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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

First Lesson in Ireland

Today at Scoil Bhride in Galway, Ireland I taught a math lesson to my first class students. I really enjoyed how lenient my CT was about my lesson plan. He just gave me a general idea of where the children were in their math so far and told me I could do anything I wanted. I decided to play a number guessing game with a human number line. I made small signs with the numbers 1 through 20 on them. I had half the students holding the signs up in numerical order in the front of the class while the other half was responsible for guessing what number I was thinking of. The trick was that the students couldn't just call out any number. They had to use the terms "more than" and "less than" in order to make a guess. So a student who wanted to guess six asked, "Is it two more than four?". It worked out fairly well and the children were really into the game. However, upon reflecting it may have been better to use different terms besides "more than" and "less than". The children in Ireland are taught subtraction using the term "take away". This makes a lot of sense for children because they can picture having a certain number of objects then they can mentally take away any given number from the original set. There were several instances when a student would ask, "Is it four take away one?". Using terms that they are accustomed to may have made my lesson a little smoother. I also had to make a few adjustments as my lesson went on. At first if a child had guessed a number that was not the one I was thinking of, the student holding that number sign would sit down. However, this confused some of the students who needed to see that number in the line in order to calculate their next guesses. Consequently, I told everyone in the human number line to hold their numbers up high by their face if there number had not been guessed and down low near their stomach if the number had been guessed. This way all the numbers in the number line were present and the students could easily pick out which numbers had not been guessed. I really enjoyed teaching this lesson. It was so much different not to have a supervisor there observing me. It made me feel a little more relaxed, but I missed getting someone's feedback. My CT liked my idea for the lesson, but he was busy preparing for his next lesson so I didn't get a lot of critical feedback from him. Overall, I think it went well and I am eager to teach another lesson.

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