Tag Archives: FEAP 1E

Week 13 – Mathematics – Finishing 2D Shapes

The end of the year is fast approaching and I am just so thankful for all of the opportunities that I have had in the Residency (UTRPP) Program. I am so glad that my collaborating teacher has provided me with the opportunity to continue to take the lead on teaching and planning in all subject areas so I can continue to gain more experience in front of the classroom.

I have many chances to experience guiding students through multiple units and on Monday we finished our 2D Shapes unit. The students took the assessment and based on what I observed, many of the students understood the content. There are still many students (about 6) who were unable to take the test because they were absent but I am eager to see their scores because I think they will show a good understanding of the content. One of the great things about teaching and planning math for the entire unit was that I am able to see the growth of my students and help address misconceptions and alter lesson plans to meet their needs.

For example, when teaching about equal parts, my students were confusing about whether or not certain squares were split into fourths. The students were able to recognize that four small squares or four rectangles that all looked the same are fourths but they were unable to make the connection when looking at a square split in half where the two halves are split in different ways.

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In the top squares, each piece is the same size. (I apologize that the rectangular pieces are not perfect on the second square but I wanted to show a pictorial representation of a misconception that my students had.) The third square, however, looks as if the four parts are no equal. But each side of the square (shown below using colors) is half of the square. Since these two pieces are cut in half each of the four parts are equal.

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This was a difficult concept for my students to grasp so I used actual paper that I cut up in front of the students along with drawings on the white board to help them understand. By providing this realia, I was able to bridge the gap in my students’ knowledge and allow many of them to grasp the idea. I felt like this was an important part to teach to help build their conceptual knowledge of splitting shapes into equal and unequal parts because my students made the assumption (which is a misconception) that when a 2D shape is split into parts of different shapes, that the parts are unequal.

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For example the fourth shape is split into rectangles and squares as taken from the other shapes on top. The parts are all equal even though they are different shapes because they are all half of half of the original shape. Although this terminology seems confusing, this conceptual knowledge can be helpful in the future, especially when students have to discuss fractions using ½ and ¼ and multiplying fractions to find half of a half or ½ x ½ = ¼.

I am approaching the final days of my internship, which is exciting because of the new opportunities that await me in the future but also a bit sad because I will really miss my classroom and my students. I have made so much growth and progress over the course of this year and I just cannot believe everything that has happened to me throughout my experience in the Residency Program. I can definitely say I would not trade this for anything.

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Week 12 – Mathematics – 2D Shapes

Lesson Plan for Observation on 4.9.15

I have continued to take the lead on teaching all subject areas in my classroom, which has been such a wonderful experience. I can clearly tell that I am making growth with my teaching. My collaborating teacher commented that my flow has definitely improved. I am just so excited to be able to practice. In the previous week, I had used a timer to help me stay on track and once I got a feel for the time, I was able to stop using it because I was more familiar with the timing of my lessons.

I planned a special mathematics lesson about decomposing 2D shapes in which I designed all but one of the worksheets. I was really proud of this lesson because it was a real observation to evaluate my teaching and I believe I did a good job. I introduced the lesson by engaging the students with a mathematics game. Then I did some explicit modeling for the students.

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Once I collected enough anecdotal data through a quick check and observations, I made groups based on ability levels and gave the students worksheets that I created. I pulled a small group to provide extra support. Then I called the students back together to complete an exit ticket and for the closure of the lesson I had the students answer the essential question. I really liked the lesson because I gave the students the opportunity to explore the 2D shapes with lots of hands on experiences and movement. One aspect of the lesson that I would have liked to work on would be to give the students a bit more time for the exit ticket but I wanted to make sure that there was enough time for the closure.

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One thing that I really like about creating my own worksheets is that I can make them to meet the needs of my students. For example, on the worksheets there are four small shapes: a triangle, a rhombus, a trapezoid, and a hexagon. The original worksheets that I found (see the first worksheet) had the students simply draw lines to show how they decomposed the shapes but after watching my students during other lessons, I noticed that my students had a lot of trouble with this. I think this may be related to difficulties with fine and gross motor skills but also because it is difficult to record the information even though students can explain it verbally. So I provided my students with the opportunity to circle the shapes they used in order to show me what they did so I could gain a better understanding of whether or not my students grasped the concept. On the actual worksheets, I colored in each of these shapes so the students can choose what shapes they used because they resemble the pattern blocks that they used just in case the students could not tell what the shapes were since I hand drew them. All in all, I really liked my lesson and I am glad that I was able to teach all of the previous lessons so I had enough anecdotal data and observations to make these key decisions to help my students be successful.

