In all, Figure 4 shows a calculation of 64% accuracy rate for correct answers given in his small reading group. I could tell that Michael felt like he was on a roll, and he made a surprising request that none of his peers groaned about. “Can we finish by ourselves? ” The teacher gave consent for the class to finish independently, and they did. As an added bonus, the reading specialist shared an entire sheet of heart stickers made by her husband to celebrate Valentine’s Day early. Michael happily received his reward while trying to estimate the total stickers on the sheet (see Figure 5).
When he saw the red heart, he stated, “I don’t want the heart to camouflage on my red sweater. ” Therefore, Michael placed the heart on his white collar (see Figure 6). Although Michael’s attention varied in reading, he had a 100% attention span in the other areas of observation. For example, during the three Art periods, the introduction to the Freedom Quilt Blocks was new content that challenged his thinking. After giving the instructions on how to complete the worksheet pages, the first example of modeling a small block and replicating it on the bigger block stumped him.
Michael turned to his peer and asked, “What shapes do we color? ” After the peer assisted him, he understood the exercise and how to address each block, which didn’t seem as perplexing as when he started. Though seeing the different patterns as he turned the pages initially confused Michael, I could clearly notice his piercing stares at the models, followed by a consistent demonstration of spatial intelligence as he moved through the packet, matching the designs. Figure 7 shows how he proceeded with caution, marking the correct shapes before coloring.
However, once Michael found his rhythm, he comfortably used his own patterns of colors to complete the work, rather than turning to his peer’s page. He switched between red and black markers for the first block. For the second block, he combined his knowledge of the Elements of Art and used primary and secondary colors for the next model (see Figure 8 and Figure 9). To combine mathematical concepts, one model had eight black triangles, with two triangles in each. When I questioned the class about the total number of shapes to color, Michael raised his hand and answered, “16!
The class ended with a series of correct answers, beautifully crafted patterns, and willingness to help clean-up the working spaces before his teacher arrived. By constructing an Art project to help improve spatial thinking skills, the way Michael demonstrated a concept of mathematical reasoning helps segue into my experience with him in the after school program. The 55 minutes we collaborated one-on-one gave me a closer perspective on cognition and language, by working on math and grammar. When I asked Michael to take out his homework, he was organized and turned to his weekly assignment outline.
The grammar on page 154 in his Voyages book was fairly simple, with one incorrect answer on how to form a contraction from “I am. ” First, Michael wrote, “I’s. ” When I prompted him to rethink his answer, he wrote, “Im’s. ” With one more attempt to help him talk through the question, I watched Michael figure out, “I am” becomes “I’m. ” Yet, it was during pages 247 and 248 in his math book that I made crucial observations regarding Michael’s cognitive development. He successfully answered the question about fact families by counting on his fingers, looking up, resting his hands on his chin, nd shaking his pencil before writing.
When he reached the two questions about taking apart numbers, he searched for his close friend in the after school program. “Hey, Taj! How do we do this again? ” Taj responded by saying, “Remember, you have to… ” With that guidance, Michael quickly and successfully answered both questions, as shown in Figure 10. When he turned the page, he stared at the problems, and called his friend again to give him a boost on regrouping. For number five, he thought subtracting eight from twelve equaled five. When corrected, he thought the answer was six. After another attempt, he correctly guessed four.
For numbers six and seven, I was glad to see Michael complete the work as mental math first; and then, he showed his work. On question eight, Michael counted on his fingers two times before being confident enough to write the answer. His friend’s presence and affirmation, combined with my praise, gave him confidence to continue. Yet, when he reached number 10, the question puzzled him again. At this point, Taj’s approach anged in assisting Michael. When it came time to subtract, he said, “The answer is Tamika’s line number.
With that clue, Michael blurted, “7! When Taj realized that tactic worked for his friend, he started to give several clues based on their classmates’ line numbers, and Michael guessed the numbers correctly. Michael’s ability to solve the questions was not because he had the proper reasoning or used appropriate problem-solving techniques. It was due to him having a point of reference, which is the system established by his teacher to identify his peers. I allowed Taj to prompt Michael for a couple of times, simply to calculate Michael’s memory and recall skills, howing 100% accuracy in knowing the line numbers of his friends.
After he demonstrated enough knowledge to include in my observation, I asked Taj to allow Michael to continue working without the hints regarding his class structure. After refocusing on using appropriate problem-solving strategies, Figure 11 shows all correct answers for the homework he collaborated on with his friend. Finally, with all of the fixed sessions of observations, I had the opportunity to observe Michael in free play for four lunch periods, exhibiting positive interactions with his peers.
However, there was a clear distinction between Michael’s expectation of his peers and the expectations he had for adults during his unstructured and recreational time. Though Michael relies on peers for instructional guidance, he turns to adults for intervention to help with conflict resolution with peers. His reasoning to involve a grown-up to assert power occurs when a matter affects him directly or indirectly. For example, on Feb. 13, 2017, Michael reported two situations. In the first scenario, he reported that another student teased his friend.
By his emotional disposition, one would think the infraction was committed towards Michael. The second scenario was livelier. While eating lunch, approximately five children started a great discussion about tomatoes. Eventually, the group was split between the students who thought tomatoes are a fruit, and those who argued tomatoes are vegetables. Michael approached me and said, “Ms. Vicky, can you google it and let us know? ” It was apparent that he exhibited reasoning and problem-solving techniques to come to me and request that I use technology as a means to settle the atter with his peers.
In closing, I will use Michael’s favorite recreational activity, basketball, as an analogy to summarize his development. I noticed a lot of growth in academic areas and personal successes for Michael that resulted from his peers giving him assistance in completing tasks. In basketball, an assist happens when one player receives the ball from another player and scores points. All players in the sports arena have varying skill levels; and, all individuals are working together for the betterment of the team to build impressive statistics for their areers.
Similarly, details in my findings show that I observed Michael surrounding himself with peers that positively advance his development. His circle of influence ignites a passion to learn, stirs an adventurous desire to use apps on their technological devices each Friday in the after school program, and motivates engaging dialogues to create opportunities to seek knowledge. So, Taj helping him finish his math homework is one example of when Michael gives his friends fist bumps, a youthful way to show that they are, “in it to win it. “