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Sarah Thomas

CEDC 773 Fieldwork & Teaching Seminar


Professor Sonu
Spring 2016

Observation 2 Reflection
After last semesters unsuccessful math lesson, I was anxious about diving into
math again, but also felt it was important for my growth and development as a teacher.
After speaking with my cooperating teacher about where the class would be in the
curriculum, we decided I would teach a lesson on estimating. The class textbook teaches
estimating by using 10 as a benchmark; in other words counting out 10 objects from a set
and then looking at how many groups of 10 are in the remaining amount of objects.
Creating hands-on lessons and giving students time to work together in small
groups is a teaching goal for me, and I was pleased that I was able to create a lesson that
incorporated both. As a whole, I think the delivery of the lesson and the student
engagement went very well. I was particularly pleased with the way in which I gave
directions and organized the materials for the small group work. From prior experience
doing small group work with the class, I knew there were a few seemingly small but
important things I needed to do in order to maintain order in the classroom. For example,
gave the directions before announcing the groups and while everyone was still seated in
the meeting area. I showed each bag of materials and the worksheet, and carefully
explaining how they were to use the worksheet. I called out the groups one by one and
waited until one group had their materials and their spot in the room before calling out
the next group. These things seem really small but actually make a huge difference in
ensuring transitions from whole group to small group are efficient and dont disrupt the
flow of the lesson.
Another part of the lesson that went well was when I demonstrated that the size of
a container and the size of the objects in it can make it appear that one has more objects
than the other, when in reality one container is less full. This is a pretty complex and
incredibly important concept and the kids were able to grasp it.
I allowed time for whole class sharing and reflection, which I also think went well
and gave the lesson a sense of closure. It is important that students get a chance to speak
in front of the class, and there was time for each group to do this.
After reflecting on the lesson and speaking with Professor Sonu, there are several
things I would change if I taught the lesson again:
Instead of beginning by diving right in and asking the students how many
jellybeans they think are in the jar, I would introduce the topic of
estimating
I would put fewer jellybeans in the jars. Seventy-seven was a big number
and it might work better with a smaller number
To give the students a frame of reference, when having them guess how
many jellybeans were in the jar, I would say something like Are there
more than 2 (yes)? Are there more than 10, etc. They would probably get

up to around 20 and then not know, at which point I could logically


introduce the idea of estimating
I would make the worksheet for the students and the model I do with the
class the same
I would give everyone a worksheet instead of just one per group. Even
though I gave one worksheet, they all put down their independent
estimates
I would make the difference equation an extension or just say it was
bonus, since a lot of groups didnt understand it
I would use my real world example of estimating at the beginning of the
lesson. I think it worked well at the end but I also wonder if it might work
better at the beginning and would like to test it out
When I give my real world example, I would explain to them how I
estimated i.e. I saw what 5 brussels sprouts looked like and used that as
my comparison