EMTH 200: Final Reflection

I have learned a lot this semester and hopefully will be able to take what I have learned and apply it to the classroom.  With only six people, including myself, in my EMTH class this semester, I was able to be in a classroom environment where I felt safe to express my thoughts and opinions on different subjects that were discussed in class.  The readings and topics that were brought up in class were always interesting because they were relevant things that are brought up in the classroom.  A problem solving perspective is what this class is based on and I think it is a good for a mathematics classroom but might not be able to be used in every mathematics class.

For instance, we were asked to do a Unit Plan as a final project.  My group decided to do a unit from Foundations of Mathematics 11, Systems of Linear Inequalities.  We found it difficult to integrate the problem solving perspective into all of the lesson plans.  I felt like we did a good job of incorporating the perspective in the unit plan though.  The activities we planned for the unit plan were activities I would use if I was teaching this class and were from a problem solving perspective.  I feel like it would not be possible to incorporate the problem solving perspective all of the time in every mathematical class I will be teaching.  I think sometimes students will learn best in a lecture style class from time to time.  On the other hand, I think students can benefit from activities and discussions from a problem solving perspective.

There are many things that I will take away from this class.  For instance, the idea of being stuck was talked about in one of our textbooks.  They reinforce the idea that it is okay to be stuck.  When students are stuck, teachers should not just give the answer to students but they should talk about the question with their students.  See where the students thought process is going and help them acquire the answer.  Another thing I will take away from this class is assessment.  There are many different ways teachers can assess students.  It does not just have to be a unit test at the end of every unit.  There can be projects, quizzes, exit slips, assessment by observations, homework assignments and other ways to assess students.  I think that is an important thing to keep in mind because some students may not be good test takers and there are other ways they can demonstrate what they have learned.  Unit tests are good but I think that it could be combined with other ways of assessment.  Those are just two examples of things I will take away from this class, but there are other things I have learned that will help me as a teacher.

Overall, this was a great class and I am glad I was able to take it.  With the variety of topics, I was able to learn and discuss things with my classmates, which helped me grow as a person and a teacher.

Culturally Responsive Classroom Management

We were asked this week in my education class to read an article titled Culturally Responsive Classroom Management: Awareness Into Action written by Saundra Tomlinson-Clarke.  I think this is a really important topic because there are many different cultures in schools and it is good to be aware of this fact.  This reflection will respond to the different strategies that are listed in the article to help have a culturally responsive classroom management.

The first one I will talk about is creating caring, inclusive classrooms.  I think having that sort of environment also creates a safe place where students can feel free to talk.  Also, they might feel like they can trust the teacher which is a good foundation for the relationship.  The article talks about that a teacher can greet students at the door as they come in.  Also, if English is some student’s second language, greet them in their first language.  It could be a good idea for teachers to share their interests and activities with students as well.  Those are just a couple examples that the article talked about which I think are good ideas.

Working with families is the second thing I want to discuss.  I think this plays an important role because if the teacher can get to know the parents of the students it can help them get to know the students more.  Knowing the parents can tell a teacher a lot about the families’ values, believes and culture.  The article states that it may be difficult for the teacher and parents to know each other well and work together because of the differences between cultures.  For instance, as stated in the article, parents and teachers may have different views on what proper school behavior is.  A teacher may want students to participate in class discussion but it might not be in a families’ culture to do so.  I think working with families is very important though, so teachers should do their best to get to know the students’ parents so that teachers can get to know the different cultures that are in their classroom.

Overall, this was an interesting article because having a Culturally Responsive Classroom Management is something I want to strive to have in my classroom.

Assessment

We were asked to do two readings for this week surrounding the topic of assessment.  The first article is titled Learning to Love Assessment written by Carol Ann Tomlinson.  The second reading was Chapter six, titled Asessmen5, from a book titled Our Words, Our Ways.  This reflection will look at different parts of the readings and discuss different aspects of the readings.

There were ten different understandings about classroom assessment that Tomlinson looked at.  I will look at a couple of them specifically and discuss whether I agree with it or not.  The first Understanding that she talks about is that Informative assessment isn’t just about tests.  I agree with this statement because I think that some students have trouble taking tests but they could present the information they know in another way.  For instance, a project could be done instead of a test.  I do think tests are necessary sometimes but I think it is good to realize that there are other ways to assess students.

Another thing that I thought was interesting was the ninth Understanding she talked about which was that Informative assessment isn’t just about finding weaknesses.  I find that interesting because when I get a mark back I look to see how many I got wrong rather than how many I got right (sort of a glass half full sort of thing).  I think it is good to point out to student where there strengths are, not only tell them what they are doing wrong.  In the article she says that she started looking at what students could do instead of focusing on what they could not do and that all students brought strengths to the table and it was her job to make sure those strengths were brought to the surface.  I think that is a good way at looking at assessment.

There is a section of the chapter in Our Words, Our Ways that talks about the Culture and Assessment,  One part talks about how some Aboriginal students may be less likely to take part in class discussions or participate a lot in groups because of their own culture and values.  I think that is why it is so important for teachers to know their students because a teacher might get frustrated because a student is not participating but the student might not be participating because of their beliefs.  If a teacher knows that a student has those values though, they might not mark them on their participation and find a different way to assess them.

I think assessment is an interesting topic because there is always a lot to talk about.  I found both of the readings interesting and filled with a lot of information.

Lesson Plan Revamped

In my education class we were asked to redo our first lesson plan.  I am proud of the first lesson plan I made but there are definitely things that I have improved by redoing the lesson plan.  Here is my first lesson plan and here is the redid lesson plan.  The redid lesson plan also includes guided notes, at the bottom of the lesson plan, for the students to fill out while I am explaining a couple definitions.

Goals

In an education class this past week we were asked to pick different goals that we wanted to accomplish or work on throughout the course of the semester.  I have chosen three goals that I want to work on for a variety of reasons.

1. Lesson Planning – iI have never created or presented a lesson plan but I am given the opportunity to learn how to create one and present them in two education classes I am taking this semester.  Lesson Planning is something I want to work on because it is important I think as a teacher to have detailed lesson plans.  In my education math class I am able to create a unit plan with two other people in the class and I think this will help me get better at lesson planning.  In my education class I am able to write and create lesson plans that I will use in the field this semester.  I think this will help me because I will be able to get feedback from my professor, peers and my co-operating teacher.

2. Organization – Honestly, this would be one of my goals even if I was not in education.  I think that organization is good in general, no matter what a persons profession is.  Being more organized will help me inside and outside of the classroom will help me in life because it will make everything easier.  I need to not procrastinate anymore because that is a nasty habit and being more organized will help that.  I know this is a goal I can achieve, I just need to put the time and effort into it.

3. Classroom Management – The last goal that I have for this semester is classroom management.  Specifically the timing of my lessons that I will be teaching.  I think being more organized and working on my lesson plans will help my classroom management.  This goal will not happen instantly, but I know that if I work hard on the first two goals I have, then I will be close to achieving this goal as well.