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Hannah Adams

Professor Hahn

Clinical Reflection Paper

This semester I was placed in a 3rd grade classroom at Shadybrook Elementary in

Kannapolis. This was my first experience in an upper grade level placement. I have only ever

worked with 1st graders and kindergarteners so naturally I was a little nervous, but also excited

to see what math looked like in the upper grades. I completed these clinical hours over the 2

week IMB period.

My cooperating teacher, Mrs. Dolby, made me feel very welcome in her classroom. She

offered any help I needed and even gave me the standards that I would be teaching. She was

always open to answering questions and allowed me to help out during small groups and other

activities. This was beneficial because it made me feel like I was truly a part of the classroom. In

this classroom the teacher taught the math lesson and then the students participated in math

rotations. Altogether the students spent about an hour and a half on math each day.

I was able to observe math lessons multiple days during my clinical experience. I was

kind of surprised because the lessons were pretty short. It was almost like the teacher did a

mini lesson before the rotations. While I was there, the students were learning a lot about

fractions such as ½ and ¼. In one of the lessons, the students were split up into groups and

given a popsicle stick. The students were told that it was ¼ of Igor Vovkovinskiy’s (the tallest

man in the US) shoe. The students then had to figure out how many popsicle sticks total it

would take to make his shoe. This was a cool lesson because it reminded me of our 5 E format.
The students had to “explore” the problem on their own and come up with a way to explain the

answers that they had come to. I liked that in this lesson the students had to figure out the

man’s shoe size. I thought it was a cool activity that actually related to something in real life. It

was also a very simple activity, but it had a meaningful lesson behind it.

In another lesson, the students were given sentence strips. They were told that the

sentence strip represented 4 miles. The students had to figure out how to fold the sentence

strip into four equal parts and then how to label each fold. The students also had to figure out

things like where a 1 ½ or 3 ½ miles were on the sentence strip. After this explore portion, the

teacher drew a number line on the board and taped her sentence strip above it. This was a

great visual for students to help them understand the order of the number line and where

fractions (or the folds) fall on it. I liked this activity a lot and feel that I would use it in my own

classroom one day. We made fraction strips in our methods class one day and this lesson

reminded me of that. I think that it is important for the students to make the folds and see for

themselves the sizes of the pieces so that they know we aren’t just making it up. It is a tangible

way to see fractions.

Another activity that I was able to help students with involved the shape manipulatives.

On a piece of paper, students were given a picture of a few triangles put together and told that

it was a fraction of the whole shape. Students then had to use the manipulatives to figure out

what the whole shape looked like using the information they had been given. The students

really struggled with this. Some of the students were able to figure out how many triangles

should be in the whole shape because of the fraction they were given, but then they could not

figure out what the shape looked like. Some of the other students did not understand at all. I
will admit this was a hard problem, but it was good to see students trying different things with

the shapes to problem solve. I think this activity directly related to our methods course because

we didn’t the same thing in our class one day. It was cool to see this strategy being used in the

classroom and I think that manipulatives are key in an elementary setting.

One of the big parts of math in this classroom was math rotations. As I mentioned

before, the teacher would teach a lesson and then the students would participate in math

rotations. The students were grouped by ability as they went around in these rotations.

Students were even grouped with students from the other 3rd grade classes. During rotations,

the students travelled from room to room depending on their group. One of the stations was a

small group with the teacher. Another station was students with a TA working on worksheets or

homework from previous days. Another station was students doing Dream box lessons on the

iPads. I thought the rotations were beneficial because it allowed the students to work more

closely with the teacher/TA on concepts that they were struggling with. While I was there, I was

able to lead one of the rotations. On one hand it was nice because I was able to work with a

small group rather than the whole class. This allowed me to review questions that they needed

help with. On the other hand, it was difficult because there was not a lot of time in each

rotation and getting through the problems took a long time. The students really seemed to

enjoy the Dream box lessons on the iPads. Most of the time, the students stayed really focused

on these without causing disruption. The students were even competitive about it because I

heard them talking about how many lessons they had finished for the day or for the week on

multiple occasions. Overall, I liked the math rotations, but sometimes I thought that the actual

lesson needed to be taught in more depth rather than rushing to start rotations.
During the second week of clinicals I taught my whole group lesson. At the beginning of

the clinical experience, I was very nervous to teach a math whole group lesson, especially to an

older grade because of the concepts. But, after being in the classroom I felt more comfortable

with the students and confident. The focus of my lesson was multiplication and division word

problems using different strategies. The standard that my teacher gave me to teach was 3.0A.3-

Use multiplication and division within 100 to solve word problems in situations involving equal

groups, arrays, and measurement quantities, e.g., by using drawings and equations with a

symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem. I decided to call the lesson

“Monster Math” and have word problems involving monsters since this was a review lesson. To

begin the lesson, I played a short clip from Monster Inc. The students loved it! I went over one

problem with the students out loud and incorporated the “CUBE” strategy that they had been

working on in class to help them with their EOGs. The students then worked on another

problem with each other. While they were doing so I walked around to see what they were

coming up with and asked questions to help get them on the right track. We went over the

problem together as a group and I asked students questions such as “What strategy did you use

to get your answer?” and “How could we check our answer?” The students were able to come

up with the correct answer. I had several of the students come up to the board to show their

work. I then gave the student an exit ticket to work on independently. Overall, I though the

lesson went well. Most of the students showed mastery on the exit ticket. One thing I could

have done was ask students who used the strategies correctly to share. This would cause less

confusion among the class. I am glad to have taught my first whole group lesson and hope that I

will only improve and learn from these experiences in the future.
Fortunately, I was able to have a successful and pleasant clinical experience. It really

allowed me to see what the classroom is like daily. While teaching is hard, it is also very

rewarding. I didn’t want to leave the students! I was also given a new perspective on upper

grades. I have always wanted to teach 1st or 2nd grade but ended up loving 3rd grade as well. I

liked being able to work with the older students and hearing what they had to say. Though I

was scared to teach the math, it ended up going well. I realized that the math isn’t as bad,

especially after learning different strategies and concepts in our methods course. I will not

forget this IMB experience and know that it has helped shape me as a future educator.