advantage over the other learning styles.  From my personal experiences, it seems as though teachers use audio learning techniques the most.  Therefore, my hypothesis is that audio learners will have an advantage over kinesthetic and visual learners.  To prove or disprove my hypothesis, I have decided to conduct fieldwork at W.H. Robinson Elementary School in Mrs. Payhe’s second grade classroom.

Necessary Behavior as an Observer:

Before I went into W.H. Robinson to observe I decided that I would need to behave in a certain way in order to receive the information that I need.  By following these guidelines I would be able to observe and learn without intruding on the students.  First and foremost I would need to explain what I am there to do.  I would explain to the teacher that I not only want to observe their subculture, but I want to feel like an insider by the time that I am done with my fieldwork.  To feel like an insider I would need to be respectful of everything the students participate in.  Before I begin to conduct my fieldwork I would need to invent a well thought out plan.  I would need to know exactly what I want to observe, what I want to learn from the experience, what questions I want answered, and who I need to talk to in order to answer those questions.  I would need to keep an open mind throughout the entire experience.  By doing this I would learn more than I would if I had expectations and made assumptions.  If I have certain expectations going into the field work, I may miss out on very discrete but important things within the school.  I would need to become involved though interview and observation.  By talking to some of the people within the subculture I would be able to understand things more clearly.  However, I would need to ask the right questions and then listen in order to receive that answers that I am looking for.  After observing, interview is a very helpful tool, if it is done correctly, because it leads to the first hand feelings and opinions of an insider.  Finally I should record the information clearly and with great detail, including how I feel about certain rituals.  But, I should not make note taking my main focus.  Although it is important, I do not need to become so involved with it that I do not take the time to feel like I am part of the school.  If I become too concerned with taking notes, I may not obtain all of the information that I need.

Thoughts and Feelings:

Before I began my fieldwork, I hoped that I would learn many things about the students, the teachers, and the parents.  I wanted to see how they all interact with each other.  Since my goal was to find out if there was equity between each learning style, I conducted an interview with Ms. Pahye, researched the school, and observed.  I looked forward to learning more about the subculture of W.H. Robinson and I wondered what this experience would teach me.

I was once an elementary student, but I attended a private school.  Therefore my experiences were probably very different from a student who is now at W.H. Robinson Elementary.  However, I learned the basics, such as saying my ABC’s, reading and writing s, and doing simple math problems.  I learned how to interact with other students and teachers, and on some days I really missed my mom and dad.  All of my experiences are things that are happening in the lives of the students at W.H. Robinson.

Although I did not attend a public school, I felt that I would be able to relate to the children in the classrooms, cafeteria, and playground.  I wanted to know how the children felt, what they thought, and how they acted, alone and with others.  I wanted to learn more about specific children’s learning styles.  Then I wanted to see if the teachers focus on all of them when they teach.

I thought that this would be a very interesting subculture to study.  It would be easy in some ways and hard in others.  While children are innocent and honest, they also act differently when something out of the ordinary happens.  I had questions like; will I affect the way the children act if I sit in the classroom during class?  The students may act up and try to show off, or they could act like “perfect little angels” to impress me.  I knew it would be hard in these cases to learn how the children really act.  It turned out that for the first couple of minutes the students acted a little confused, and they all wanted to know why I was observing the class, but after that it was almost as thought they forgot that I was in the room.  Therefore I feel as though my observations were pretty accurate in this sense.  Also, I knew that another difficulty would be learning what kind of learner each student was.  Since they are young, they are probably not aware of what type of learner they are, so the easiest way for me to find out would be to ask the teacher what she thinks.  I ended up consulting Ms. Pahye about the class in general.  She said that this year she feels that her class consists of a fairly equal amount of students from each of the three learning styles (Neuhoff, 2010.)

Insider and Outsider Point of View:

At Robinson I consider myself both an insider and an outsider.  An insider because I was once in elementary school and because I have grown up in Pitt County so I am familiar with the way the Pitt County School Board works.  I am an outsider because I am now a college student, the only public school I have attended was a high school, and because I had never been inside of W.H. Robinson before.

