Beverly Gardens Visit

02.29.2012Today my Literacy class went on a field trip to Beverly Gardens, which is an elementary school in Mad River. We went here to observe some literacy specialist teachers as well as regular Language Arts teachers in order to see some of the strategies they implement into their classroom. I instantly fell in love with this school. First of all, as soon as you walk through the doors, you are surrounded by colors. There is a huge tree made from construction paper and other materials that reaches all the way up to the ceiling, in the lobby. Then, hanging from the ceiling are huge signs that say “we believe in...”, “respect”, “integrity”, et cetera and they are each designed differently and in a different, vibrant color. It is just a really happy looking place. Then, observing the teachers work with the students is amazing. The first room I was in was filled with struggling 1st grade readers and the literacy specialist. She knew exactly how to engage the students in their reading as well as help them figure out difficult words on their own. Also, she was constantly helping them to make connections to the book through their personal lives or through things they have discussed previously in the classroom. The second group I observed was 3rd graders in a regular classroom. This was quite a difference, because they were reading in partners and answering questions. The teacher was more of a facilitator and would only walk around to make sure that they were on task. Sometimes she would ask groups certain questions to help spark their interest in the book as well as get them back on track with what they should be doing. One thing I really liked about this school is that every student goes to reading time. I like that idea, because a lot of the time, only struggling readers are asked to go to reading groups, which sometimes makes them feel like it is a punishment. But here, every student attends and wants to attend, no matter what reading level they are. Also, each student wants to improve. Beverly Gardens uses the A-Z reading program, which many schools use to help their students’ progress slowly to a more difficult reading level. The school keeps a literacy storage room filled with all materials that may be needed for this program, in a super organized manner. I would love to go back to Beverly Gardens, and if I’m lucky, maybe I’ll get to student teach there someday.