Tag Archives: FEAP 4D

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 – Content Coaching – Science – Cycle 1 – The Sun

Science – The Sun – Week 1 Content Coaching

The new content coaching cycles began during the past week. For this first round, I will be participating in Science content coaching. Next I will do reading, and then I will end the semester with mathematics content coaching. For this semester, each cycle will consist of five weeks instead of three weeks. I am excited because this will allow me to get more feedback from the content coaches so I can further improve my teaching. Another difference between the previous cycle and this cycle is that the lesson plan templates will be referred to as the “USF Lesson Plan” instead of “Five Page Lesson Plans.” I had mentioned this title last cycle as a general term but it has become the new official term. By completing the USF Lesson plan template, I meet FEAP 2A: “Organizes, allocates, and manages the resources of time, space, and attention” by explicitly writing time limits and the details for each part of the lesson.

This cycle, I will be focusing on writing unit long lesson plans instead of writing about a single day. This is really beneficial for me because it allows me to structure my lessons based around the unit and the standards that I teach. Another great thing about this new structure is that I have already been doing this by taking the lead on planning and teaching science in my classroom. I will continue to do that during this content coaching cycle and for the rest of the semester. This structure will allow me to meet FEAP 1B: “Sequences lessons and concepts to ensure coherence and required prior knowledge.”

I was observed during this past week when I taught a lesson about the harmful effects of the Sun. For this lesson, I modified an activity from the Nat Geo textbook. In the original lesson, students used light-sensitive beads [beads that change color when placed in UV light] to compare the effects of using sunscreen to not using sunscreen. For my lesson, I wanted the students to see the effects of various items that people use to protect themselves from the Sun. The students observed the beads first without any protection and then moved in stations to examine beads in four setting: (1) under an umbrella, (2) under sunglasses, (3) covered in sunblock, and (4) under a hat. This allowed me to meet FEAP 3A: “Deliver engaging and challenging lessons” because the students were engaged through the centers activity and then had to show what they learned through discussions and written assessments. The station activity also allowed me to meet FEAP 3E: “Relate and integrate the subject matter with other disciplines and life experiences” because I had the students picture going outside in PE or going to the beach in order to provide them with background knowledge and a visualization of the ideas we discussed.

In order to meet FEAPs 1A/5A [Designs purposeful professional goals to strengthen the effectiveness of instruction based on students] needs, in the Ethics section of the FEAPs, I have designed a goal to work towards during this content coaching cycle. My goal for this content coaching cycle is to examine my questioning. I ask many planned and unplanned questions and I want to make sure that all of my questions connect back to the standards and the purpose of the lesson. I also want to make sure that I focus on asking higher order thinking questions, which will help me meet FEAP 3F: “Employ higher-order questioning techniques.” My content coach is helping my meet this goal by taking notes about the questions I ask and how the students respond to my questions. I will also be working with a peer to meet this goal.

The purpose of my lesson for this week was for students to understand that there are harmful effects of the Sun that we can work to prevent by using items to protect our bodies from the Sun, such as sunglasses, sunblock, etc. I met FEAP 1A: “Aligns instruction with state-adopted standards at the appropriate level of rigor” by designing this lesson around the standard: “SC.1.E.5.4 – Identify the beneficial and harmful properties of the Sun.”

I was very excited to see that the students clearly understood this by the end of the lesson. One of the questions that I asked is what material would be the best to use in order to protect yourself from the Sun. One of my students answered that you would need to use all of the materials to protect yourself from the Sun because some materials do not cover up your entire body. Two examples of this are the hat that only covers your head and sunglasses that only cover up your eyes. When I planned the lesson, I hoped that my students would learn that they need to use at least some of the materials mentioned to protect themselves, but I was very surprised and excited to see that many students understood that all of the materials can be used at once. This really shows me that the students understood my lesson and really grasped the concept of protecting oneself from the Sun.

One aspect of the lesson that I loved was having my students explore each of the objects by going outside and moving in stations. One problem that I faced; however, was that the students were very curious so they kept touching and moving the beads. By doing this so often, the beads came in contact with the light and changed colors. This was an unfortunate accident but it did highlight the point that the objects do not completely protect you from the Sun, which may have led to the understanding that you need to use all of the objects to protect yourself.

At the end of this lesson, I had the students write in their journals as an assessment piece. I try to have the students write each class period so I can use this to inform my teaching for the rest of the unit. This writing allows me to see if the students understand the concept or if there is a misconception that I must correct. This allows me to meet FEAP 1D: “Selects appropriate formative assessments to monitor learning” as well as FEAP 4D: “Designs and aligns formative and summative assessments that match learning objectives and lead to mastery.”

Below are some of the responses that I received for this lesson. I was really proud because the majority, if not all, of my students understood the concept and wrote a correct answer. One student in particular, a boy who has been learning how to speak English after moving to the United States, has really improved in my classroom. At first, he rarely spoke or wrote, but now he raises his hand all the time and is always eager to share his thoughts by speaking or writing. His answer is included in the examples below.

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The student wrote, “I can protect myself b using all of the things that we used outside.”

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The student wrote, “I can protect myself by using an umbrella.”

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The student wrote, “I can protect myself by the roof.” This came from a discussion about how when we are indoors, the roof blocks the sun which helps to protect us. The student’s notes from the station exploration can also be seen: “The beads turned color” and “The sunglasses protect us.”

Many of the students had responses like these, which I use to inform my teaching practices that the students have a good understanding of this concept. At the end of the week, the students took a science test about the Sun and the Stars (the unit in which this lesson occurred). The next unit will be about Land and Water, which will begin next week. Within the next two weeks, the students will be taking their science midterm. The students saw similar questions in the beginning of the year science test and now the students will be able to show what they have learned. I am a bit nervous but excited to see how they do because I have taken the lead on planning and teaching science for a few months now so this will give an idea of how well the students have understood my lessons. I am excited to continue the science content coaching and cannot wait until I can be observed again!

