EDU 6139: E1 – Exemplify Professional-Informed, Growth-Centered Practice

E1 – Exemplify professional-informed, growth-centered practice. This program standard emphasizes teachers developing reflective, collaborative, and professional growth-centered practices through feedback and reflection. As a new teacher, one of the areas I must become more familiar with is teacher evaluations or TPEP. This involves understanding how teachers are evaluated and what scale is it based upon. Knowledge of the framework in which the school uses for evaluations will help me to be better prepared for observations. In addition to being better prepared for observations, striving to be proficient or distinguished in general will improve my overall teaching practices. The evidence presented is part of the rubric for the Danielson framework which was being implemented at my student teaching site. I specifically chose criterion 5: fostering and managing a safe, positive learning environment – 2a: creating an environment of respect and rapport.

Danielson Criteron 5

This evidence demonstrates a specific area of the Danielson framework which I put forth extra attention towards during my student teaching. The classroom I had was rather challenging at times and I know that it is my responsibility as a teacher to creating a safe and positive learning environment. Reviewing the framework helped me understand what proficient and distinguished teachers achieve in order to create a safe and positive learning environment. For example, a distinguished teacher would respond to a student’s incorrect response with respect for the student’s dignity. Sometimes, simple things like how we respond to students can be overlooked and even cause students to become reluctant in sharing their answers for the fear of being wrong. Students should feel safe and comfortable enough to ask any questions or share their thinking regardless of how incorrect their response may be. What I learned from reviewing the Danielson rubrics was that I became more familiar with what makes a particular teacher proficient or distinguished. I was able to see the specific qualifications and attributes which these teachers possess. This gave me something to strive for as I begin my teaching career. As a new teacher, I hope to continue to develop and grow my skills and become proficient and/or distinguished in all areas. Becoming familiar with my schools framework will help me set goals for becoming a better teacher. This will result in students receiving more efficient instruction and learning in a positive and safe environment.

In the future, I will seek out more experienced teachers for support for becoming a proficient or distinguished teacher. Areas in which I feel I need more improvement, I can seek these colleagues for advice on improving my instructional practices.

Internship Week 5: E1 – Exemplify Professionally-Informed, Growth-Centered Practice

E1 – Exemplify professionally-informed, growth-centered practice.This program standard emphasizes the importance of developing reflective, collaborative, and growth-centered practice. This can be achieved through regularly evaluating one’s teaching through reflection and feedback.  Reflections and feedback can come from many sources including self-reflection, mentor teachers, advisers, or other teachers. This is especially important for teachers to continually evaluate their teaching in order to ensure the upmost quality of instruction. The evidence presented is self-reflection notes as well as feedback given from my mentor teacher following a math lesson. I find it very beneficially to continually self-reflect upon my performance in all classroom aspects. It is especially useful to be aware of what went well or what could have gone better. This will help me to grow and develop as a teacher. Equally important is the feedback provided by my mentor teacher. Many times we ourselves don’t recognize our teaching tendencies. Having another individual evaluate my teaching performance allows for more insight and another perspective of what may have went well or what could have been better.

Self-Reflection and Feedback

This evidence shows specific feedback pertaining to number talk strategies. This was the first math lesson which I taught trying to incorporate number talk. A Number Talk is a short, ongoing daily routine that provides students with meaningful ongoing practice with computation. A number talk was something different and unfamiliar to me. Needless to say, the lesson did not go according to plan. Reflecting on the lesson and discussing the details with my mentor teacher allowed me to get a better understanding of number talks. It also provided me with important aspects to think about for when I plan future math lessons. One of the biggest take-away from the feedback was the emphasis on student equity of voice. My mentor teacher stated the importance for some students to turn and talk prior to speaking in front of the whole group. Many students need the opportunity to process the information, think about it, and articulate to their partner before stating their strategy to the class. As I continue my educational journey, I plan on continuing to self-reflect upon my lessons. This is important for adapting lessons in order to meet the needs of each individual student. Additionally, I will seek and welcome any feedback provided from my peers. This will help my own evaluation of the effectiveness of my teaching practices. Reflections and feedback provides opportunities for growth and development as a teacher. As a result of self-reflecting and discussing my math lesson with my mentor teacher, I feel I have learned how to more effectively implement number talks. The results are that students will be more actively engaged in meaningful talk ensuring more learning is occurring. In the future, I will continue to self-reflect and seek feedback from my peers. I will continue to reflect upon my instructional practices in order to continue my growth and development as a teacher. It can be difficult to make all the changes at once, so I plan on emphasizing the opportunities where students are able to think and share with a partner.

