Tag Archives: Math Content Coaching

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.


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.


Week 11 – Mathematics Content Coaching – Observation 2D Shapes

Lesson Plan: Mathematics – Week 1 – 2D Shapes 

I taught a mathematics lesson about the defining attributes of 2D shapes on Wednesday of the previous week. For this lesson, I met FEAP 1A by aligning my lesson with the standard: “MAFS.1.G.1.1 – Distinguish between defining attributes (e.g., triangles are closed and three-sides) versus non-defining attributes (e.g., color, orientation, overall size); build and draw shapes to possess defining attributes.” By the end of the lesson, my students had to be able to answer thee essential question: “What attributes can you use to define 2D shapes?”

When I was younger, I built 2D and 3D shapes using toothpicks and marshmallows and I wanted to incorporate that fun and engaging activity into my lesson to keep the students interested. I made sure to discuss the importance of using the items as math manipulatives. My collaborating teacher and the math content coach both agreed that the students were able to use the tools well and there were few, if any, distractions or students who misused (or ate) the tools. I first asked the students to make a rectangle and then I had a few students build rectangles under the document camera. My content coach offered a great suggestion to decrease the amount of time spent waiting for students to build these shapes; she said I should have the students build the shapes on dry erase boards and then have them lift the board and bring it to the front to share.

I had the students build a few other 2D shapes and then I challenged them to build a circle using the toothpicks and marshmallows. Immediately the students were very vocal, telling me that they could not make a circle. I challenged them and told them to try, which unfortunately actually brought one student to tears when we became frustrated. I wanted my students to fully understand that a circle is made up of curved lines, no straight lines, which is why it has no flat sides or vertices and cannot be considered a polygon. I then gave the students a pipe cleaner, which they were able to easily form into a circle. I was a bit shocked that a student actually started to cry from frustrated but I definitely wanted to challenge my students and have them think critically about the shape. One student actually made a circle with marshmallows, which was great thinking but technically not aligned with the question. But I had her share what she did because I think it is so important for students to think outside of the box.

The students then completed differentiated worksheets independently and then they completed an exit ticket, which they helped design the rubric for. They had to answer the essential question, “What attributes can you use to define a 2D shape?”


I really love this rubric system and have used it many times in the classroom. Purple is the “highest” score one can receive, next green, then orange, and yellow is the bottom color. The students aim to get a purple score, but a green is still a good score. The students led the creation of this rubric.

In mathematics, we have our students explain their thinking using a “5 Star Sentence.” Which is a sentence with a capital letter at the beginning, correct punctuation, correctly spelled sight words, and if a student does not know how to spell a word, he or she underlines the word. The students also needed to make a drawing/model of a 2D shape and label the shape with the attributes. The students decided not to put a specific number for the amount of labels for purple, which I liked because it gave them the opportunity to talk about all different kinds of defining attributes, instead of just sides and vertices.

One interesting part that the students wanted to add was the phrase “Don’t try” to the yellow part of the rubric. I have noticed that sometimes the students want to add this to the rubric. I think that on almost all occasions, students want to try and be successful in the classroom; however, my collaborating teacher and I have made it very clear to the students that they can receive assistance if necessary and that it is better to ask for help instead of not trying. I feel like this word choice was very interesting and it shows that they really want to show what they know and believe it is important to always try their best.

After the students turned in their exit tickets, the math content coach had them discussed what they learned in relation to the essential question. She recorded their responses on the board to see if my class had a good understanding of the content and were able to answer the essential question.


After the recorded their answers she asked them to tell her what the attributes are of a 2D shape, which she labeled with a box (which one student pointed out is the shape of a rectangle). I was very, very pleased with their answers and I really felt like this discussion showed that my students clearly understood the content from my lesson.

I was really excited that my math lesson turned out well. I will continue to be a part of mathematics content coaching, although I may not receive another full observation cycle but the content coach may come in to observe me. I am excited for the end of the year but I still have a lot to do during these last few weeks. I have been granted the wonderful opportunity to take the lead on teaching all content areas for over two weeks (excluding testing week), which I hope will continue so I can gain more and more experience to help me improve my teaching.

Weekly Reflection 9/29/14 – 10/3/14

During this past week, my collaborating teacher and I re-designed our template for planning lessons and it has worked out amazingly well. I really appreciate that my collaborating teacher has taken the time to plan out the various subjects with me. I really feel like a key part of the classroom because the amount of co-teaching between my collaborating teacher and I has increased dramatically. Now I feel like I have a better understanding of what is going on in the classroom and why we teach the lessons the way we do.



This was the old plan style. I did not like writing my plans into it because there was little space and it was overwhelming to look at the entire week at a glance. I still use this plan book; however, I write my plans into it after I use the new template. This allows me to analyze the key portions of the lesson plans and write them down in a shorter, smaller format.


Above are pictures of the new lesson planning format that we use. I really like this format because I feel like I have plenty of space to write and I can look at one subject for the entire week instead of everything for the week all at once.



The plans may look a bit jumbled but I really like that I can add lots of details to my planning. This allows me to write in key questions to ask or differentiation or key strategies to use. I keep all of these plans in a binder that I can access easily at all times and it is divided by weeks.