Another aspect of my classroom that I am extremely excited about is the amount of exploration elements in the room related to our science content. We have multiple plants growing inside and outside of the classroom. For our Long Term Investigation (LTI) the students are analyzing the changes and growth of catnip grass plants inside and outside, then we are also trying to grow lima beans and two potatoes. We are also raising meal worm beetles and we just received a shipment of pill bugs that we will be introducing shortly. The final, most exciting, element in my classroom right now is monarch butterfly caterpillars.

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The students are extremely excited about the caterpillars. They check them every day in the morning to see their growth and to see how much of the plant has been eaten. I was very happy to see one student doing research on caterpillars when she was in the classroom library so we put the book (as seen in the above picture) next to the caterpillars so they students can learn about the caterpillars as well. One of the best parts about this is that the students are so engaged that they want to share the butterfly garden with everyone that enters the room, including the principal.

I have had so many wonderful experiences in my classroom which I am extremely thankful for. I am so happy that my collaborating teacher has provided me with a lot of support so I can do things such as providing students with all of these exciting parts of the classroom to explore.

Weekly Reflection 9/22/14 to 9/26/14

On Monday of this past week I taught a Social Studies lesson to introduce some of the presidents to my students. My PRT (Partnership Resource Teacher) came in to observe me and provided me with good questions to analyze my lesson and improve my future lessons. I always appreciate feedback on my strengths and questions/recommendations because I can only become a better teacher if I properly analyze and reflect on my work.

The idea of pre-planning, teaching a lesson, receiving feedback and then improving future lesson plans is one that I am happy to participate in. In upcoming weeks my blog posts will change to reflect this process more. I will be writing lesson plans based on the University of South Florida (USF) template (which can be viewed here) http://www.coedu.usf.edu/main/departments/ce/elementary_education/lesson%20plan%20template.pdf) I have used this lesson plan format before but I have never implemented a lesson based on this type of plan.

I have currently received some assistance from content area coaches who work with the Urban Teacher Residency Partnership Program (UTRPP). These content coaches specialize in one subject area—mathematics, literacy, or science—and they help me and other residents. Starting soon, each resident will write a lesson plan using the template above for one lesson a week in the content area of the specific coach that is working with our school. So for example, I will be working with the Science content coach first so I will write a lesson plan in Science. I will write a lesson plan and implement a piece of the lesson once a week for a three week period.

After I implement the lesson, I will have a discussion with either my PRT or the content coach (one of which will observe the lesson or watch a recording of the lesson) and my collaborating teacher (CT). This process will occur for a three week period and each week I will reflect upon my experiences in a blog post. This will allow me to grow as a teacher as I analyze my lessons, receive feedback, and reflect on my experiences. When the three week cycle is up, I will work with a different content coach from another subject area and the process will continue again.

I am very excited to participate in this process. I think that by writing out a full lesson plan, I can keep track of the questions I want to ask students, what misconceptions they have and how I can address them, and think about what I expect my students to learn and then do to show me their learning.

For this week; however, I will discuss my experiences with a Social Studies lesson that I taught and mimic the process that I will use in the future.

 

On Monday, I taught a lesson about some presidents of the United States of America. I gave a brief introduction of President George Washington, President Abraham Lincoln, and President Barack Obama. This connected to the standard “SS.1.A.2.4: Identify people from the past who have shown character ideals and principles including honesty, courage, and responsibility.” This allowed me to connect to the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices (FEAPs) through FEAP 1A: “Aligns instruction with state-adopted standards at the appropriate level of rigor.” I taught this lesson because in the previous week, we had learned about symbols of the United States and the presidents are key symbols of our country because they stand for many of the ideals we believe in such as life, liberty, and happiness.

I read through the textbook with my student and we made connections between the presidents and their symbols. For example, one student mentioned that George Washington is on the dollar and Abraham Lincoln is on the five dollar bill. We also looked at the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.

