February 11, 2014
Recap: Today was the first day I was teaching my own lesson. My lesson was about ratios at which I used a powerpoint and set of handouts that the students followed along in and filled in blanks and questions. I had used a lot of “I do, We do, You do” examples and had centered my examples around information that was relevant to them (such as Finding Nemo). Some things that were very positive from the lesson was that all the students maintained focus because they were all interested in the material and had handouts to refer back to when they had a question. Also, time management was right on scale. This was very surprising because time management was one of the things I was more worried about- I thought for sure I would be overtime. One of my favorite moments of this lesson was the attitude of one particular student. The student had stated at the beginning of the lesson before I had started teaching that “I’m not good at math, it’s always boring”. Half way through the lesson that same student had said “wow, this is actually pretty fun, it’s actually making sense”. That was a very reassuring comment and made me feel much more confident with my lesson. At the end of the lesson, I had asked all students to answer the one assessment question I had on the back of the handout. Once they were finished, they were asked to raise there hand and I went around to see if they had gotten it right. Based on my assessment, all the students had understood the definition of a ratio and could write it in the 3 different ways! This was a big victory I took out of my lesson.
Things that I would have changed: There was 2 things that I would have changed in my lesson if I could do it again. The first thing would be to sync my handouts better with my slides: I had questions on the handout (not requiring simplifying of ratios) and the answers on my slide with the answers simplified (ex. showing 3/7 instead of 6/14). This caused a little bit of confusion and a lot of questions. The second thing would be, that I would have planned more time to go over simplifying ratios. With the inconsistency of the slides, and not enough teaching time with simplifying ratios, I think only about half the class had walked away understanding this concept.
What I have learnt: On the professional development data sheet I had made the goal to make sure all my students were understanding my instructions as well as the material. One of the new strategies I had used, one of which I had gotten from a teacher from my high school, was the thumbs up method (asking students how well they understand the material responding by either giving a thumbs up if they understood, thumbs down if they needed further instruction, and then in between). This had worked wonderfully and had given me the information I needed as to how well my students were understanding. From this, the big lesson of the day was how beneficial it is to informally assess your students understanding, so correction can occur sooner, and you can fix the problem before marks are given.