Expectations:

Although I tried to eliminate all assumptions and expectations as I began observing at W.H. Robinson, I knew that some of them would still remain in the back of my mind.  It seemed as if studying a subculture that I knew nothing about would be easier because I would not have had as many preexisting expectations.

Because I was a student myself, I felt as though I already had an idea of what I would learn while conducting field work.  I have sat in an elementary school classroom, listened to the teacher talk, and participated in the activities.  I knew that there would also be some surprises, but I could not imagine what they would be.  The subculture seemed pretty straight-forward, especially because I was working with an elementary school.  I thought that young students would be much easier to understand than middle school or high school students.

Even though I have been an elementary school student, it was many years ago and I attended a private school.  I had a feeling that many of the surprises that I would encounter would be things that are different between public and private schools.  After just one day of observation, I had already noticed some differences between the two.  Also, I knew that I would probably remember many things that I had forgotten.  I looked forward to seeing how my perspective was going to change as I continued to observe.

I now feel that for the most part I was correct.  Learning about an elementary school was pretty straight-forward, but one thing definitely shocked me.  I recently changed my major from nursing to elementary education and I think that conducting fieldwork helped me make my decision.  Although I was an elementary school student, as a fieldworker I gained a new perspective.  I could see all of the students soaking in information, each in their own way, and I decided that I wanted to be a part of that by becoming a teacher.

Research:

I decided to read about learning styles before I began my fieldwork.  I knew that this would help me know what to look for in the classroom.  Also, it helped me develop interview questions for Ms. Pahye.  The research showed that it is extremely important for teachers to use many different teaching techniques because what works for one student may not work for another.  In order to do this, teachers have to have a well thought out lesson plan (Smutny, 2010.)  Also, I read about the different techniques used when teaching elementary school students to read.  There are many visual, audio, and kinesthetic techniques that teachers should involve in their lesson plans.  If teachers use techniques that apply to each learning style, they will reach many more students than they will if they just use techniques that apply to one learning style (Walpole, 2007.)

Fieldwork:

I started my fieldwork research by first observing the area that W.H. Robinson was in, the outside of the school, and the people who went in and out of the school.  I decided to do this because I wanted to obtain an outsiders view without having an effect on the students.

Something that surprised me was how many people went in and out of the school in the thirty minutes that I was there.  It seemed as though there was a constant flow of people when I first arrived 10:45 am.  When I left at 11:15 am it had subsided some, but the school was still very busy.  I am guessing that the vast majority of the guests were parents, but a few, maybe volunteers, looked younger and did not exit the school while I was observing.  Some of the parents came in with lunch boxes and book bags while others picked up or dropped off students.  I never thought about how busy an elementary school office must before I began observing.  I started to think about how often young students forget things and how involved parents are in their school lives.

I was intrigued by the size of the school.   I attended a small private school from the time that I was in kindergarten until I was in eighth grade.  When I went to a public high school I was shocked by how big it was and became lost many times during the first couple of weeks.  I could not imagine being an elementary student and trying to find my way around such a big school!  I wondered if they always stay in the same classroom or if the teacher leads them around when they have to go to a new classroom.  I later found out that when they have art, music, and computer, they walk silently in straight lines with a teacher leading the way.

I was disturbed by how little parking space there was outside.  There were people parked both ways on the sides of the road, there were only a few parking spots for visitors, which were all full when I arrived, and there was a small parking lot for faculty.  I ended up parking in the faculty parking lot because I knew that I would not be there for long, and I needed to be able to see the school clearly in order to be able to make good observations.  While I was thinking about the parking it made me wonder how the parents pick up and drop off their children.  Do they use the street to line ups? Does it block traffic? Is there anyone to help the small students in and out of the cars?  Is it safe?  Another thing that disturbed me was the “Drug Free School Zone” sign that was near the street.  I am glad that the school is drug free, but I was also shocked that they would even need to have that sign in front of an elementary school.  I guess part of the shock came from my private school sheltered life.  It made me wonder how many elementary schools are not “drug free.”

By this point in my research I already felt like I was beginning to learn more about W.H. Robinson.  I was excited to expand my knowledge on this subject as I continued to do fieldwork and conduct other types of research.

