October 31, 2011

Week 10: Recapitulation

My closure dilemma was solved with this baby: Recapitulation! Say that ten times fast. My regular algebra kids were impressed with such a huge word. Some even practiced pronouncing it correctly and showed off their skills to me. It was pretty funny.

Anyways, back to recapitulation. At the end of each lesson, I put up a question or a prompt that is meant to "recap" the lesson. I have asked students to list the important facts of a lesson, solve a problem, explain a process, think of a headline to summarize the lesson, and write potential quiz questions.

So far it seems to be working. All, except two or three students, are able to complete the recap by the time class is over. I've had to adjust my teaching, and I now force myself to end about ten minutes early. I have yet to see any results (i.e. test scores), but I will know soon enough if this is providing extra reinforcement or not.

October 10, 2011

Week 9: Closure

Teaching two algebra block classes, I forget to wrap up in my station. It never occurred to me that even doing small group work, I should still be doing a closure activity with students (duh...I know). Enter my focus for week 9.

My mentor gave me a list of closure activities that were actually practical to math. YAY! I, unfortunately, did not get to test run all of them. I stuck with the basic think-pair-share and summarizing key points aloud.

Right now we are on fall break, so I am thinking of ideas to incorporate more closure into my lessons. I am thinking I could do something like a bellwork at the end of the hour, except it would be focused solely on closure. I look forward to doing other less commonly used forms of closure, so this focus will continue in a couple weeks from now. In the meantime, I can relax. :)

October 4, 2011

Week 8: Spreading the wealth

Last week I focused on tracking participation. I continued on that focus this week as well, but I added another element. This week I wanted to make sure I was not always calling on those students who were not listening to me during a lesson. I noticed from last week that when I saw a student off task, I was more likely to call on that student to answer one of my questions. I wanted to even out the attention I give to different students.

For the most part, instead of calling on the student(s), I was able to give a warning or consequence. I reminded myself not to call on the rule breakers. I made sure to have different people go up to the Starboard. Overall, I believe my participation is going pretty well!

Something I continue to struggle with is distributing my help to students. Some students really need more individual attention than I have time for. I want to help them, but when I have four other students asking for help as well...I get flustered. Oye. What to do, what to do? So far, I usually end up moving on and asking a stronger math student to help out. That's all I've got. I need more ideas!