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.