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Speaker Reflections


Ms. Puchta (Math Coach)
Ms. Puchta the Math Coach at Trace Crossings came to speak to us in class today. She
shared all about the math curriculum at Trace called Investigations. We were able to go through
the teacher handbooks for this curriculum and see all that they and to offer. Ms. Puchta
mentioned how math has changed over the years and moved towards a more conceptual
understanding with fewer goals per grade level. At Trace each grade had nine different math
units except for Kindergarten who has seven. The resources in the Investigations books were
awesome. They have a section for classroom routine/10 minute math, algebra connections,
teacher talk, practice and review. Along with the regular teacher handbook there is also a
differentiation and intervention guide. Not only do the teachers have awesome resources but each
student has a student handbook with different math strategies they can keep at home for the year.
One of the biggest things in math today, and especially at Trace is having students
respond to one another. The teachers serve as a great facilitator and questioner to get students
really thinking and communicating with one another. At Trace many students use hand signals
that represent “point of interest” and “me” that they use during math time to interact with one
another. In teacher dialogue that is found in Investigations the dialogue is focused all towards
questions to help push students to discover how they got to a certain answer. Mrs. Puchta
provided our class with some guiding questions we can implement in our clinicals and future
classrooms.

Dr. Rogers
This week Dr. Rogers came and spoke to our class about disposition. This is something
that the School of Education values highly. Disposition is a portion of what we are evaluated on,
being part of Samord’s education program. Dr. Rogers had some reminders for us as we venture
into the rest of our time in college and especially our time as pre-service teachers.We have
incredible professors and resources that are available to talk if we ever has questions about
disposition, or anything else for that matter. Disposition encompasses a large part of who we are.
It includes our attitude, the way we carry ourselves, and our professionalism. Disposition is
something we will continue to carry without with us throughout our career and is always subject
to change.
Along with disposition Dr. Rogers also explained to us the importance of data collection.
She shared personal stories and experiences of schools that have used data collection to better the
school, and others who ignored the results. This semester we are completing an action research
project at our current clinical placement. Listening to Dr. Rogers stories made me realize the
importance of data collection and how critical it is in the classroom, and the school systems in
general. There is a lot to be learned from data that is collected in a variety of ways and it is our
responsibility as educators to use what we learn to improve and redirect our instruction. Data
collection is key in driving the way we teach.

Dr. Patti Wood
Dr. Patti Wood is the gifted specialist at Samford University and she came to speak to us
about gifted learners. I found this topic very interesting and I learned an abundance of
information about gifted learners. While we have discussed exceptional learning in class this was
really the first time we throughly went over gifted learning. Dr. Wood provided great resources
and valuable information about differentiating instruction.
One of the first topics addressed by Dr. Wood was the difference between and high
achieving and gifted learner. At first thought they almost sound the same, when in reality they are
fairly different. Meeting the needs of gifted and high achieving students can be done through a
collaboration of both enrichment and acceleration. Enrichment is when current curriculum is
further advanced whereas acceleration in moving students through curriculum at a faster pace.
Another point that will be important to remember when working with gifted students is to not
just continually give them more work, but more advanced and complex work instead. More work
is not what gifted students need and it could even cause them to become bored.
While differentiation is needed for gifted learners, it is also needed to meet the needs of
all learners. Some of the strategies she shared with us included cubing, questioning strategies,
thinking triangles, and choice boards. All of these methods include using Bloom’s Taxonomy in
order to ask higher level thinking questions. We were able to practice in small groups coming up
with our on questions using Bloom’s Taxonomy. Dr. Wood’s presentation was very effective in
educating our class on working with gifted learners.