ECS 300: Classroom Management

In my ECS 300 class we were asked to look at a blog that talks about classroom management.  I found a teachers blog that includes her classroom management plan.  She also includes a classroom management portfolio that is on a Google doc.  She talks about many things including: Rules for the classroom, a philosophy of the classroom, establishing roles and different consequences for different actions (fighting, bullying, cheating, etc.).  The main concepts is that she wants her classroom to have a regular procedure, there are different rules and any rules she has will be enforced 100% of the time and there are rewards and consequences for different actions the students do.  It should be noted that she made this plan for elementary school classes because she is teaching kindergarten to grade six.

The following will be specific things about her classroom management portfolio, some of the things I agree with and others I do not.  If students are caught cheating, she said she will deduct points the first time and then give them a zero if it happens again.  I think that is fair but for my class I would give them a zero if it was their first time cheating.  I guess it might also depend on the school a person is teaching at but she has a zero tolerance for fighting and I agree with that.  Some schools may have a zero tolerance rule, but it may be different at other schools.  Under rewards for students she has ‘homework pass’ and I do not agree with that.  I think homework should be done by all students and not doing homework should not be a reward.  I think if you are going to reward a student for something it should not being able to not do their homework.  However, I do like the idea of a phone call or a note sent home as a reward because for the most part, phone calls and notes are usually only because the student did something wrong.  I think it would be nice for parents to just hear that their child is doing well.

I think she has some good ideas for classroom management and I agree with most of the things she stated but there are some things that I do not agree with.  Overall though, I think her philosophy for classroom management would work out well for younger grades.


EMTH Reflection: Multiplying Fractions

In my EMTH 200 class we did a group essay that talked about different perspectives on problem solving in mathematics.  So in my group, we each chose a perspective and talked about it.  I decided to do the semiotic perspective.  Semiotics is basically the study of signs and symbols.  I found the subject fascinating because I had never heard of semiotics before this assignment.  But people use semiotics in their everyday life without even realizing it.  Whether it is the signs that are used for driving or kids drawing a diagram of where they want to go trick-or-treating.  So this assignment helped me realize how much we rely on semiotics without even realizing it, especially in math.

When I was in my field placement a few weeks ago and I was looking through a grade eight math textbook because the students were having a unit test on fractions and I wanted to see what all they have learnt on fractions.  I looked at the way they demonstrated how to multiply fractions.  I know that the simple way for students to multiply fractions is simply to multiple the numerators and the denominators and then you get the answer but I think it is good to have the students be able to visualize why that works.  Diagrams are a great tool for math, so in the textbook they used diagrams to help students visualize how to multiple fractions.

Example: 3/5 x 2/3 = _______

In the textbook, they first demonstrated what 3/5 looked like horizontally.

Then they demonstrated what 2/3 looked like vertically

Then they put the two diagrams together and the part that was shaded with both the pink and blue was the product.


So the numerator would be six because that is how many squares are shaded with both colors and the denominator would be 15 because that’s how many squares there are in total.  Also, when you do multiply the numerators and the denominators you get the same answer (3×2=6 and 5×3=15).  I think this way gives students a good representation of how to multiply fractions using semiotics.  This is just one example that I noticed when browsing through the textbook, but there are many more examples that use semiotics whether people notice or not.

I think semiotics is a great method for problem solving in mathematics and I am glad I had the opportunity to learn more about the topic with the assignment that I did.  When I am teaching, I will be sure to bring up semiotics so that students are more aware about it.

EMTH Reflection: Puzzle Activities

In class, we were asked to think of an activity that could be done for a certain outcome.  The outcome is W10.2:  Analyze puzzles and games that involve spatial reasoning using problem solving strategies.

The indicator that could be used is indicator c:  Create a variation on a puzzle or a game and describe a strategy for solving the puzzle or winning the game.

This is from the Saskatchewan  Curriculum for Workplace and Apprenticeship 10.

The introduction for this activity would be giving students a handout of different number of puzzle games (Sudoko, Ken Ken, Magic Square).  Then as a class, we would go over all of the puzzle games in case the students have not seen or heard of them before.

The assignment is that after the students look at different math games they create their own math game!  This could be used as an assignment that is done during class, or a homework assignment or even a project that the students could have a week to work on and then hand it in.

This is an example of what the assignment could look like: (This would be for an assignment that is completed in class)

You have been asked by the Leader Post to create a new math game for the paper.  This could be based on the ones looked at in class or use your imagination and different math skills to create the game.  The only restriction is that there needs to be a way to win the game.

After you have completed the game, switch with someone else in the class and both of you will do each other’s game or puzzle.

There will then be a class discussion on different strategies and techniques that were involved for making and completing the game.

I think this is a good activity for students because they are able to apply what they know about mathematics and puzzles to create their own game.  In class, we also talked about Blooms revised taxonomy.  Our professor wanted us to incorporate our activity in the taxonomy.  The example used in this post would fall under the category of ‘creating’ in Bloom’s taxonomy.  The category is described as: Putting information together in an innovative way.

ECS 300 Reflection #2: Field Trip!

