VSU West Hall
Mindy Farinholt
Contextual Factors
The teacher uses information about the learning-teaching context and 
student individual difference to set learning goals and plan instruction and assessment.

Discuss relevant factors and how they may affect the teaching-learning process. Include any supports and challenges that affect instruction and student learning.

Resources for Contextual Factors


I. Community, School System, School Factors

Geographic Location


List unique features of community: 

  • Cook County has a population of approximately 15,900 residents. 
  • Cook Elementary/Primary School currently houses two schools in one building.
  • Cook County is in the process of planning and building a new elementary school for grades 3-5.
  • Adel is approximately 40 miles from the Georgia-Florida border.
  • Cook County was named after General Philip Cook, who fought in the Seminole and Civil Wars.
  • Cook County was the 153rd county formed in Georgia.
  • The city of Adel's name is derived from the center letters of Philadelphia.
  • Cook County has one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school.
  • The students that attend Cook County schools reside in the cities of Adel, Sparks, Cecil, Hahira, and Lenox.
List contributions of community to school: 
  • Partners in Education
  • Active PTO
  • The students/teachers are collecting receipts from Harvey's grocery store.  The collection of these receipts helps to raise money for school materials and resources.
  • Cook County High School students come into the classroom to tutor students in reading.  The program is titled BEAR (Berry Excited About Reading).
  • Cook County High School students participate in the Teacher Cadet program.
  • Community clubs such as:  Kiwanis Club, Lions Club, Exchange Club, and the Sunshine Committee help to provide field trips and financial assistance to the schools.
School System 
Name of school system:  Cook County

3,256 Number of students in school system

1,881 Number of students in school system on free or reduced lunch

Name of school:  Cook County Elementary 

Grades served:  PK-5

Student enrollment:  1,643

II. Classroom Characteristics

Number of Students 

14 Boys  14 Girls

9-11  Age range

Ethnicity (number)
9    African American
0    Asian American
0    Native American
1    Hispanic
18  Caucasian
0    Other
Socio-Economic Profile (percentage)
  • 75%  Students in classroom on free or reduced lunch
Reading Achievement (percentage)
  • 25%  Above-average or advanced skill level
  • 74%  Average or intermediate skill level
  • 1%    Below average skill level
Based on: 
  • CRCT Test Results
Mathematics Achievement (percentage)
  • 14%  Above-average or advanced skill level
  • 72%  Average or intermediate skill level
  • 14%  Below average skill level
Based on: 
  • CRCT Test Results
Classroom Organization 
  • Heterogeneous
  • Team Teaching
  • Parallel Block
Other programs:
  • Television
  • Classroom library
  • 6  Number of computers in classroom
List other resources (such as math and science manipulative materials): 
  • Cuisenaire Rods
  • Base Ten Blocks
  • Money
  • Counters
  • Pattern Blocks
Parental Involvement 
  • School website
  • 1%  Average of parents attending Parent Teacher Organization
III. Individual Differences

Students Attending Pull-Out or Supplementary Programs (check as many as apply)

__  Title I
__  Reading
__  Gifted
__  Early Intervention Program
__  Safety Net

List other programs: 

  • Students are grouped by ability.  Group A1 students are EIP (14 students).  The majority of A1 students are at or below in skill level.  Group A5 students are average or above average in skill level.
Language Proficiency (enter number for each area)
27  English Language
1    Bilingual
0    Other Language
Students with Individual Education Plans (IEP) (enter number for each area)
  Blind or visually impaired
  Deaf or hearing impaired
  Developmentally delayed
  Emotionally or behaviorally disordered
  Learning disabled
  Physically disabled
IV. Instructional Implications
  • The contextual factors that I have collected impact the classroom environment tremendously.  During my planning for instruction and assessment, I will take into account the various factors that affect my students.  At the present time, Cook Elementary currently houses two schools in one building.  Due to this factor, my classroom contains twenty-eight students.  At times it becomes difficult to hold whole group instruction or discussions.
  • My fourth grade students' schedule is based on a parallel block system.  The students' group patterns are based on their CRCT test results.  Group 1 contains those students that are below grade level (14 students).  Group 5 contains those students that are at or above grade level (14 students).  For first period, Group 5 goes to Social Studies while Group 1 stays with my mentor teacher for Language Arts.  During fourth period, Group 5 has Language Arts while Group 1 goes to Social Studies.  During fifth and sixth period, while Group 5 is at Science Group 1 is at Math, then vice versa.  The parallel block system is an advantage in teaching my unit.  It will effect how I plan both my instruction and my assessments.  I will have to adjust my plans for those students who need further instruction and also for those who need more challenging material.  Lastly, working with the small groups will allow me to give the students more one-on-one instruction when necessary.
  • I have a vast amount of resources available within the classroom to assist me in the teaching of my unit.  I will try to incorporate the use of manipulatives within my unit as often as possible.  Many of my students are kinesthetic and tactile learners, therefore, the implementation of manipulatives and hands-on activities will be vital to their success throughout the unit.
  • Some of my students are currently performing below grade level in Mathematics.  This fact in particular presents a challenge to me in the planning for instruction and assessment of my unit.  I may need to modify my instruction for these students if necessary.  I am going to use a variety of hands-on activities to actively engage my students so that they will enjoy learning about problem solving.  Therefore, through my modifications and activities I hope to sufficiently prepare my students for the upcoming CRCT test later this spring.
  • My students exhibit limited previous learning about problem solving, however, some of my students are relatively good problem solvers.  Based upon this fact, I will have to modify my instruction for those students who may need further remediation and also challenge those students who excel throughout my unit.  By paying careful attention to these factors during my planning for instruction and assessment, I believe that my students will become experienced and confident in problem solving.


The How To Pages
Teacher Work Sample Rubric
Teacher Work Sample Resources
To Print: Teacher Work Sample Document
Glossary of Terms for the Teacher Work Sample
[Teacher Work Sample Home] [Back]

Department of Early Childhood and Reading Education