Technology in the Classroom

Technology in the Classroom

A huge debate in schools is whether to use technology in the classroom. I myself believe that we should at times incorporate it into our lessons, we live in a very technological advance world so why would we try to hide it in our classroom. I understand that technology at times can be distracting to kids but maybe if we allowed technology to be used for educational purposed the students will be too engaged to be distracted by what else is on there.

When I was in high school my math class was an online version, where our teacher broadcasted her lesson from the neighbouring school. Through our SmartBoard we got to do variety of activities that kept us engaged and interacting with everyone which was super cool. I know that some schools don’t need to have a online classes but that shouldn’t stop them from using different technology in the classroom. An interesting graphing system is Desmos, which allows students to plot points, graph and solve equations. For visual learners this is an awesome tool to have. Using technology can help students who are different learners than how the teacher teachers. It benefits everyone and keeps students engaged.

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Critiscism in the Classroom

Critiscism in the Classroom

In this weeks EMTH class we started off with presenting our first assignments on inquiry. During the presentations the observers were to critique each others presentations. Being able to give good criticism is an essential skill and is something that most people have to work on. Saying “I really liked this part of the assignment” is not good criticism, when you critique you need to be able to give good feedback to our peers and students. Why was it good? What made it good? These are things to ask yourself when you’re giving feedback. Criticism is not made to make the person feel bad but to help them to see improvements for themselves. Something that I need to still work on is being able to give criticism that is not always a compliment but something that needs improvement on or could be done differently.

During my groups presentation we received mostly positive criticism. The comment that really stuck with me was from Zach, who said something along the lines that I have a good speaking voice. That I was able to speak louder when I wanted to emphasize a point and that I could also speak quieter when it was less important. This really stuck with me because it’s not something that I plan to do, it is just something that I do. I think that this skill is beneficial in a classroom because you don’t just want to speak in monotone, that is like the quickest way to lose the students attention. However, I don’t think this is a new skill that I have learned recently. I have received a couple other compliments on my “teacher’s voice” so thankfully this is something that just comes naturally for me.

Teaching students how to critique one another and there own work is an essential skill the classroom. It builds confidence in students that their work is good quality without the relying on the teachers judgement. Bringing in other forms of assessment can help the student in many ways in and outside the classroom.

so I am fortunate enough that this skill comes naturally to me. I think teaching students how to properly give feedback to each other is an essential skill that they need to know. As well students who can give feedback to others help themselves so they can realize the mistakes or problems in their own work. If they can pick it out in their peers work they will hopefully be able to do the same when the

Assessment in Mathematics

Assessment in Mathematics

I really hate the fact that I didn’t blog earlier this week because now I am struggling to remember what exactly happened in class (whoops!) but thankfully I had written some notes that required some deciphering so let’s hope for the best. During last weeks class we spent most of the time discussing assessment. How do we assess? Can you use more than one assessment for one assignment? Do we assess neatness and legibility? Creativity and imagination? Proper procedure and evidence of work? In a math class these are some of the questions we have to think about before we can assess our students.

Assessment can be put into three categories: assessment for learning, assessment of learning and assessment as learning. Because this semester I am taking an assessment class these terms weren’t new to me, however I still was struggle trying to grasp the concept of assessment as learning. Thankfully I wasn’t the only one who struggled with assessment as learning and we ended up having a good class discussion about it. We came to the conclusion that assessment as learning was students having the opportunity to use assessment to further their own skills. They are able to set goals to better themselves. Obviously the most common assessment as leaning is peer and self assessment, however it is hardly ever used in a mathematics class. When I was in school I hardly remember self assessing myself to see what I could do better and how I was planning on doing it. I think giving the students the chance to assess themselves can be very beneficial in a math classroom. Giving the students the chance to assess their own learning helps them realize what they know and what they don’t. As well with peer and self assessment it helps students learn to give feedback which is also beneficial for themselves. When students can correct the work of their peers they are less likely to do the same mistake themselves. This way allows students to know exactly what the teacher is looking for and help them better their own work.

Assessment for learning is commonly known as diagnostic assessment or formative assessment. Both of these are meant to help the students by showing the teachers what their progress is. They are usually used for feedback to help the students improve their work. However diagnostic assessment is usually used for prior knowledge, to see where the students are before a topic. (i.e. KWL chart, frayed chart, yes/no boards, entrance quizzes etc.) While formative assessment is usually ongoing, students give work to the teacher that needs to be corrected but is not for grades. I think it is like draft work for an essay or writing piece. Most students have peers, teachers or other people in their life look over their writing for mistakes or corrections. Which is like formative assessment none of the work is for grades but to help improve the students learning. (i.e. journals, draft work, exit slips, etc.) In math it can be hard to have this kind of assessment because math when I was school used to be “you’re either right or you’re wrong, there was no in between or explaining you’re answer”, but I think allowing students to reflective and explain their work betters their understanding and the teachers understanding.