We were able to go on a field trip with the class this week to the First Nations University on the campus that my classmate and I attend.  We were able to go on a tour of the university with a tour guide and then had an elder speak to us for a bit.  This was a great experience because we were able to learn different things about the university that I did not know from the tour and I learnt different things from the elder.  I find that even though I have a class at First Nations University and walk past the halls of the university a few times a week I never stopped and looked and thought about everything in the university.  With this tour though, it allowed me ‘stop and smell the roses’.  I think this was a good opportunity for the students because they were able to not only visit a place that many of them had never been before but they were able to learn different things as well.  I know that I would have enjoyed that opportunity if I was in elementary school or high school.

I think my classmate and I are lucky because we got to see what a field trip was like from a teacher’s perspective compared to a student’s perspective.  One thing I did observe was how well the students behaved for the tour guide and the elder but in the classroom sometimes the students would have to be told to keep working or stop talking.

I hope that the students were able to take away that there are many different options for university.  You can register through the First Nations University and still take classes from the different universities on campus, which is something that perhaps not all the students may not have known.

Overall, this was a good field placement because it gave us a different opportunity for our field placement that not all pre-service teachers get to experience this.  I figure that I am going to be planning different field trips throughout my career, so it is good to have this experience of a field trip now.

ECS 300 Reflection #1: First day of Field Placement

I am in my second year of university and started my placement last week at a Catholic elementary school.  I have been looking forward to placement but I must admit: I was fairly nervous but excited to start something that I have been looking forward to from the start of the school year.

For the first day of placement, we were asked to think of an ‘ice breaker’ game, just a game that will help us get to know the students in the class.  We thought of a few ideas but then decided to go with a game that would not be too long but still helped us getting to know the students.  We had the students roll a die and then the number on the die corresponded to a question from a list of questions we had prepared ahead of time.  I thought the game went fairly well because we actually went through the game twice because the students were enjoying themselves.

The students had health with a different teacher so my classmate and I decided to go to the staffroom with our co-operating teacher to get to know each other a little more and get to know some things about the school.  We talked about the lesson that we would be teaching, I get to teach an arts education lesson.  I am looking forward to getting to teach different subjects besides math (which is my major) because it will give me a chance to teach different things that I may have to teach in the future.  I think it is a good idea to be getting some practice at different subjects that I feel are not my strong point because it will help me in the future if I have to teach things that is not math.

The students had a Language Arts class after our ice breaker game.  This gave us a chance to observe the class and his styles of teaching, they were learning about different literary devices that are used in writing.  I liked the way he set up the lesson because on the power point he would have a definition and a couple examples.  Then he would ask a couple students for an example.  He would also expand on the notes on the power point so he was not just reading off the slides.  I like this style of teaching because I think it is good for visual and auditory learners.  There was then an activity after the power point was done that was fun for the students but also demonstrated if they understood the definitions that were talked about in the power point.  I noticed that during the game one group was having a little bit of trouble so he went over and helped them.  I like that because he helped the group but in a subtle way so they were not embarrassed.  Overall, I thought it was a good lesson and it went well.

The last bit the students were working on their science posters about the Rock Cycle and other homework they had.  This gave us a chance to walk around the classroom, see what the students are working on and making conversation with the students to get to know them better.  Overall it was a good first day of placement.  I am excited to start teaching lessons because it will be the first time I am creating a lesson plan and teaching it.

EMTH Reflection: Habits of Mind

In class we discussed different habits of mind that are involved in math, so in this reflection I am going to focus on habits of mind (also known as modes of thought) and look in depth at a few of them.  In Chapter three of the textbook teaching Mathematics through Problem Solving Grades 6-12 written by Harold Schoen and Randall Charles it talks about the different types of habits of mind.

The first habit of mind I will talk about is guessing.  I think guessing can be useful when doing math problems because it can help a person see if their answer is reasonable or not.  For example, if a person is doing a math problem like 593+280, you can guess what the answer will be and then do the math problem you can see if it is close to the guess.  If it is very off, the person may have done the question wrong.  I will do the example to demonstrate what I mean.

Guess: (using rounding to the nearest 50): 600  Actual Answer: 593

+300                               +280

900                                   873

The guess is a close estimate, which means that there is a good chance it is the right answer.  On the other hand, if a person did the adding wrong and ended up getting an answer of 773 for instance, a person might go back and check their work.  I like this habit of mind because reasonably guessing can help a person go forward and find the answer.

The second habit of mind I will talk about is conserve memory.  This is basically saying that students should try and memorize as little as possible.  I like this habit of mind because I believe students should always try and know and understand a concept compared to memorizing a concept.  For some students they do not see a difference between the two and as a teacher one of my goals is for students to understand the difference between them and see why I prefer understanding a concept over memorizing something.  I know from talking to some students that are in high school that they do not understand the difference between memorizing and understanding a concept which is why I think it is important to emphasize the difference between the two of them and encourage students to always try and understand and know a concept compared to memorizing it.

Overall, these are just two examples of habit of minds but there are many more that can be looked at that were talked about in the textbook.  These are two that I can relate to and strongly believe in which is why I wanted to talk about them in this reflection.