I will admit that I had some difficulty teaching this lesson. On Monday, our schedule was changed so we had Specials (Art) at 8:15 in the morning, which was a big change for my class. Art class also takes place in the classroom now so it was a bit difficult for us to adjust to the lack of movement and change in location. Monday is also usually a semi-rough day because it is the beginning of the week after a brief rest on the weekend. My PRT observed me during this lesson and emailed me his thoughts afterwards.

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I really appreciated his questions because they were questions that I had asked myself after the lesson. I have not done much planning and then implementation of lesson plans until this year so I have begun to realize just how much thought is needed when writing down ideas. This is part of the reason why I think the lesson plan template (see above) will be so useful for me. I think granting myself that much space to write down questions that I want to ask students and all of the specific objectives that I want to meet will allow me to grain a better understanding of how to successfully plan and then implement a lesson.

I emailed back my replies to my PRT which can be seen below.

 

My question is: What was the focus of the lesson?  There was a lot of really good information, but you needed to keep all of the activities organized in your mind.
Q: What did you want to the students to learn and how did you want them to learn it?
Q: What did you want them to do first, next, last?
Have a plan in your mind about direction, time, activity, discussion, questioning, etc.

 

The focus of the lesson was to introduce students to some presidents so that during the week we can take a closer look at presidents (and next week at other historical figures) that show various characters traits based on the standard “SS.1.A.2.4 Identify people from the past who have shown character ideals and principles including honesty, courage, and responsibility.” I definitely think that the class would have benefited from me explicitly mentioning this. I know that I need to work on determining the specific objectives for my lessons and so I appreciate you mentioning this.

I also agree that the activities were a bit unorganized in my mind. I was a bit off this morning we had Art first thing in the morning for the first time so I was a bit unorganized from all of that which leaked into Social Studies. I had some trouble remembering what I wanted to teach in that day as well as what I had planned for later on in the week because I will be going into more detail about the historical figures that I talked about today later on. This I definitely know is something that I needed to fix and would have worked better for my students.

I am still getting used to teaching Social Studies because I have little experience with it and I am trying to decide what I want to do in the classroom. My collaborating teacher has given me the opportunity to take the lead. One thing I am trying to determine is if I want to use a Social Studies notebook and I think figuring that out and what I can do in it every day will be very beneficial for my students. I have never really seen a Social Studies notebook before although Mrs. Smith* (*pseudonym*) did show me an example from a training she went to so I am trying to gather ideas and resources before I just put it onto my students, because just as we both saw today, something that has good information but is not necessarily organized well does not really work.

For today, as I mentioned earlier, I wanted my students to learn a quick introduction about some of the Presidents of the United States and how they represent the United States just as symbols do. Later on in the week and during next week we will go more in depth about each president and other historical figures and I want the students to see how these individuals showed character ideals such as honesty, courage, and responsibility.

 

After this lesson, I went back and spent more time planning out the activities that I wanted to do with my students and some of the questions that I want to ask. I will continue to practice this so I can grow as a teacher. I always appreciate learning experiences like these so I can do my best to become the best teacher I can be.

 

I am very excited for next week because I explicitly planned all subject areas with my collaborating teacher. I will be performing a read aloud every day and I will be co-teaching Phonics and High Frequency Words with my collaborating teacher. We will also begin the Science Olympics in my classroom, which is the AquaFoils lesson. In Mathematics, we will be teaching the adding strategy of Doubles and Doubles Plus One.

I will also be working with a Guided Reading group. I will be meeting with the enrichment group a few days in the week. For this first week, my collaborating teacher will help me plan the activities but as I become more comfortable with guided reading, I will take the lead on that responsibility.

I will also work with a small mathematics group to reteach content. My collaborating teacher and I analyzed the data we collected from the Unit 1 test and we have chosen some students that need additional help with word problems, specifically adding and subtracting, including compare problems. By doing this, I am working on FEAP 1E: “Uses a variety of data, independently, and in collaboration with colleagues to evaluate learning outcomes, adjust planning, and continuously improve the effectiveness of the lessons.” My collaborating teacher and I analyzed test scores, anecdotal notes, observations, and exit tickets in order to determine which students needed assistance as well as what content I should reteach for them.