Grade and Subject Specific

Grade and Subject Specific (8th-grade Math)

Observation Notes (What did you see?)

In this room I saw graphing paper, graphing calculators, and scientific calculators.  I saw math posters around the room used for reference. I saw the use of geometric shaped tiles used as visual aids. Materials may differ but practices could apply to all grade levels and content areas.

Similar, corresponding sides, and corresponding angles were vocabulary terms written on the white board. Humor and encouragement were used to overcome math anxiety. The teacher used informal language and responded to put downs kindly.

I saw general strategies applied to specific content. The teacher used content specific vocabulary, asked questions, and had other students to help a struggling student. I saw the teacher emphasizing differences in similar concepts, and implementing guided practice.

Classroom management issues interfered with content. I wondered if 8th graders are more defiant or teacher didn’t foster respect. One student had a cell phone confiscated. Two students were poking and kicking at each other in the back of the room. Students spoke out of turn and socialized when they were supposed to be working in groups.

Reflection (What do you think? How will this affect your teaching?)

I think the school provided resources that promote learning. Posters can clutter walls if students don’t look at them but can be effective visual aids and some LD students pick up information from them without teacher assistance. I only observed math so I don’t know how to contrast.

Word walls help students pick up new vocabulary especially if they are referred to throughout the lesson. When I was teaching, I didn’t tell enough jokes even if students find them corny they do lighten the mood. I can provide encouragement easily but I still need to work on not reacting to students putting each other down emotionally.

I think a lot of good methods and strategies could be applied to math and science. I could talk to more math and science teachers and find out what strategies they have found most effective in math and science but I also need to try different theories out and see what works best for me. Also, some strategies are more effective with particular students.

I thought this class was less well-behaved than the other classes I observed. While the teacher was walking me back to the other classroom we discussed why. The students didn’t know how to do what the teacher was asking of them and got frustrated. That looked like a sick cycle to me and I don’t know how to stop it. These kids seemed to have more skills in middle school than what I saw teaching high school. I wonder if my high school students forgot more or these middle school students had more opportunities or what.

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