When I first went inside W.H. Robinson, I visited the office to sign in.  It was then that I found an artifact from the school.  It was my visitors pass that I was given so that I would be able to walk around the school freely.  The pass was a white sticker with a red apple on it.  It said “visitor” in big blue letters and had a place below to fill in your name.  This is very important for the school because it helps them regulate who is inside, which also protects the teachers and students.

As I sat in the second grade classroom at W.H. Robinson, I recalled memories about my own second grade classroom.  The room was rectangular, with a board at the front and a few round tables with small chairs around them where the students sit.  There was also a large window on the wall opposite from the door and a teacher’s desk in the back corner.  I could see many charts, posters, and pictures on the walls.  I noticed one large calendar for October that had the dates on paper pumpkins. Beside it was a list of the assigned classroom duties, which included door holder, line leader, and other various jobs.  These two things helped the children learn organizational skills and responsibility.  All of the other posters included pictures, classroom rules, and information about writing and math.  They were all very colorful and helped to make the room brighter and more exciting.

The temperature in the room was a little warm and I felt cramped.  The seat that I sat in was made for a second grader, not made for someone who is my size, 5’4”.  I could also feel the restlessness coming from the students.  It was the afternoon and the students had just gotten back in from recess so it was hard for them to sit still.  Ms. Pahye asked many questions and talked clearly and loudly so that she could keep the students attention.

Throughout all of my fieldwork, I noticed a pattern.  Even though I did not have an extraordinary amount of hours of fieldwork, the time that I spent at W.H. Robinson provided me with enough experience to clearly see that each student had their own learning style.  The more extroverted a student was, the easier it was for me to see what their learning style was.  Also, I noticed that some students seemed to have a combination of learning styles.  Ms. Pahye used many different techniques while she was teaching.  During my third session of fieldwork she was teaching a math lesson.  Throughout this lesson she did a very thorough job of covering every learning style.  The students were learning about number placement in ones, tens, and hundreds columns.  Ms. Pahye would write the number on the overhead projector for the visual learners, say the number for the audio learners, and allow the students to use number blocks for the kinesthetic learners.  She seemed to reach the majority of the students by using these three techniques.  The only students that she could not reach were the students that simply would not pay attention.

Interview with Ms. Pahye:

Interviewing Ms. Pahye provided a lot of insight into what teachers see in the classroom every day.  She said that different children definitely had different learning styles.  This school year she said that she has an even amount of visual, audio, and kinesthetic learners in her class.  However, there have been a few trends that she has noticed over the years.  It seems as though boys usually require more hands on learning while girls usually have audio or visual learning styles.  Also, children often take after one of their parents.  Ms. Pahye has noticed that children who have attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) need to have hands-on-activity to help them stay focused.  Also, contrary to my hypothesis, she believes that audio learners do not have an advantage in the classroom.  She believes that all of the students have equal opportunities to learn no matter what their learning style is.  However, visual learners do have a slight advantage when they are taking tests because most tests are paper pencil (Neuhoff, 2010.)

Conclusion:

Completing my field work taught me many things about the learning styles of the second graders in Ms. Pahye’s class at W.H. Robinson.  I am very glad that I had this opportunity, especially because I plan to teach elementary school.  In conclusion, I do not agree with my hypothesis.  Now that I have observed and conducted research, I believe that there is equity for all learning styles in general, and there is a slight advantage for visual learners when taking tests.

Bibliography:

Neuhoff, B. (personal communication with Jessica Pahye, November 15, 2010)

I conducted an interview with Jessica Payhe on November 15, 2010.   She provided valuable information and answered all of my questions thoroughly.  She addressed her reason for teaching, the different learning styles, teaching techniques, and many other things.   The interview helped answer many of the questions that I had after conducting my fieldwork at W.H. Robinson.  She helped me to realize that my hypothesis was incorrect.  In actuality, students, no matter what their learning style, have equal learning opportunities.  However, visual learners have a slight advantage when taking tests because most tests are done with paper and pencil.

Smutny, Joan. (2010). Differentiating For the Young Child: Teaching Strategies Across the Content Areas, PreK-3. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin.

