Jenny Kraft’s 5th-grade classroom at Whittier International Elementary School - 4 hours

Though I was unable to spend more hours at Spectrum due to my supervisor being ill, I had an interesting couple days at Whittier.

On Monday, the students had a substitute teacher and a lesson with a student teacher. This became the perfect recipe for an overwhelming and unusually poorly behaved classroom. I felt powerless in the face of the chaos, and could only do my best to maintain peace between a couple students at a time. The hostility young students feel towards substitute teachers is unprecedented, but I suspect they are offended by an authority figure disrupting the structure they dutifully follow on an average day with Ms. Kraft. They seem flabbergasted when a substitute doesn't know about the procedures of morning meeting, and are appalled when components of the structure are removed or altered due to classroom behavior or time constraints. I believe that students of this age may be starting to feel that adults should earn their respect, so any mistake committed by a temporary teacher is unforgivable. It also seems that they are not yet able to process shifts instability in an environment they trust to be predictable, so they respond with anger and outbursts.

Friday was much calmer, the classroom returned to a state of perfect tranquility upon the arrival of Ms. Kraft. I spent part of the morning with the art ambassadors as they prepared to begin their photography project. Four of the students experimented more with taking photos on the iPads, and the rest began work on making fun backdrops for the “portable studio.” I was able to figure out a more efficient method of saving the photographs and show a couple of interested students how one might edit photos on the computer using Adobe Photoshop. The students were equally delighted by the magic of digital photo editing, and by my collection of laptop stickers.

One of the art ambassadors (who happens to be in Ms. Kraft’s class) happens to be very interested in photography. Her partner and her created some very thoughtful and well composed photos of each other. I know they will be delighted to see the photos printed out!