Operation: Final Observation

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So last Friday was my final observation in my student teaching classroom–I cannot believe how quickly the time has flown. We are in the midst of exams and exam review here, so my lesson was focusing on different methods students can use to study, while also trying to cater to various learning styles. We began with “inside/outside circle,” then moved onto group work based on mathematic ability thus far and finished with “space race.”

The first method, inside/outside circle, was to show students the importance of saying their thoughts out loud. So often we think we know how to do something, but when it comes time to explain it to another person, we lack the ability to articulate our thoughts. This happens frequently in math, so I wanted to make sure my students understood the importance of this skill. It’s a great study tool for at home, and it was also nice to get up, stretch, move around and communicate with their classmates. It was different than the average classroom flow, so I think many appreciated the change. Of course, there were some nay sayers, and that’s okay! Not every student is going to love every kind of learning and teaching style–heck, some aren’t going to like any! But the point is to try to switch it up so that we reach every type of student.

Next, I broke them into groups based on their grades (there was a purpose to this!) and they worked on their “5-problem concept review.” They had a practice exam to complete during the previous days, and their task was to correct it using the answer key, noting which concepts them missed. Then, they would go to the post on their classroom webpage where I put 5 problems from each concept that were in their book for them to work on. The idea was for them to really focus in on what they don’t know and not waste time on what they do know. “Study smarter, not harder.” The reason I broke them into groups based on class grade, was so that I could spend more of my time working with the students who weren’t excelling in the class, and really focus on bringing them up to speed. For the “book study” type of kids, this was where they hit their “groove.” It allowed students to ask one-on-one questions on concepts with which they were still struggling.

Finally, we wrapped up with “space race,” which is on the Socrative website. There were just five questions with some basic calculations that they were to answer as quickly as possible on their iPads. They were automatically divided up into five teams, and the different colored rockets were shown on the screen. Depending on how many of students from each team got a questions correct, the rocket would move forward a little bit until one was the winner. This activity didn’t take long, and it wasn’t necessarily a study tool, but it did provide some enjoyment for them as they entered into their week of finals. 🙂

Overall, I really enjoyed the lesson today, because it had a combination of both teaching & learning styles. I didn’t have to be up at the front of the room talking at them, and they were able to learn from and teach each other.

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2 thoughts on “Operation: Final Observation

  1. Thanks for sharing this Kalie, I appreciated your thoughtful rational for deciding to go with homogeneous (grade-similar) groups instead of mixed-ability groups. The homogeneous group set up allowed you to focus your attention on helping the students (groups) who needed the most support in preparation for their upcoming exams.

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