This book explains how to teach primary age students.  It is directed towards primary school teachers and it informs them of how they can focus on all the different types of learning styles.  It also talks about many other important things such as the students’ learning environment, planning ahead of schedule, and connecting and studying each student to assess their individual needs.

Walpole, S., & McKenna, M,. (2007). Differentiated reading instruction: strategies for the primary grades. New York: The Guilford Press.

This book addresses how important it is to reach every student when teaching them how to read.  In order to do this, teachers need to be well trained use many different techniques.  Not every technique will work for every student.  This book helps teachers, and students who are planning to be teachers, by helping them plan out a well rounded lesson plan that incorporates things that will apply to each and every student.  It is a valuable and dependable source because the authors have talked with many professionals and completed detailed research.  Walpole works in the School of Education at the University of Delaware as the Assistant Professor and McKenna is a Professor of Reading at the University of Virginia.  They are both working to increase the literacy rate by publishing information about reading.

Equity for All Learning Styles

For my mini ethnography I decided to focus on the equity over the three different learning styles; audio, visual, and kinesthetic.  Throughout my studies I wanted to find out if one learning style has an advantage over the other learning styles.  From my personal experiences, it seems as though teachers use the audio learning style the most.  Therefore, my hypothesis is that audio learners will have an advantage over kinesthetic and visual learners.  To prove or disprove my hypothesis, I have decided to conduct fieldwork at W.H. Robinson Elementary School in Mrs. Payhe’s second grade class.

Before I went into W.H. Robinson to observe I decided that I would need to behave in a certain way in order to receive the information that I need.  By following these guidelines I would be able to observe and learn without intruding on the students.  First and foremost I would need to explain what I am there to do.  I will explain to the teacher that I not only want to observe their subculture, but I want to feel like an insider by the time that I am done with my fieldwork.  To feel like an insider I would need to be respectful of everything the students participate in.  Before I begin to conduct my fieldwork I would need to invent a well thought out plan.  I would need to know exactly what I want to observe, what I want to learn from the experience, what questions I want answered, and who I need to talk to in order to answer those questions.  I would need to keep an open mind throughout the entire experience.  By doing this I would learn more than I would if I had expectations and made assumptions.  If I have certain expectations going into the field work, I may miss out on very discrete but important things within the school.  I would need to become involved though interview and observation.  By talking to some of the people within the subculture I would be able to understand things more clearly.  However, I would need to ask the right questions and then listen in order to receive that answers that I am looking for.  After observing, interview is a very helpful tool, if it is done correctly, because it leads to the first hand feelings and opinions of an insider.  Finally I should record the information clearly and with great detail, including how I feel about certain rituals, but I should not make note taking my main focus.  Although it is important, I do not need to become so involved with it that I do not take the time to feel like I am part of the school.  If I become too concerned with taking notes, I may not obtain all of the information that I need.

I was once an elementary student, but I attended a private school.  Therefore my experiences were probably very different from a student who is now at W.H. Robinson Elementary.  However, I learned the basics, such as saying my ABC’s, reading and writing small words, and doing simple math problems.  I learned how to interact with other students and teachers, and on some days I really missed my mom and dad.  Each of these are things that are happening every day in the lives of the students at W.H. Robinson.

Although I did not attend a public school, I felt that I would be able to relate to the children in the classrooms, cafeteria, and playground.  I wanted to know how the children felt, what they thought, and how they acted, alone and with others.  I wanted to learn more about specific children’s learning styles.  Then I wanted to see if the teachers applied to all of them when they teach.

I thought that this would be a very interesting subculture to study.  It would be easy in some ways and hard in others.  While children are innocent and honest, they also act differently when something out of the ordinary happens.  I had questions like; will I affect the way the children act if I sit in the classroom during class?  The students may act up and try to show off, or they could act like “perfect little angels” to impress me.  I knew it would be hard in these cases to learn how the children really act.  Also, I knew that another difficulty would be learning what kind of learner each student was.  Since they are young, they are probably not aware of what type of learner they are, so the easiest way for me to find out would be to ask the teacher what she thinks.