Lastly, assessment of learning which is more commonly known as summative assessment. This kind of assessment is to figure out what the students know and do not know while putting a grade on it. Both assessment of learning and assessment for learning are important for students understanding however, I believe that helping students improve on their work is more important than just giving a grade. Unfortunately, society doesn’t want that. We live in a world that is grades driven, but what happens to the student when they are given the grade? They look at the mark and put it away even if there is feedback on the work it’s hardly ever read. I would love to just work with students on improving themselves and not worry about grades but unfortunately that is something that I can not do. Mathematics usually has a lot of summative assessment there is usually very little feedback, I think that this is something that needs to be changed. We need to get away from just giving marks and help students focus on actually understanding math, which is the most important thing.

What makes a good question?

What makes a good question?

This weeks EMTH class we talked about questioning. There are many reasons to question, you can assess the students, you can find out any prior knowledge that they may have, differentiate instruction and you can understand the way the students think. Along with different reasons to question there is variety of different types of questions. You can ask simple yes or no, reflective/discussion, “get to know you”, open-ended and much, much more.

In an inquiry classroom, questioning is an important factor to make it run smoothly. Without good questioning in an inquiry based approach than you risk the fact that students will become uninterested and/or unengaged in the lesson. Questioning requires students to dig deeper and not just scratch the surface. Open-ended questions are the best type of questions for an inquiry approach. They allow students to take control of their own learning and come to conclusions themselves. But the problem with open-ended questions is that it can be a lot of work for the teacher, especially in the beginning when he/she may not have much experience. As teachers gain more experience they have the ability to think better on their feet. I think that thinking on you feet is something you learn and that the more experience you have the better you get at it.

In inquiry based lesson you want the students to be able to come to decisions themselves. When students are allowed to learn on their own they are able to relate it to their personal life and have a better understanding of it. When it comes to students taking control of their learning you risk the chance that the students will have a question for you, but you don’t want to just give them the answer. You have to create leading questions for students that guide them in direction that they need to go however you have to balance between being too vague that they still don’t understand and being too descriptive that they don’t have to do any additional research. This helps students when they are stuck but doesn’t give them the answer.

Teachers ask 43.7 questions per hour but only 3.6 are high order. If we can increase the amount of high order questions we ask we can help students learn better, which is the goal for every teacher.

Cases Studies from Artzt

Cases Studies from Artzt

This week in our EMTH 351 class we were discussing chapter 8 from Becoming a Reflective Mathematics Teacher by Alice F. Artzt. What really caught my attention was the Case of Maria, which was interesting because she had her class chorus respond to her questions. Right away I knew that this wouldn’t be beneficial in a classroom, most of the students would be off task and either not respond or only pretend to respond. As well Maria was only able to hear the “right” answer. When you ask questions and expect only a chorus response you lose a lot of your students attention. Personally, i would never want to use this strategy in my classroom, it is just pulling the wool over the teachers eyes. You “think” that all the students are understanding what is going on but that’s not the case. Especially in a math class where it is sometimes crucial for students to understand the basics before carrying on. If they don’t understand the base knowledge than it can almost impossible to build on.

Another thing that I thought was interesting during this case was how influential the Coop teacher can be. As a new teacher (especially one who isn’t finished school yet) it can be extremely frightening to disagree with them. When going into a classroom that is not yours, you are not going to disrupt what they have going on unless they give you full support. I think in Maria’s case that the chorus response was greatly influenced by the Coop, Maria thought she saw her Coop was getting great responses so she thought it would work well in her class. As a new teacher she was excited to have some students answering her questions even though there wasn’t any benefits from it. I hope as a new teacher that I don’t fall into routine that doesn’t work with my students.

Another really interesting thing that came up during this class was questioning in the classroom. I think that it really important to be able to create “good” questions for students, but it is something that teachers need to work on. As an inexperienced teacher I know it will take sometime to come up with “good” questions and that I will have to come prepared to my class with the questions that I want to ask. As I gain more experience I will hopefully not have to be as detailed as I have to be now.

Motivational Strategies

Motivational Strategies

The main topic for this class was about motivational strategies. In groups we talked about ways we could introduce a topic to get students engaged and interested. If we can’t get or keep the attention of our students then are not going to be able to get the deeper understanding of the topic.

Shortly after we went into smaller groups where we each had to come up with a lesson and the main focus was being able to get the attention of students and have them excited about the topic. My group choose the Pythagorean Theorem, what I liked about our choice is that we were going to have the students come to the conclusion where the formula comes from. I think that it would be beneficial because the students are able to actually see how and why the formula is the way it is.

Secondary Mathematics

Secondary Mathematics

This semester we are requested to blog every week about our class. Our first class started off with talking about different instructional strategies and the one that is talked about in many classes is the student-centered approach.

Many students who have already graduated can say that most of their classes were lecture based which means, the teachers stood in the front of the classroom wrote notes, told them what they needed to know and then gave them an assignment that was similar to what was taught.  I know that when I was school that was how most of the classes were taught, we had very little choice in what we wanted to learn.  This is how student-centered is different. The students get to choose what they want to learn, how they want to learn and how they will get assessed with the teachers guiding them.

To this approach you really have to know your students as well a good questioning ability. You want the students to come to the conclusion themselves without you straight out telling them. This can be very difficult for many teachers, the fear of allowing students to take charge can make teachers resort to teaching lecture based. I think this is something that many teachers have to work on and I’m ready to try this in my own classroom.