This past Tuesday I was able to go back to Scoil Bride for my 9th time and I observed a phonics lesson taught by my teacher. This was the first time I had witnessed a phonics lesson because I normally go to the school on Wednesdays, which allows me to witness math, reading and Gaelic instruction, which is the Irish language. The phonics lesson started with my teacher going over a familiar sound, “aw”. She first wrote the sound on the board and asked the class to raise their hands if they knew how to say this sound. One student raised their hand and answered her question correctly. My teacher then went on with the lesson by explaining that this one sound could be written in three different ways, “a”, “aw” and “al”. My teacher asked the class to take a minute and think of example words that could be put into these three categories for the sound “aw”. One by one students raised their hands and contributed example words like “hawk”, “all”, “walk” and more. As each student contributed a word, my teacher repeated the word and stated why a word belonged in a certain category. After about 10 minutes of students contributing example words, my teacher thanked all the students for their words and then asked the students to get out their phonics notebooks. This was a common aspect of the lesson, so the students understood that this meant opening their notebooks to the next available page, creating three lined columns and waiting for a new list of words to be written on the board. Once this new list of words was written on the board, the students would then separate the words into the three different sounds, “a”, “aw” and “al”. My teacher wrote 10 words on the board utilizing all three sound types and the students set off to work on categorizing the ten words into the proper column. I was amazed at how fast these students were able to get focused and start working on the task at hand, but this most likely due to the fact that it is the last week in April and they have been doing phonics since the beginning of the year. My teacher and I circulated the classroom looking over the student’s shoulders to make sure students were working on the assignment and that they were not in need of any help. After another 10 minutes, my teacher reminded the students that once they were done with categorizing the words, they were to use 4 of the words in a sentence and while they did so, they should try to incorporate some examples of adjectives. Unsurprisingly, this assignment was easier for some students than others, so after students had finished both the categorization of words and their four sentences, they were then instructed to read a book silently. I am not sure if I have mentioned this in my first post but my class has many learning disabilities, mainly dyslexia, so though I would describe my students as fairly bright for first grade, some assignments can prove to be frustrating and more time consuming for some of the students. My teacher is very good about circulating around the students that might need a little more attention when lessons involve potentially confusing concepts like similar sounds in different words. My teacher has a very strong sense of pacing for her students; in fact I would say one of her strengths is tapping into when students are struggling with concepts or when they are breezing through another concept. I have enjoyed watching her teach lessons because she seems to really understand her students and though learning disabilities can add some road blocks in a lesson, she rolls with the pauses and confusion from her students very gracefully. I hope to emulate that sort of understanding of my student’s needs in my next practicum in the fall. One thing I have struggled with in the past is pacing during a lesson, so I am hoping to work on that next semester!