E-Mail: intlprac@bc.edu or SKYPE us: bc.prac.office

Sunday, December 21, 2014

First Full Class Math Lesson in Rome

I am an Elementary Education & Mathematics/Computer Science double major and I really enjoy math and look forward to teaching this subject the most to my students. Every day in my classroom, there were two identical math lessons, one for each fourth grade class. It would start with the other class coming into our room and having their 50 minute lesson, then the students would switch back to their original classrooms and our class would have math (with a few tweaks made depending on how the previous lesson went). I really enjoyed this style of working with the two fourth grade classrooms. Instead of teaching a lesson, noting what worked and didn't work, and then tweaking that lesson for your next class a full year from now, the teacher was able to rework and teach the lesson immediately after teaching it once.

I thought this way of teaching two classes allotted for a lot of freedom and ease for the teacher, as my cooperating teacher taught every lesson- math, science, writing and geography- twice every week. Since each teacher (the other teacher taught reading, current events, and history) had their specific duties, they were able to concentrate more on those specifics and really get their lessons down well. I know that the two teachers liked this split version too, because they were both teaching the subjects they were strongest in. When I decided to teach a math lesson with my cooperating teacher, I knew I would be also be teaching it twice.

My cooperating teacher had a lot of faith in me and my teaching abilities, which really helped me feel more confident and prepared for teaching a full class lesson. Before school around week 5, I was telling her that out of all the ways that I had learned to do multiplication problems as an elementary student, the only one I really remembered and used was lattice multiplication. I did a quick demonstration of lattice for her, and she thought it was really interesting and the kids would love it. We decided the next week I would teach lattice to both classes. Since it wasn't part of their actual syllabus or requirements, that took some of the pressure off of me for teaching my first big lesson. My cooperating teacher really believed in letting the students do what worked for them, versus having all the students always do everything the same. For example, she let them do any version of multiplication on tests to solve problems, after demonstrating that they did know how to do all the methods that they had learned. She thought if one way came easiest to a student, he or she should be able to use that all the time. She wanted lattice to be one more option for the students.

To prepare the lesson, I went to Khan Academy. I watched a short video that perfectly explained how and why lattice worked. I jotted some notes and printed out a worksheet for the students to do, full of practice problems as well as empty lattice box problems. I worked with my cooperating teacher through email to discuss the lesson, and copied all the worksheets and prepared with her the morning of the lesson (week 6 or 7).

The lesson went really, really well, better than I thought it would. The first class seemed to understand my explanation of why lattice worked and everyone thought it was a really cool way to solve multiplication problems. The students enjoyed working in pairs to make their own problems, solve them, and then check with their partners. I noticed that some people in the first class had a hard time keeping track of what numbers went in what square, so for the second class, I made sure that they understood what numbers went where. I taught them how to use their fingers to make columns and rows, understanding that where their fingers intersected they would write the number for that problem. This helped a few students in the second class, and I was really glad to have two classes to teach one lesson. They all listened very attentively, and I think they were excited to see their student teacher up at the board giving a lesson!

I think my first lesson went very well and I was really happy to be up there teaching. I was glad I waited a few weeks until I taught, to be comfortable with the students, teachers, and classroom first. After the lesson, one my favorite students came up to me and said, "Good job teaching, you did great!" with a big smile. It was so sweet and just such a grown up thing to say good job to the teacher, something that most fourth graders would never think of doing. It made me feel so good not just to have a successful lesson, but to have one of my young students recognize that it was something new and maybe nerve-wracking for me to be giving a lesson. I really enjoyed my first lesson and I am so happy to have taught it to these fantastic two classes.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.