O2 – Offer appropriate challenge in the content area. This program standard highlights the teacher’s ability to plan and/or develop curricula that is standards driven so that students will develop understanding and problem-solving skills in the specific content area. The evidence presented is several journal prompt entries for mathematics. The journal prompt on the top is the hardest problem, then in the middle is harder, and the bottom is hard. Students may feel uncomfortable or incapable depending on their selection if these were labeled beginner, intermediate, or expert. Therefore, these prompts are labeled as hardest, harder, and hard in order to provide students with appropriate challenge levels in a manner that builds confidence and promotes students to strive to solve more difficult problems.
This evidence demonstrates math journal prompts that are derived based upon the state standards. Furthermore, they are developed so that the prompts will meet the needs of the various skill levels of students in the class. Having prompts that are appropriate for skill level will help support students to be able to develop deeper understanding and problem-solving skills. If problems are too difficult or too easy, then students will not be deepening their understanding or furthering their problem-solving skills because these problems would be solved with many mistakes or little effort.
This has benefited me in that I now realize the importance of finding appropriate challenges within all content areas that are derived from the state standards. This alignment will ensure that students are learning things vital to their success in future mathematical lessons and in following lessons or units. Also, working in a highly diversified school has taught me to provide appropriate challenge levels for all students in the class. This journal prompt is a great way to facilitate learning that is appropriate for the various skill levels identified within the class. It also provides a way for students to have some involvement within their learning process. Students are given the choice of which journal prompt to select. This gives students a sense of ownership and accomplishment when they can successfully answer a journal prompt they choose in order to challenge themselves. Students were able to learn in ways that is appropriate to their skill level in the mathematics unit. Providing prompts or problems that are challenging enough that causes students to tap into their prior knowledge of what they have learned and what they are learning will appropriately challenge them.
In the future, I would like to continue to create lessons that are standards based and provide every student with an appropriate challenge level. As we know students are individualized in their learning and that no two students learn in the same fashion. Due to this fact, teachers must different and individualize instruction to better meet the needs of each individual student. Providing journal prompts with various difficulties is a way to ensure that a student is receiving an appropriately challenged problem. I plan to continue to assess students in my class and to provide appropriate work so that they are not only successful but are challenged to deepen their understanding and to improve their problem-solving skills.
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.
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.