EDMA 6432: TPA Lesson Plan

The final project of EDMA 6432: Elementary Math Methods, we were required to complete a written lesson plan using the Mathematics Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA) template. Previously, I had written one lesson plan using SPU’s long form, and several others using the SPU’s short form so I felt comfortable and confident going into this assignment. The TPA lesson plan was much more challenging than I had expected. At times, the lesson plan seemed overwhelming with so many topics to cover. Questions were very specific and abundant in number. One thing I found particularly difficult was tying in the actual lesson activity with the rest of the form. I had a good idea of the basis for my lesson activity but many times I forgot to make the specific connections written questions. I think it would have been beneficial to work backwards beginning with the complete lesson activity in detail, then completing the rest of the TPA. I believe this way would have made it easier to make sure that everything aligns correctly.

I wrote my lesson plan on a third grade math lesson for fractions. It was a lot of hard work, but I am grateful for the experience of completing a TPA lesson plan.

Here is my lesson plan:

TPA Lesson Plan

EDMA 6432: Mini Lessons

In EDMA 6432, we were required for planning and presenting two mini lessons. These mini lessons were on different math concepts as well as one was to be for a primary elementary grade and the other intermediate elementary grade. My first lesson I chose to do on a lesson about probability for the 6th grade. What I found to be difficult was the use and implementation of the five talk moves. The classroom talk moves are: re-voicing, repeating, reasoning, adding on, and waiting (Chaplin, O’Connor, & Anderson, 2009). Prior to this, I had no experience or practice using any of the talk moves, so it felt as if these moves were almost unnatural to use in my lesson. This was also one of the few experiences I have had thus far teaching in front of a class. I thought the overall lesson went well but there were substantial areas for improvement. A few things I would have liked to change in this first mini lesson would have been to have a better flow throughout the lesson, to move around the class rather than be up by the white board, and to ask more thought provoking questions.

The second mini lesson was about perimeter for the 3rd grade. In the second mini lesson I felt confident, comfortable, and ready to present. Even from only have one practice lesson prior; I had a much better understanding how to implement the talk moves. My pace and flow of the lesson was much smoother than my first attempt. I was able to use and implement the talk moves throughout the discussion and was not isolated to the front of the classroom. At times though, I did try to use too many talk moves in a single question. I felt I provided much more provoking questions to the discussion. It was extremely helpful to already have questions written out to use. Overall I felt my second mini lesson was much improved from the first. I know and understand that the more practice I get in front of a class to practice the talk moves, the more comfortable and confident I will become. Both opportunities to present a lesson have given me great insight on areas where I have improved in the time of this course, as well as areas where I need continued practice.

Here are my the outlines for each mini lesson:

Mini Lesson 1

Mini Lesson 2

Reference

Chaplin, S.H., O’Connor, C., & Anderson, N.C. (2009). Classroom discussions: using math talk to help students learn. Sausalito, CA: Scholastic-Math Solutions.

 

EDMA 6432: Classroom Talk in Mathematics

I have always considered myself being good at math because I could recite algorithms, but I have realized through taking EDMA 6432: Elementary Math Methods that math is much more than facts, rules, or algorithms. The primary textbook used in the course was Classroom Discussion: Using Math Talk to Help Students Learn (2009) which emphasizes on five talks moves to promote mathematical learning for students. According to Chaplin, O’Connor, and Anderson (2009) classroom talk can promote learning in mathematics directly and indirectly. Classroom talk provides direct access to “ideas, relationships among those ideas, strategies, procedures, facts, mathematical history, and more” (p. 6). Students can also learn indirectly through the building of a social environment and community that encourages learning (p. 6). Classroom talk will help build students’ confidence about his or her ability especially in the engagement of intellectual discussion (p. 9). These classroom talk moves are: re-voicing, repeating, reasoning, adding on, and waiting.