Mathematics Lesson Plan – Basic Facts to Twenty Reflection

Math – Week 1 – Lesson Plan – Adding And Subtracting Within Twenty

Nicole L Pre Observation Coaching Lesson Document (PPQT) 11.17.14

Math – Week 1 – Lesson Plan Draft 2 – Adding And Subtracting Within Twenty

Math – Week 1 – Pose Purposeful Questions Reflection Tool

The mathematics content coaching cycle was a bit different than the previous content coaching cycles. For this cycle, the mathematics coach will focus on three or four residents each week. I designed and implemented my lesson plan for mathematics in the first week. The mathematics coach wants to make sure that she gives everyone ample time to perform a pre-conference, observation, and post-conference so it was decided that each resident would receive specific coaching for one week. I will continue to work with my collaborating teacher to co-plan and co-teach mathematics during the semester but at this point in time, I will not participate in the content coaching observation cycle for the remainder of the semester.

Before my mathematics lesson, I met with the mathematics content coach to discuss my five page lesson plan and how I would pose purposeful questions. We talked through some of the elements of the five page lesson plan such as the goals, possible misconceptions, and prior knowledge but the main focus was on question types. It is important for me to not only use and create higher order thinking (HOT) questions but to pose questions of various types to elicit student thinking. There are four types of questions that we analyzed: gathering information, probing thinking, making mathematics visible, and encouraging reflection and justification. I believe that it is important to focus on these questions so that I do not only ask questions on the lower levels of Bloom’s taxonomy. By working with the mathematics coach on my questioning, I met FEAP 3F – “Employ higher-order questioning techniques.” We worked together to create questions for each framework and I determined how I would use them in my lesson.

After our discussion, I revised my lesson plan to change some of the questions, add new questions, and charge the order of some questions in my lesson. The majority of my lesson plan was the same. I aligned my lesson with the standards MAFS.1.OA.1.1
“Use addition and subtraction within 20 to solve word problems involving situations of adding to, taking from, putting together, taking apart, and comparing, with unknowns in all positions, e.g., by using objects, drawings, and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem” and MAFS.1.OA.3.6 – “Add and subtract within 20, demonstrating fluency for addition and subtraction within 10. Use strategies such as counting on; making ten,; decomposing a number leading to a ten; using the relationship between addition and subtraction; and creating equivalent but easier or known sums by creating the known equation.” This allowed me to meet FEAP 1A –  “Aligns instruction with state-adopted standards at the appropriate level of rigor.”

For this lesson, I designed my own groups based on previous data that I collected through anecdotal notes and observations. This allowed me to meet FEAP 3H – “Differentiate instruction based on an assessment of student learning needs and recognition of individual differences in students.” There were a few students that I believed would need additional support for the lesson. I collected data through observations and used this to inform my instruction by pulling a small group as the other students worked in pairs. I designed the assessments based on the abilities of my students to match their learning needs. This allowed me to meet FEAP 4B – Designs and aligns formative and summative assessments that match learning objectives and lead to mastery as well as FEAP 4D – “Modifies assessments and testing conditions to accommodate learning styles and varying levels of knowledge.”

When I implemented the lesson, I modified it in order to meet the needs of my students and address their misconceptions, which allowed me to meet FEAP 3D – “Modify instruction to respond to preconceptions or misconceptions.” I asked the students to show me two ways to make ten. We listed these methods on the board and I asked them if there were other ways to make ten. After we had about five methods (all addition) on the board, I asked how many ways we can make ten. Not surprisingly, my students counted the methods on the board. I decided to take the time to show my students there are many ways to make ten using addition of two and three addends as well as subtraction. I tried to grant the students the opportunity to list ways to make ten without explicitly mentioning using three addends or subtraction. After some gentle pushes, the students grasped the concept and realized that there are a lot of ways to make ten.

I wanted to highlight this point because I want my students to become familiar with the various basic facts within twenty. My students have been working on balancing equations on each sides of the number line and finding equations that are equal. This lesson connected to these previous lessons by showing students there are multiple number sentences that equal ten or any other number. By doing this, I met FEAP 1B – “Sequences lessons and concepts to ensure coherence and required prior knowledge.”

After my lesson, I watched the recording and took notes about my questioning strategies and the types of questions that I asked. One important aspect of my teaching that I noticed is that the majority of my questions were unplanned. This is important to know so I can focus on planning more questions ahead of time. This could also show how I respond to my students. I noticed that I repeated some questions a lot such as “are there more ways to make ten?” I did this because I wanted to probe my students’ thinking without explicitly telling them to use subtraction or three addends to find a number. In the end, they needed some guidance to understand this concept but I assumed this would occur. My students typically have more success with addition as compared to subtraction. I assumed that my students would easily see the addition facts and need some help finding subtraction facts, which is what occurred. This shows me that my collaborating teacher and I should provide extra support in the area of subtraction and provide our students with many opportunities to practice subtraction. This allows me to meet FEAP 4A – “Analyzes and applies data from multiple assessments and measures to diagnose students’ learning needs, informs instruction based on those needs, and drives the learning process.”

As always, I am excited to continue taking the lead on planning and teaching various subjects in the classroom. I hope to continue co-teaching mathematics with my collaborating teacher and taking the lead on lessons to increase my comfort level with mathematics and gain more experience. I am excited to continue focusing on mathematics in the upcoming weeks even if I do not participate in formal observations and conferences.