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Monday, October 19, 2015

Observation #2 Reflection

For this observation, My CT allowed me to choose what part of the lesson in which i would like to teach, the notes section or the activity section. I choose to do the activity. I created an activity based off a book activity, but changed it to apply to the culture of the students. The activity was of an E-statement of a bank account and the activity of one month. When I had the students do the first calculation, instead of doing the long way of subtraction numbers, they grab their calculators right away. Right away I need this activity was not going to be hard for students if they understood how the table was set up. If I teach this activity again, I would allow blanks in the statement in which they are allowed to put what they send their money on or how much money is given to them. This will allow a vary of answers and for the students who understand will (hopefully) choose some interesting numbers. I would also add a couple more deep thinking questions. If the students understand the process, they can get a deeper connection to the real-life application.

When Jon came in, I asked him to write down the questions that I asked my students during the activity. When I looked back at the questions I asked, I was trying to understand how each student was thinking. As a first year teacher, I still am unsure of how the students think. Asking the simple question of "how did you get that answer?" or "can you explain yourself?". I hope I keep using these questions more and become aware of my students thinking.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Cheat Sheets in the Classroom...Yes or No?

The above question popped into my mind when my CT was passing out a haft sheet of pink paper that had "short cuts" for transformations. She informed the students that they will be able to use this paper for the test, but she know how to do transformations in general for the MEAP test. I thought in my head, "you are allowing the students to use this cheat sheet when you know they will not be given this information on a standardized test". As I walked around the classroom when the students were working on their classwork, I noticed that the cheat sheet did help the students to get t the correct answer, but do they truly understand the reasoning behind the transformation. Or are they showing the skill of looking onto the cheat sheet for the answer, the "plug-and-chug" method.

I looked back on my education and when I was able to use a cheat sheet. I was given a "formula sheet" for Algebra 2/Trig and Calculus in High School. Thinking back, I realize I did not fully understand the material and when i got stuck on a problem in math class I looked to that sheet for the answer in one of the formulas. So did i really understand the big ideas...i would say no i did not understand.

So are we helping or hurting our students by allowing them to have a cheat sheet for a test? Do we get cheat sheets in life? But at the same time, we do get a cheat sheet in everyday is called the internet. We are able to look up any different things at the touch of a button. So does it matter if we allow students to use a cheat sheet?

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Different Ways to Call on Students in the Classroom

In my class, we have a lot of examples we do together as a whole class. As I have noticed through the first couple of weeks of school the same few students will always have their hand raised up high to answer the questions. Even the "easy" questions are only answered by those students. I was surfing the internet and found a couple of different ways to call on students in the classroom.

1) Popsicle sticks: write the students names onto Popsicle sticks and pull out a name when you need a different student to answer the question.

2) "Calling on a different student" : the teacher would call on an arbitrary student and that student will be allowed to call onto the next students to answer the question. Once the students has been called on, they can not be called on again until everyone in the class has had a turn to answer a question.

3) "Phone a friend": This allows the students that you cold called who do not know the answer to the question to phone a friend. This allows the students to help each other out and do not feel pressure if they do not know the answer.

4) "Think, Pair, Share": The students will be give a couple of seconds to think of an answer to the question. Then they will look to their partner and share what they thought the answer was. Then the teacher can call onto one of the students in a group to share the answer they think is correct to the whole class.

I would love to figure out what technique works for my future students. If you have different ways to call on students in the classroom, please comment below. I would love to hear your way :)

Friday, September 25, 2015

Working TOGETHER in Math!

Students think that they are going to walk into "Math World" and enter by themselves and work on problems all alone and they will be able to know how to do each problem. My teacher is trying to break that idea of working alone in Math class. How she does breaks that idea is by forming "homework Groups".

The students arrive to the classroom with just an answer key on the board with no work show for the problem. They check their homework and compare the answers to the answer key. When the bell rings for the class to start, Mrs. Ondrusek will allow the students to talk about their homework within a designated "homework group". This allows the students to ask their peers how to do a problem that they did not understand themselves. After about five minutes, Mrs. Ondrusek will allow a full class discussion about questions that no one in the group was able to answer correctly. After the class discussion, Mrs. Ondrusek will hand out a haft sheet of colored paper in which there are two simple questions the "homework group" has to answer:
1. We feel confident with...
2. We are still confused about...
This piece of paper will be turned in along with the homework. Mrs. Ondrusek and I read each of the groups haft papers and write little notes that will help them understand a little better. This allow us to look at what we need to go over again if the whole class does not understand something.

I think this is a great tool to be used in the classroom. We have not had an form of assessment yet to compare to the other way Mrs. Ondrusek has done in the past. We shall see in a couple weeks if she will continue this process of correcting homework.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

My CT's classroom

The above image is a simple diagram of my teacher's classroom set up. Her largest class size is 34 students, but in her classroom she has 36 desk because she knows the finalized students schedules will not happen until the end of the week. She has the extra desks thinking she might get a couple of new students in the classroom. She would really want to put the students into their "homework groups" because then it would be easier for the students to work together not only on homework, but on the problems the book called "do it yourself" (she calls "work with a partner"). When she gets her classes finalized, she will group the student's desk (if she has room). She is also concerned that not all students will be able to see the front of the classroom. She does not want the students back to her, so that will create a challenge with how many students she has in her classes. She also has some restriction in the classroom, a LARGE air-conditioning unit and her teacher workstation with an Elmo and computer for the smart board. she does not want the students behind these objects in a way they will not be able to see what is going on in the front of the classroom.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Has technology really changed?

Society is telling the people that technology will influence our children's behavior and will miss social ques from peers because of how much cellphones and computers have taken their eyes from to world around them to a screen right in front of them. I say to you, now look at the two pictures to the left. One was taken on a train years ago and the other taken also on a train in the present day. In both pictures technology is taken the eye sight  of the people in the picture. In the old black and white picture it is the news paper, while in the present picture it is cellphones. So what is this difference between technology years ago compare to technology today? My spouse, Josh, once said "cellphones are a newer way to mind your own business". I truly believe that technology has not change the way our society functions, but technology has become more prevent in society. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Black Jack in Math class...NO WAY!

When students hear "probability" or "statistics" in a math class, most student will protest and say they cant do that type of math. My approach to a probability lesson is not let them know what they are learning, but to have them learn and play a card game, Black Jack!

If you do not know the full rules of Black Jack, you are able to find them here.

The following is a lesson plan outline that I created. I have taught is in a college level classroom, but not in a high school classroom. I believe the lesson might have to be changed according to your students.

Review: factions/decimal/percent relation 
-Write on board different fractions
- have students draw a picture, write the percentage, and write the decimal form of each fraction
- allow students to mark what answers they think are wrong and what answers they think are correct
Hand out the following table and allow the students to find answers in groups (you might have to reword some the chance column to meet the need of your students):

In the table below, assume that you are the only player and only a single deck of cards is being used such that we do not reshuffle the cards into the deck.
Chance of:
a red queen in either first two cards

two aces in either first two cards

a 21 in the first two cards

a 21 after the first card that is drawn is an 8

two “face” cards

two cards valued 2-9

two 10’s

Let the fun begin: Black Jack
- break the classroom up into smaller groups
- play a couple of "open hands" (all cards facing up) 
- have each student figure out the probability of busting if even another card base on the cards played at the table 
I created the following table for my students to use to keep track of their numbers: 

Total [of your two cards]
Probability of busting  
What Happened

The college students really enjoyed this lesson. I hope I am able to use it in the classroom or even a smaller version with maybe only five cards for younger students.