At Robinson I consider myself both an insider and an outsider.  An insider because I was once in elementary school and because I have grown up in Pitt County so I am familiar with the way the Pitt County School Board works.  I am an outsider because I am now a college student, I never went to a public elementary or middle school, and I had never been inside of W.H. Robinson before.

I hoped that I would learn many things about the students, the teachers, and the parents, and see how they all interact with each other.  Since my goal was to find out if there was equity between each learning style, I conducted an interview with Ms. Pahye, researched the school, and observed.  I looked forward to learning more about the subculture of W.H. Robinson and I wondered what this experience would teach me.

I started my fieldwork research by first observing the area that W.H. Robinson was in, the outside of the school, and the people who went in and out of the school.  I decided to do this because I wanted to obtain an outsiders view without having an effect on the school before I begin conducting research inside the classrooms.

Something that surprised me was how many people went in and out of the school in the thirty minutes that I was there.  It seemed as though there was a constant flow of people when I first arrived 10:45 am.  When I left at 11:15 am it had subsided some, but the school was still very busy.  I am guessing that the vast majority of the guests were parents, but a few, maybe volunteers, looked younger and did not exit the school while I was observing.  Some of the parents came in with lunch boxes and book bags while others picked up or dropped off students.  I never thought about how busy an elementary school office must before I began observing.  I started to think about how often young students forget things and how involved parents are in their school lives.

I was intrigued by the size of the school.   I attended a small private school from the time that I was in kindergarten until I was in eighth grade.  When I went to a public high school I was shocked by how big it was and became lost many times during the first couple of weeks.  I could not imagine being an elementary student and trying to find my way around such a big school!  I wonder if they always stay in the same classroom or if the teacher leads them around when they have to go to a new classroom.

I was disturbed by how little parking space there was.  There were people parked both ways on the sides of the road, there were only a few parking spots for visitors, which were all full when I arrived, and there was a small parking lot for faculty.  I ended up parking in the faculty parking lot because I knew that I would not be there for long, and I needed to be able to see the school clearly in order to be able to make good observations.  While I was thinking about the parking it made me wonder how the parents pick up and drop off their children.  Do they use the street to line ups? Does it block traffic? Is there anyone to help the small students in and out of the cars?  Is it safe?  Another thing that disturbed me was the “Drug Free School Zone” sign that was near the street.  I am glad that the school is drug free, but I was also shocked that they would even need to have that sign in front of an elementary school.  I guess part of the shock came from my private school sheltered life, but it made me wonder how many elementary schools are not “drug free.”

By this point in my research I already felt like I was beginning to learn more about W.H. Robinson.  I was excited to expand my knowledge on this subject as I continued to do fieldwork and conduct other types of research.

Although I tried to eliminate all assumptions and expectations as I began observing at W.H. Robinson, I knew that some of them would still remain in the back of my mind.  It seemed as if studying a subculture that I knew nothing about would be easier because I would not have as many expectations.

Because I was a student myself, I felt as though I already had an idea of what I would learn while conducting field work.  I have sat in an elementary school classroom, listened to the teacher talk, and participated in the activities.  I knew that there would also be some surprises, but I could imagine what they would be.  The subculture seemed pretty straight-forward, especially because I was working with an elementary school.  I thought that young students would be much easier to understand than middle school or high school students.

Even though I have been an elementary school student, it was many years ago and I attended a private school.  I had a feeling that many of the surprises that I would encounter would be things that are different between public and private schools.  After just one day of observation, I had already noticed some differences between the two.  Also, I knew that I would probably remember many things that I had forgotten.  I looked forward to seeing how my perspective was going to change as I continued to observe.

During one of my observations I sat in the second grade classroom at W.H. Robinson, I recalled memories about my own second grade classroom.  The room was rectangular, with a board at the front and a few round tables with small chairs around them where the students sit.  There was also a large window on the wall opposite from the door and a teacher’s desk in the back corner.  I could see many charts, posters, and pictures on the walls.  I noticed one large calendar for October that had the dates on paper pumpkins. Beside it was a list of the assigned classroom duties, which included door holder, line leader, and other various jobs.  These two things helped the children learn organizational skills and responsibility.  All of the other posters included pictures, classroom rules, and information about writing and math.  They were all very colorful and helped to make the room brighter and more exciting.