In order for classroom talk to be effectively implemented within ones classroom, ground rules for respectful and courteous talk must be in place. Without ground rules for classroom discussion, students may feel unsafe to share their opinions and answers. I believe it is easy to sometimes overlook rules such as being respectful when others are speaking and to respect each and everyone’s opinions or answers. If these rules are not established and continually reminded throughout the school year, meaningful and respectful classroom talk may be extremely difficult to achieve.

All the five talk moves are important aspects of classroom discussion, and one could talk about each forever. I just wanted to address a few key points I personally feel is especially important with these moves. Simply having students repeat their own or other students’ responses will benefit students through hearing an explanation a number of times. It will also give students the practice in paying attention to someone other than the teacher (p. 72). Additionally, using wait time so that each student can have adequate time to think of an answer or response. The wait time applies to when the teacher has asked a question and also after the teacher has called upon a student for an answer or response (p. 17). Both instances demonstrate that fact that students need time to process and organize their thoughts so that it can be articulated. Again, one cannot stress each of the talk moves enough when trying to facilitate classroom talk. These two benefits really stood out to me as great ways to help promote learning and understanding.

Another important idea I took away from this text is not to simply tell students whether they are correct or wrong on their answers.  Chaplin, O’Connor, and Anderson (2009) state that, “students learn more when they consider incorrect options and then reject them based on reasoning rather than on the basis of an authority’s decision” (p. 77). This also involves the teacher avoiding simple “yes” or “no” style questions that require little to no thought for students to answer. Prior to this class I viewed math as a very straight forward subject – that one is either correct or wrong. Now I see and realize that through classroom discussion, students’ mathematical understanding and learning can be deepened.

Reference

Chaplin, S.H., O’Connor, C., & Anderson, N.C. (2009). Classroom discussions: using math talk to help students learn. Sausalito, CA: Scholastic-Math Solutions.

 

EDU 6150: Project-Based Learning

Research has indicated that many lessons require outcomes at the lower levels of cognition and those students cannot think independently of the teacher or go beyond the content being taught (Borich, 2010). One approach to help students facilitate a higher level of learning is project-based learning. Project-based learning has three ideas of the importance of learning the process not just the product, helping students set goals, and uses instructional groupings to draw out cooperation from all group members to complete the project (p. 351). Why is project-based learning so important to the development of students? Borich (2010) states that project-based learning plays a critical role in the development of intrinsic motivation to the learning task (p. 351). This is important because as increasing of age is occurring in schools today students are experiencing a decline in academic motivation (Pressley, & McCormick, 2007, p. 261). It is crucial to develop student’s intrinsic motivation in that the work being done is not because it is what the teacher wants, but because the students have a desire to learn and grow academically.

What makes up a good project then? Borich (2010) states several key components which good projects possess. These characteristics are: extended duration, requiring weeks to complete; link several disciplines; focus on the process as well as the product; and involves the teacher as a coach and utilizes small-group work (p. 351). Projects can also be more meaningful towards students when they present a real-world or authentic challenge; allow for student choice and control; be an achievable task in the time allotment; requires collaboration; and can produce a tangible product (p. 351).

One common project that many schools partake in is the egg drop challenge. On the surface this project may seem only like a fun activity, but this activity can not only be engaging as well as incorporate many aspects of a “good” project. Students can be encouraged to experiment with a number of different designs for the challenge. These designs are to be drawn and rationales explained in the group journals. Additionally, the challenge can be used as an analogy to make it an authentic task – the egg being precious cargo re-entering the atmosphere from space and must safely land on the earth’s surface. Also, this project can use several disciplines of science, math, and require writing aspects through the journaling. Most importantly, students will have to work together to design and build their ideas in the given time frame. This is just a brief explanation of how the popular and fun projects can be adapted into a meaningful lesson that will intrinsically motivate students.

