Child Study project

A systematic study of one child
Ideas and hypothesis developed from my own observation within the context of the school (limited by tasks, requirements, materials, etc)
Building theory about the child, but based on personal observation:
Human behavior makes sense; human behavior is readable, we can get an idea about human behavior by observation and analysis
1. children bring strengths and interests to school
2. these strengths and interests are of value to the educational process of that child (enabling through facilitation and constructive use of these strengths and interests)
3. observation is an ethic, habit, discipline; it improves with practice

Why do a Child Study?
It's satisfying to get to know a child well as a learner
Develop the skills to know children as learners

Observation: Noticing, alert, know what to look for, have intention in what you are observing
Description: Catalog the events in order to look at your record
Interpretation: What does it mean? What is it telling me?

Jordan: "Carl"
Descriptive words and phrases that are evocative and help you see the child clearly:
"competing with Mary"
"lumbering with fake Cheetah claws"
"they make eye contact"
Description of Carl in the marble game: as a leader, he phrases things as "we"-- "We're building this..."

Follows directions easily
"For a good deal of time, he will make eye contact with the teacher"
"Characterize that as what a student is "is supposed to do"
"Smile and be proud of himself" when he draws and finishes something, intent on doing a good job, expresses that he knows something already, self-affirmation, pride in getting affirmation from a parent
"When he smiles it feels like a genuine smile"
"Expressive face"
"Instinct for leadership"
Leadership in a community sense, taking charge of the communal action
Does well when given a mission

What more can be learned about the child that could be learned from observation?
Observing the child when he's not engaged with the teacher

Laliv "Bono"
Descriptive words
Based on student's work: his favorite things
Will be 9 in October? Youngest of 3, brother and sister quite a bit older, mother works in synagogue
Didn't notice a change in level of participation based on kind of activity (group versus whole group)
Loud and clear tone, sits straight up
Raises his hand, but takes it back down (Interpretation: he is trying to take back
Yawns a lot, is tired a lot, (Based on his answer: I'm tired, I was up late watching sports)
He doesn't need reminders (I don't know if this is descriptive or interpretive)
He will speak up if he doesn't think something isn't true (based on his action once? twice?)

Active participant = will usually raise his hand, and not (?) wait to be called on
Good student, strong ability to catch on problems?
Mature, which is an assumption, but based on how he grasps problems
Shows more emotions during singing time (based on more physical gestures)

What can you learn more by observation:
I wonder what can be learned by asking him about how he feels about tefillah and singing, etc?

Robyn "T"
Works with an OT because of his problems writing letters
He participates, raises his hand
Some adults say he mumbles when he talks
We put on music during class, and he started dancing
Can't tell who he's homies with
He will tell you he is sad, but won't tell you what's bothering him
Was playing cards with two girls Robyn has never seen him talk to before
wrote costume as "CZTM"
has a large napsack that he shoves into his locker

He's quiet but not shy
He talks matter-of-factly "I don't know why she always takes things from me" about his sister
He likes interactions with adults
Pretty happy-go-lucky child

Child Study notes 10/20

Descriptive words/phrases:
4th grade boy; Wears athletic pants every day (uncomfortable in a polo shirt even!); claims that he is "all irish"
Gestures: he's a fidgeter, always playing with something in his hands, raises his hand so it's pulling out of his shoulder; strolls, laid-back; facial expression is an "empty stare"
Always offering to help; getting people to notice him by making "yes" "no" and "maybe" cards.

Interpretations that need support:
  • Guarded with his feelings (is he like this with his friends?);
  • Great example for pride in his schoolwork; proud that he's a good student/good role model (great support: example of willingness to help first grade buddies)

  • How is he laid back in his movements and fidgety? Is there a clear transition from fidgety to laid back? Is it dependent on the setting? "I don't think he likes sitting still" yet he's relaxed in his movements? I'm wondering how this plays out? I'm having a hard time visualizing this.
  • Connection between wanting to be liked by teachers and friends: how does his actions in the academic setting (not wanting to rock the boat) indicate that he wants to be liked?
  • A certain group of kids will get him off-track: what specific sequence of events led you to to think that the friends are getting him off-track?

What words does she use when she gets "stuck" on something?

Jessica: "S" girl, 1st grade, SSDS
  • Description: when working with math partner, language used: "Mmm, you have to do this"
  • Strength - math
    • Math warm-ups, she 'buzzes' through them Working with new partner: laughing, giggling, engaged and focusing on the math, uncharacteristic of her, communicating with new partner, helping her rather than telling her what to do.
  • Strength - gym/recess: physical confidence level "Coming out of her shell" in gym, more outgoing, looks more confident, moves around with confidence
  • Vulnerability - answering: in shrugs, "I don't know"
  • Questions:
    • How is she academically?
    • Comprehension: can answer questions about the whole story, but not about one passage.
    • Story comprehension, needs prompts, rereading.
    • Articulating/speech: Swallows her S's, lacks flow
    • Reading: Wasn't able to infer shadows as meaning people, wasn't able to process story, characters
    • Accidents with bathroom - related to academics?
    • One of triplets: she is the only one in the class, the other two are strong readers and speakers

Lea: Ashley, 3rd grade girl
  • Strengths: concrete math, really excited to do math drills
    • writing assignments, especially stories, includes twists of her own life or real life as inspiration
    • interests: chooses drawing over writing when there's a choice
    • strives to do her best, do it right, always has to check in to make sure it's right
    • interests: historical elements to novels/stories
  • Weakness:
    • story comprehension: reading aloud, she has good comprehension, reads grade-level appropriate books, yet had difficulty comprehending the story about Jackie Robinson.
    • pre-reading work
    • math: knows the algorithms, but not with hands-on, real-world problems
  • Questions:
    • Reading comprehension: how to help her cope with not always having everything come easily to her