Observation Reflection Katie Shaw Integrated II January 15, 2009

Observation Reflection
Katie Shaw
Integrated II
January 15, 2009
Homework: All homework is graded by completion only. If they made a reasonable
attempt at all the homework problems (show all work, do all problems) they they’ll
receive full credit. If they complete more than half, but not all, they’ll receive half credit.
I have them grade their own homework in class for their own benefit. I encourage them to
look over the problems that they missed so that they may learn from their mistakes.
Purpose and Relevancy: Working more word problems into my lessons/units may help
with establishing purpose and relevancy to the mathematics that the students are having
to do in my classroom. Word problems give students experience with applying their
mathematics to everyday situations. For example, giving a scenario that would involve
linear trends in everyday life represented by a system of equations and then having them
find the solution. Such as finding out what cell phone company may be the best deal
price-wise over a long period of time.
Instructional Strategy: I’m finding that I have to move at a much slower pace than I had
anticipated in this course. Many of the students have not had a math class since the spring
semester of their 9th grade year so the mathematical concepts are coming back to them
much slower than they did in my fall Integrated II classes. With the pacing guide that I
had set last semester, based on the lessons that Rose and I had taught throughout the year,
I am struggling to get through my entire lesson and not working the number of group
problems that may be necessary.
Classroom Management: This class was quite a bit of a struggle in the classroom
management department during the first week of the year!! This particular group of
students has a hard time focusing on the task at hand during the last class period of the
day. I resolved the issue by asking Brain if I could change the desks into rows, and then
making my own seating chart. I found this to be much more effective with this group of
students. This way they will be able to focus on the lesson when necessary and then move
into groups at the appropriate individual work time or during group activities.
Reflective Questions:
1. After only two weeks into the new semester, I feel as if the area that I have had
the greatest improvement since the beginning of my student teaching in the fall is
classroom management. As I started student teaching I felt confident being in
front of the class and I felt confident with my ability to teach math, but I was wary
about my abilities to keep a classroom of 30-plus students under control; at least
long enough to keep them focused on the ever-dreaded subject of math. I had
what Rose considered one of the toughest classes to teach, classroom management
wise, last semester (right after lunch!). Through an interesting and exhausting,
trial-and-error approach, that class taught me how to be tough, as well as the
importance of establishing my expectations from day one.
2. In the math department I am most curious about Rachel Drago’s teaching
strategy. I was able to observe on of her lessons during her Voyager class,
however I’m interested to see her instructional approach in a mid-level math
classroom vs. the approach she took in her lower-level math class. Although I feel
as if many of the teachers in our math department are similar in the instructional
approaches, I feel as if I’d be most similar to Eric Harding. He seems to mainly
use a direct instructional approach with time for the students to work in
groups/individually so they may work together and discuss. A professional peer
observation would be beneficial in many ways. As I have only had a chance to
work extensively with one teacher, and not having many years of experience
myself, it is great to have the opportunity to see what strategies and routines
teachers have developed over the years and what has proven to be successful for
them. Also, mathematics is an extremely hard subject for many high school
students and I would love to see the different ways they approach the material in
class. I have been considering observing other Algebra 2 classes (since I’ve never
taken nor taught with this particular curriculum) and see how the teachers who
have taught the course are approaching the material, as they have had a chance to
adjust the instruction of the material.