The temperature in the room was a little warm and I felt cramped.  The seat that I sat in was made for a second grader, not made for someone who is my size, 5’4”.  I could also feel the restlessness coming from the students.  It was the afternoon and the students had just gotten back in from recess so it was hard for them to sit still.

I heard the teacher, Ms. Payhe, teaching a math lesson.  She asked many questions and talked clearly and loudly so that she could keep the students attention.  I also heard the students fidgeting with their blocks that they were using for the lesson, and whispering to one another.

Interviewing Ms. Payhe provided a lot of insight into what teachers see in the classroom every day.  She said that different children definitely had different learning styles.  This school year she said that she has an even amount of visual, audio, and kinesthetic learners in her class.  However, there have been a few trends that she has noticed over the years.  It seems as though boys usually require more hands on learning while girls usually have audio or visual learning styles.  Also, children often take after one of their parents, and Ms. Pahye has noticed that children who have attention deficit hyperactive disorder need to have hand on activity to help them stay focused.  Also, contrary to my hypothesis, she believes that audio learners do not have an advantage in the classroom.  She believes that all of the students have equal opportunities to learn no matter what their learning style is.  However, visual learners do have a slight advantage when they are taking tests because most tests are paper pencil.

Completing my field work taught me many things about the learning styles of the second graders in Ms. Pahye’s class at W.H. Robinson.  I am very glad that I had this opportunity, especially because I plan to teach elementary school.  In conclusion, I do not agree with my hypothesis.  Now that I have observed and conducted research, I believe that there is equity for all learning styles in general, and there is a slight advantage for visual learners when taking tests.

Walpole, S., & McKenna, M,. (2007). Differentiated reading instruction: strategies for the primary grades. New York: The Guilford Press.

This book addresses how important it is to reach every student when teaching them how to read.  In order to do this, teachers need to be well trained use many different techniques.  Not every technique will work for every student.  This book helps teachers, and students who are planning to be teachers, by helping them plan out a well rounded lesson plan that incorporates things that will apply to each and every student.  It is a valuable and dependable source because the authors have talked with many professionals and completed detailed research.  Walpole works in the School of Education at the University of Delaware as the Assistant Professor and McKenna is a Professor of Reading at the University of Virginia.  They are both working to increase the literacy rate by publishing information about reading.

Smutny, Joan. (2010). Differentiating For the Young Child: Teaching Strategies Across the Content Areas, PreK-3. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin.

This book explains how to teach primary age students.  It is directed towards primary school teachers and it informs them of how they can focus on all the different types of learning styles.  It also talks about many other important things such as the students’ learning environment, planning ahead of schedule, and connecting and studying each student to assess their individual needs.

Special collections was a little intimidating at first, but it was also interesting.  I did not find any information for my MP1 or 2, but I am still glad that I was able to see it.  I think that I will be able to use special collections for projects in the future so I am glad that I know how to use it.  The instructor was helpful because he told us what to expect and how to find things.  The way things were organized on the website, it was a hard to find specific subjects.  The next time that I go up to special collections I will probably ask for help because it is so difficult

Major Project 2 First Draft

Equity for All Learning Styles

For my mini ethnography I decided to focus on the equity over the three different learning styles; audio, visual, and kinesthetic.  Throughout my studies I wanted to find out if one learning style has an advantage over the other learning styles.  From my personal experiences, it seems as though teachers use the audio learning style the most.  Therefore, my hypothesis is that audio learners will have an advantage over kinesthetic and visual learners.  To prove or disprove my hypothesis, I have decided to conduct fieldwork at W.H. Robinson Elementary School in Mrs. Payhe’s second grade class.

