First Day of Teaching!

Today was a fairly good day.  My partner, Ali, and I team taught a grade 11 mathematics course where we investigated the relationship between sine/cosine/tangent of an obtuse angel that the sine/cosine/tangent of its supplementary angle.  The lesson overall went fairly well.  It wasn’t super great but it also wasn’t a complete disaster.

The lesson plan actually pretty much went according to plan except for a few minor things.  There were a few good, yet unexpected things that happened during this lesson:

– Ali decided to do random questioning during the discussion of the chart which got students to pay attention and allowed for a variety of students to answer questions.

– I had noticed that the students seemed bored after completing the second row of the chart as a class.  So, instead of completing all the rows, I ask students to check their work with a partner later on and that we would just move on to answer the big question of the different types of patterns revealed in this chart.

There were a few things that Ali and I have changed to our lesson plan since we taught this lesson:

– In the lesson, we went through the chart provided in the textbook and didn’t provide any examples outside of what was given in the table.  The change that we made were to reorganize the table so that students could have a clearer visualization of the relationships between the angles and to include examples of the relationships that were not in the chart so students can have more examples to see.

– We added a few more questions to the assignment.  In the lesson students had roughly an extra 10 minutes of class time.  They were all caught up on homework so they stood around talking.  We just added an extra two questions onto this assignment and completed a homework check at the end of the period instead of at the beginning of the next.

– Also, we added a classroom management strategy.  During the discussion of the chart, one student was answering all the questions, except one or two.  So, to get other students answer, we will be calling off names off the attendance sheet (since we still don’t know names!).  We tried this later on in the lesson and it worked great! All students were trying out the answers and became prepared in case they got called on.  Also, Ali asked a student to answer a question who was busy talking with a friend.  After this, it seemed to make the student pay attention to class and not talk with his friend.

Just a general comment about my growth so far: I feel that my questioning is getting better.  During orientation last week, it felt as if I was only asking basic questions and that I was asking those same questions over and over again to the point where I was annoying students.  Today, I feel as though my questions were actually deeper questions and they encouraged students to ask me questions if they were stuck (which before they would just say they were fine and go back to working).

So already I can see myself improving from this experience (small improvements, but improvements none the less!).

One thing that I am excited for is tomorrow.  I am teaching a lesson on proofs that I changed last minute and I am trying it in a style that is considered “out there” for me and is out of my comfort zone.  I originally have planned to teach my lesson using a conversation/guided discussion type lesson; but today, I decided that I wanted try something different and something that might be more engaging then just writing notes on the board.  So, I am teaching proofs using  an already solved proof, but it is cut up into many pieces and the students have to work in partners to put it in the right order.  I discussed this with my partner and cooperating teacher and we are all unsure of how it is going to go (my cooperating teacher has never tried a lesson like this with this particular group of students) but they are interested to see how it goes.  I am very excited but very nervous, but I’m sure all will go well. 🙂

Wish me good luck!!

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3 thoughts on “First Day of Teaching!

  1. Ashley – I’m so impressed with the awesome reflection and adjustments that you’re already demonstrating. It sounds like you and Ali did a great job of thinking on your feet and applying the skills that you possess. How did the lesson go today??

  2. Piecing together the proof… great idea! It probably led to interesting discussion, debate, and lots of connections to various math concepts. I’ll come back later to read how it went! -Kathy

  3. Thanks Kathy and Katia! 🙂 The lesson that I taught using the cut up proofs went okay. If it went according to how I planned it, it went quite well but I made one major flaw in my lesson plan: I put too much emphasis and time (biggest thing I feel went wrong) into the actual putting together of the proof. When it came down to showing students the correct answer to make sure they understood the proof, I feel I didn’t have enough time to explain certain steps that most often caused students grief. Also, I’m not sure if the students actually understood the proof. Looking back at this now, I feel as though I should have done the cosine proof first (which I have planned to do a discussion-based lesson where I will make sure they understand each step, why we did it, and how we decided to do that step). Doing this lesson first would have ensured that they understood proofs and the different steps. The putting together of the sine proof would have just confirmed this understanding and maybe would have made more sense to them.

    One thing that I felt went well was asking questions. I went around asking lots of great questions that got my students thinking and subtly guided them to the right steps which was good.

    Even with the short time that I have been here, I can feel myself growing and becoming a teacher, which both scares and excites me. 🙂

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