 

Borich, G.D. (2010). Effective teaching methods: research-based practice. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Pressley, N., & McCormick, C.B. (2007). Child and adolescent development for educators. New York, NY: Guildford Press.

EDU 6150: Direct Instruction

One of the essential academic learning requirements (EALR) for third grade mathematics is for students to be able to round whole numbers through 10,000 to the nearest ten, hundred, and thousand (OSPI, n.d.). This reflection post will be a brief lesson plan for the direct instructional method approach. The reason for using direct instruction approach is the effectiveness it has towards the teaching of facts, rules, and actions of sequences (Borich, 2010). Additionally, this approach has a greater emphasis on the teacher rather than in the indirect approach where the responsibility shifts towards the students (Scheuerman, 2013). Using direct instructional approach will be a simple and precise method to teach students what are whole numbers, specific number places, and concepts of rounding.

The first strategy of the direction instructional approach is a daily review and checking session. The primary function of this is to emphasize the relationships between lessons or knowledge previously learned (Borich, 2010). For this example students were given a worksheet to identify specific number places of either tenths, hundredths, and thousandths – then students will trade papers in class with a partner to correct and grade. By doing so, the teacher will gain useful information on whether or not the students have learned sufficiently to further proceed in the math unit (Borich, 2010).

The second strategy consists of presenting and structuring new content. For lesson would take the approach of sequential relationship which is the structuring of content through ordering – teaching content so that students will master the EALR goal of rounding whole numbers to the tenth, hundredth, or thousandths. By beginning with a homework assignment for students to identify number places, it will become obvious if students are ready to begin rounding numbers to the specific number place. The overall approach would take a sequential approach of learning what whole numbers are (this should be prior knowledge), recognizing number places, and being able to round to the nearest place.

The third strategy is guided student practice. This results in presenting stimulus material and then eliciting practice which is directed by the teacher and done of the desired behavior (Borich, 2010). One aspect of guided student practice is providing prompts, hints, and any other type of supplementary instruction. This lesson section would primarily involve verbal prompting so that students can be reminded of proper place values and to indicate which numbers should to be rounded. Likewise, modeling is another form of guided student practice. This would be achieved through the teacher demonstrating the proper way or ways to finding the solution. The teacher may be beginning to introduce the concepts of rounder numbers to the specific place and would demonstrate rounding the number 1,355 to the nearest hundredths. Teachers model because they want their students to be able to repeat the same actions when they are longer present (Borich, 2010). Additionally, students can be visual learners or need to see a problem completed once in order to gain a firmer grasp of new concepts.

The next strategy is to provide feedback and correctives. According to Borich (2010) students will respond in four different approaches: correct, quick, and firm; correct but hesitant; incorrect due to carelessness; and incorrect due to lack of knowledge (p. 238). Depending on the response to problem example, the teacher need to review information, explain the steps, prompt with clues or hints, or using different but similar problem to guide the student to the correct answer (p. 240). For example, if a student is struggling with which place is the tens and the hundreds – then it would be appropriate to review this information.

Finally, provide students with the opportunity for independent practice. This will result in unitization, which is the individual unit or steps in the problem-solving and automaticity, which is to connect the unit into the entire sequence (Scheuerman, 2013). Students here will practice problems on their own while the teacher can circulate to provide feedback or assistance when required.

The purpose for using direct instructional approach is to teach facts and content through active teaching and re-teaching if necessary. Through this approach students will learn in a sequential order of what whole numbers representing, number place values, and ultimately to learn how to round to the nearest number.

 

Borich, G.D. (2010). Effective teaching methods: research-based practice. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Scheuerman, R. (2013, April 29). EDU 6150 Course Lecture – Session 5: Direct and indirect instruction.

Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2013 from http://www.k12.wa.us/CurriculumInstruct/learningstandards.aspx