Before I went into W.H. Robinson to observe I decided that I would need to behave in a certain way in order to receive the information that I need.  By following these guidelines I would be able to observe and learn without intruding on the students.  First and foremost I would need to explain what I am there to do.  I will explain to the teacher that I not only want to observe their subculture, but I want to feel like an insider by the time that I am done with my fieldwork.  To feel like an insider I would need to be respectful of everything the students participate in.  Before I begin to conduct my fieldwork I would need to invent a well thought out plan.  I would need to know exactly what I want to observe, what I want to learn from the experience, what questions I want answered, and who I need to talk to in order to answer those questions.  I would need to keep an open mind throughout the entire experience.  By doing this I would learn more than I would if I had expectations and made assumptions.  If I have certain expectations going into the field work, I may miss out on very discrete but important things within the school.  I would need to become involved though interview and observation.  By talking to some of the people within the subculture I would be able to understand things more clearly.  However, I would need to ask the right questions and then listen in order to receive that answers that I am looking for.  After observing, interview is a very helpful tool, if it is done correctly, because it leads to the first hand feelings and opinions of an insider.  Finally I should record the information clearly and with great detail, including how I feel about certain rituals, but I should not make note taking my main focus.  Although it is important, I do not need to become so involved with it that I do not take the time to feel like I am part of the school.  If I become too concerned with taking notes, I may not obtain all of the information that I need.

I was once an elementary student, but I attended a private school.  Therefore my experiences were probably very different from a student who is now at W.H. Robinson Elementary.  However, I learned the basics, such as saying my ABC’s, reading and writing small words, and doing simple math problems.  I learned how to interact with other students and teachers, and on some days I really missed my mom and dad.  Each of these are things that are happening every day in the lives of the students at W.H. Robinson.

Although I did not attend a public school, I felt that I would be able to relate to the children in the classrooms, cafeteria, and playground.  I wanted to know how the children felt, what they thought, and how they acted, alone and with others.  I wanted to learn more about specific children’s learning styles.  Then I wanted to see if the teachers applied to all of them when they teach.

I thought that this would be a very interesting subculture to study.  It would be easy in some ways and hard in others.  While children are innocent and honest, they also act differently when something out of the ordinary happens.  I had questions like; will I affect the way the children act if I sit in the classroom during class?  The students may act up and try to show off, or they could act like “perfect little angels” to impress me.  I knew it would be hard in these cases to learn how the children really act.  Also, I knew that another difficulty would be learning what kind of learner each student was.  Since they are young, they are probably not aware of what type of learner they are, so the easiest way for me to find out would be to ask the teacher what she thinks.

At Robinson I consider myself both an insider and an outsider.  An insider because I was once in elementary school and because I have grown up in Pitt County so I am familiar with the way the Pitt County School Board works.  I am an outsider because I am now a college student, I never went to a public elementary or middle school, and I had never been inside of W.H. Robinson before.

I hoped that I would learn many things about the students, the teachers, and the parents, and see how they all interact with each other.  Since my goal was to find out if there was equity between each learning style, I conducted an interview with Ms. Pahye, researched the school, and observed.  I looked forward to learning more about the subculture of W.H. Robinson and I wondered what this experience would teach me.

I started my fieldwork research by first observing the area that W.H. Robinson was in, the outside of the school, and the people who went in and out of the school.  I decided to do this because I wanted to obtain an outsiders view without having an effect on the school before I begin conducting research inside the classrooms.

Something that surprised me was how many people went in and out of the school in the thirty minutes that I was there.  It seemed as though there was a constant flow of people when I first arrived 10:45 am.  When I left at 11:15 am it had subsided some, but the school was still very busy.  I am guessing that the vast majority of the guests were parents, but a few, maybe volunteers, looked younger and did not exit the school while I was observing.  Some of the parents came in with lunch boxes and book bags while others picked up or dropped off students.  I never thought about how busy an elementary school office must before I began observing.  I started to think about how often young students forget things and how involved parents are in their school lives.

I was intrigued by the size of the school.   I attended a small private school from the time that I was in kindergarten until I was in eighth grade.  When I went to a public high school I was shocked by how big it was and became lost many times during the first couple of weeks.  I could not imagine being an elementary student and trying to find my way around such a big school!  I wonder if they always stay in the same classroom or if the teacher leads them around when they have to go to a new classroom.