I was very excited during this past week because I was able to step-in and participate in more co-teaching with my collaborating teacher. In the past, I typically participate in “One Teach, One Support” in which I provide some additional help to my collaborating teacher but by planning together, I have been able to work on “Team Teaching” with my collaborating teacher. I hope to continue this trend so I can continue to learn and grow as a future educator.


When planning last week, my collaborating teacher and I also decided that I would start working with a Guided Reading group and a Response to Intervention (RTI) group for mathematics. I will be working with the enrichment group for guided reading. Because I have little experience with guided reading, my collaborating teacher will be helping me a lot with the plans for this group. I really appreciate this help and I think it will be great for me to examine her model to determine what I should and need to do to meet the needs of my students.

For my RTI group, I am working with some students who need a bit of additional help in order to be really successful in mathematics. My collaborating teacher and I chose this group of students based on test scores from their Unit 1 test. This allows me to meet FEAPs 3H: “Differentiate instruction based on assessment of student learning needs and recognition of individual differences in students.” After we analyzed all of the tests, we sent them home to parents to be signed with a note that informed them of a passing grade (70%) on the exam. By doing this, I am working on meeting FEAPs 4E: “Shares the importance and outcomes of student assessment data with the student and the students’ parent/caregiver(s).” I hope to continue working on this FEAP so that I will be prepared for Parents- Teacher Conference Night at the end of the month.

I spent the past week working on determining when to add and when to subtract. On the first day, my group (four students) were distracted and had a tough time with the content but by the third day, my students were excited and eager to learn. Three out of my four students excelled at the exit ticket and I believe they have a much better understanding of this mathematics concept. I believe that by giving students exit tickets every day, I was able to monitor their progress and growth, which allowed me to meet FEAPs 1D: “Selects appropriate formative assessments to monitor learning.”

On Monday of next week, we will have our Unit 2 test and my collaborating teacher and I will determine which students I need to work with and what we need to focus on. By using both summative and formative assessments to monitor student learning, I am able to meet FEAPs 4C: “Uses a variety of assessment tools to monitor student progress, achievement, and learning gains.”


During this past week, I have created Prezis to integrate technology into the classroom as I teach Social Studies. I have integrated online resources into my Prezi such as Myon books as well. By doing this, I have met FEAP 2G: “Integrates current information and communication technologies.” Due to the collaborative nature of Prezi, all of my presentations are available online for others to use. This week, I continue to teach about individuals from history who showed honesty, courage, and responsibility as 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 was able to meet FEAPs 1A: “Aligns instruction with state-adopted standards at the appropriate level of rigor.”

This week, I wanted to include a variety of individuals for my students to learn about. Below are links to the Prezis for each person that I taught in order:

I included at least on Myon book for each lesson so my students could read and listen to the biographies of each individual. I also used Brainpopjr for some of the Prezis. Then I had the students discuss what character traits each individual had and why through turn-and-talks. The students seemed to enjoy the technology and I was able to walk around more because I used the Mimio so I did not have to wait around by the computer to change slides.

I was really happy to easily integrate this technology into my lessons. I had a little bit of trouble; however, because during my Harriet Tubman lesson, the Brainpopjr video did not work, so I simply had the students learn about Harriet Tubman from the Myon book and from their textbooks. By planning ahead and familiarizing myself with their Social Studies textbook, I was able to easily and quickly modify the lesson when I had problems with the technology.


During this past week, I was observed by the Mathematics content coach. She came in to watch me and my collaborating teacher co-teach (through team teaching) doubles. Below is the email I received from her after the lesson.




The lesson that we co-taught was about Doubles. Students looked at pictures of insects and counted their legs to write a doubles fact and then the class used Part-Part-Whole mats to answer word problems. I believe that the lesson went very well because most students seemed to grasp the concept. At the end of the lesson, the students answered an exit ticket. Out of 17 students, 14 were able to correctly solve the word problem. The students had to draw a model, fill in a Part-Part-Whole mat, and write an addition sentence. The correct answer was 7+7=14, three students wrote: 7+7=16, 7+7=18, and 7+7=14. I think the students had difficulties adding the numbers together because they are used to using smaller numbers. My collaborating teacher and I both want our students to become more familiar with numbers less than twenty so we are emphasizing their use in mathematics.

I will use this information to plan out future small group lessons. On Monday, my students will be taking the mathematics Unit 2 test and I will analyze that data and this data with my collaborating teacher to determine which students need additional support in doubles and doubles plus one.

I think that the challenge is a great idea for a math center that we could implement next week. My collaborating teacher and I have already asked many questions about whether or not an addition sentence is a doubles fact and most students respond correctly. I think a Doubles Detective worksheet would be a great game for students to play to help reinforce doubles facts and doubles plus one.



I am so glad that I have the opportunity to sit down and plan out lessons with my collaborating teacher. I really love our new planning template and I am excited to use it in the upcoming weeks. Next week, I will be teaching the students about primary sources in Social Studies, we will learn about Making a Ten and Adding Three Numbers in Mathematics, in Science, we will learn about Pushes and Pulls, and in Reading we will learn more about informational texts. Next week will also be the first week that I implement a lesson plan based on USF’s lesson plan template. I am a bit nervous but also excited because this will be my first time really analyzing and teaching Science.