That’s a selfie of me reflecting!
During the past quarter of course work and student teaching, I feel I became much more discerning and at the same time more clear about many teaching practices. I think my blogs reflect that. My blog that seems to have provoked others’ thinking the most was about student self assessment, particularly in the primary grades. Comments made on this blog also provoked further thinking from me which are reflected in my comments on the comments.
Part of the Process’ Classroom Community blog inspired me to write a whole blog (which I then linked to in her comments), and then I received quite a lot of comments on my blog about Part of the Process’ blog.
These two blogs both reflect how we pre-service teachers have become part of a teaching community that relies on its members to, not only offer possible solutions to problems, but to push one another’s thinking, which in turn pushes us all forward as a collective group. These two examples of blogs also show how student focused we pre-service teachers have all become. We’re not just concerned with how in the world we are going to become teachers any more. We’re most concerned with how our students are going to become the best learners and how we can instill some self-sufficiency in them to take responsibility for their own learning.
My cooperating teacher put together these math boxes which contain 20 math cubes (10 in each color), 20 counters, dice, and cards numbered 1 – 20. Our first graders use them daily and often use laminated cards as well to build ten frames or part-part-whole models. (She also has place value cards which we have not needed to use yet). The standards these first graders are expected to meet are challenging, and new concepts are often presented before they have had time to automatize the previous ones. Using these manipulatives and tools has really enabled these six and seven year olds to develop a true number sense and have reference points for how to begin when concepts stretch their thinking.
I especially see the power of the students’ visually representing math and being able to move numbers themselves to show the action happening within equations through watching the growth of a student who transferred into the class mid-year. This student had a lot of facts memorized, but we soon realized a deep understanding of the part-part-whole model and the equal sign meaning “the same as” was lacking. Just this week, as we looked at addition and subtraction fact families, this student went from having no idea how to write the subtraction sentences when written in part=whole-part order to being able to build models of the fact families on a board and then transfer the parts and whole into subtraction number sentences.
These tools will definitely be used in my classroom next year!
This week I was thrilled to finally see a little bit of technology being used in the classroom. At the end of science lessons about the water cycle and temperature, my cooperating teacher had the students take turns using the Seasons app on her iPad under the docucam so all could see. (I did tell my cooperating teacher about how she can reflect the iPad on to her computer for future use). Even though this app says it is for preschoolers and kindergarteners, our first graders loved finding the unsuitable clothes or items in each picture for whichever season was showing. This app is definitely better than a worksheet where students might circle what was out of place for the season, because when they clicked on the incorrect item, it changed to an appropriate one. All of the students were engaged and dying to have a turn!