I was disturbed by how little parking space there was.  There were people parked both ways on the sides of the road, there were only a few parking spots for visitors, which were all full when I arrived, and there was a small parking lot for faculty.  I ended up parking in the faculty parking lot because I knew that I would not be there for long, and I needed to be able to see the school clearly in order to be able to make good observations.  While I was thinking about the parking it made me wonder how the parents pick up and drop off their children.  Do they use the street to line ups? Does it block traffic? Is there anyone to help the small students in and out of the cars?  Is it safe?  Another thing that disturbed me was the “Drug Free School Zone” sign that was near the street.  I am glad that the school is drug free, but I was also shocked that they would even need to have that sign in front of an elementary school.  I guess part of the shock came from my private school sheltered life, but it made me wonder how many elementary schools are not “drug free.”

By this point in my research I already felt like I was beginning to learn more about W.H. Robinson.  I was excited to expand my knowledge on this subject as I continued to do fieldwork and conduct other types of research.

Although I tried to eliminate all assumptions and expectations as I began observing at W.H. Robinson, I knew that some of them would still remain in the back of my mind.  It seemed as if studying a subculture that I knew nothing about would be easier because I would not have as many expectations.

Because I was a student myself, I felt as though I already had an idea of what I would learn while conducting field work.  I have sat in an elementary school classroom, listened to the teacher talk, and participated in the activities.  I knew that there would also be some surprises, but I could imagine what they would be.  The subculture seemed pretty straight-forward, especially because I was working with an elementary school.  I thought that young students would be much easier to understand than middle school or high school students.

Even though I have been an elementary school student, it was many years ago and I attended a private school.  I had a feeling that many of the surprises that I would encounter would be things that are different between public and private schools.  After just one day of observation, I had already noticed some differences between the two.  Also, I knew that I would probably remember many things that I had forgotten.  I looked forward to seeing how my perspective was going to change as I continued to observe.

During one of my observations I sat in the second grade classroom at W.H. Robinson, I recalled memories about my own second grade classroom.  The room was rectangular, with a board at the front and a few round tables with small chairs around them where the students sit.  There was also a large window on the wall opposite from the door and a teacher’s desk in the back corner.  I could see many charts, posters, and pictures on the walls.  I noticed one large calendar for October that had the dates on paper pumpkins. Beside it was a list of the assigned classroom duties, which included door holder, line leader, and other various jobs.  These two things helped the children learn organizational skills and responsibility.  All of the other posters included pictures, classroom rules, and information about writing and math.  They were all very colorful and helped to make the room brighter and more exciting.

The temperature in the room was a little warm and I felt cramped.  The seat that I sat in was made for a second grader, not made for someone who is my size, 5’4”.  I could also feel the restlessness coming from the students.  It was the afternoon and the students had just gotten back in from recess so it was hard for them to sit still.

I heard the teacher, Ms. Payhe, teaching a math lesson.  She asked many questions and talked clearly and loudly so that she could keep the students attention.  I also heard the students fidgeting with their blocks that they were using for the lesson, and whispering to one another.

Interviewing Ms. Payhe provided a lot of insight into what teachers see in the classroom every day.  She said that different children definitely had different learning styles.  This school year she said that she has an even amount of visual, audio, and kinesthetic learners in her class.  However, there have been a few trends that she has noticed over the years.  It seems as though boys usually require more hands on learning while girls usually have audio or visual learning styles.  Also, children often take after one of their parents, and Ms. Pahye has noticed that children who have attention deficit hyperactive disorder need to have hand on activity to help them stay focused.  Also, contrary to my hypothesis, she believes that audio learners do not have an advantage in the classroom.  She believes that all of the students have equal opportunities to learn no matter what their learning style is.  However, visual learners do have a slight advantage when they are taking tests because most tests are paper pencil.

Completing my field work taught me many things about the learning styles of the second graders in Ms. Pahye’s class at W.H. Robinson.  I am very glad that I had this opportunity, especially because I plan to teach elementary school.  In conclusion, I do not agree with my hypothesis.  Now that I have observed and conducted research, I believe that there is equity for all learning styles in general, and there is a slight advantage for visual learners when taking tests.