Miss. Hillary Strain

Archive for the category “Reading Responses2”

Treaty Education in Mathematics

When I first received that news that we had to create a treaty lesson plan in our major content area I was devastated.  Incorporating treaties in a lesson alone is hard enough itself let along trying to include it in math.  My partner, Kaylyn, and I spent a very long time trying to figure out ideas on how to incorporate this concept into our lesson.  We finally decided on a lesson about comparing population of reserves on the Treaties to the amount of land they were given according to the land allotment for that given Treaty.  This lesson actually ended up being quite successful with the differentiation aspect of the assignment without us even realizing what we were doing. We gave the students a map of saskatchewan that outlined the treaty areas, we had class discussions and also provided written work, and we also aloud the students to present their material in any way.   This lesson, even though it took forever to create, is something that I am quite proud of and excited my partner and I managed to create on our own!  I am looking forward to using it in the future.

This was my first time ever creating a Treaty lesson plan and I was quite shocked at how little information there is out there for resources and things to include in your lesson in general.  Since including Treaty education is now mandatory in the Saskatchewan curriculum, I figured it would be easy to find some sort of site or blog that would have any type of information or ideas available.  Maybe in years to come there will be more resources and information out there.

Our feedback given to us from the group we presented to was quite limited due to the amount of time we received to discuss our lessons.  We both had the time to explain/present our lessons but never really had enough time to discuss any changes that could be done to improve our lessons.  Something that was very interesting to me that stood our during our presentations was that the group we presented to had the exact same set as we did!  The other group did a History lesson and their set was composed of having a class party and then having that get taken away because they didn’t shake on the deal. Ours was the exact same, having class party and then having part of the time getting taken away because thats what occurred with the land allotments for the people on the reserves (they weren’t given the right amount of land they were allotted to).  It’s neat how even though we had complete opposite subject areas that we still managed to have around the same type of lesson.  This just shows that if you are having troubles incorporating treaties into your lessons, you could discuss it with any teacher of any subject and get some ideas to make it work.



Classroom Management

I came across Rebecca Alber’s blog today which consists of a post about classroom management. Click here for the post. This post discusses five different techniques that she has used in her classroom to keep it under control.  The five techniques are the following: 1) Use a normal, natural voice. 2) Speak only when students are quiet and ready. 3) Use hand signals and other non-verbal communication 4) Address behaviour issues quickly and wisely and 5) Always have a well designed, engaging lesson.  She goes on to explain each of these different techniques and the results that can arise from implementing them.

I have experienced two of these techniques thus far in my experience as a student.  Many of my teachers have used technique number two, speak only when students are quiet and ready, and eventually it becomes successful.  I have noticed that when my teachers used this method, it takes a very long time for us students to settled down to realize what is going on.  The teacher would stand at the front of the class, not say anything and just stare at us.  Eventually, probably max. 5 minutes, we realize what was occurring and would quiet down. It clearly is effective, but is it really worth the wait? I have also experience technique number three, use hand signals and other non-verbal communication, and I feel this works great.  Immediately the students realize what is going on, whether it’s done by shutting off the lights, clapping your hands, singing a song, etc, the students realize that they need to follow the procedure and pay attention.  These techniques used are beneficial and have been successful in their classrooms, but I believe that they are not the best way one can manage their class.

There are two techniques here that I have heard of but never really have seen implemented in a classroom, which I believe would be an effective way of avoiding doing any classroom management tactics.  Technique number five is important, always having well designed, engaging lesson, I believe that if you can create and accomplish this task, you will never have to worry about not being able to control the students.  This is always a hard concept to create, but I will and I believe that it is important as a teacher to make every lesson you do as creative and exciting as possible.  A way you can make your lesson engaging is to incorporate any of the students’ interests, like technology, or getting them involved in the lessons, up participating at the board.  You can also make your lessons relatable to your students, like including real world situations or a topic that interests them.  Also, to ensure that students’ don’t get uninterested or annoyed with your lesson, you can easily avoid any bias’ and make your lessons as student friendly as possible. Include all students in your lessons and be as open to any opportunities/questions that can arise. Technique number four, address behaviour issues quickly and wisely, is another important point I find that will be helpful in my future classroom.  As Alber explains in her blog, it is important for the teacher to approach the students who are being a distraction immediately, but one should do so in a polite manner. The teacher should avoid being direct with the student and questioning them “why are you off task and talking?” and should rather approach them more friendly and indirectly by stating something along the lines of “it looks like you could use some help.”  This way the students will get the hint of what you’re trying to tell them, (to get back on task), but they won’t be caught off guard by the rude and arrogant comment that you state to them that could make them more off task.

It is clear that there are many different ways one can manage a classroom and in the end it’s all based on personal experience and opinion.  I believe that it is important one should use the same types of classroom management to be consistent and students will know what your tactic means, but I also believe that a teacher should have many different types of tactics to keep things interesting and fun.  I am glad that I stumbled along this blog with the different types of techniques, it will allow me to experiment in my pre-internship and internship and see which ones I like the best/are the most useful.


Is Assessment Necessary?

Assessment is one of the most essential aspects of teaching.  Assessment allows a teacher to understand what methods of teaching works best for their students and what learning styles their students have.  This allows teachers to adjust their strategies to benefit their students’ needs and by doing so, the students will be able to learn to the best of their abilities and will be more successful in the classroom. Assessment allows the students to demonstrate their learning and they can do so in a variety of ways, it can be as simple as having the students answer an exit slip on the lesson taught or by having them answer questions throughout the lecture.  A teacher must constantly assess in the classroom to understand where their students’ are in the lesson, if the students are understanding the material and if he or she can advance smoothly throughout the lesson/unit.

Assessment doesn’t necessarily have to be done by the teacher only.  It is important for students to engage in assessment whenever possible. Whether it is through self assessment on the things they are learning, assessing the teacher to give them feedback on how well they are learning through their methods, or if they are assessing a peer.  This allows the students to understand the importance of looking over things and finding ways of improving or retrying what is struggling.  It allows them to build confidence and take actions about the mistakes that they have made and try and make something better out of it.

Something that us as teachers need to keep in mind is to keep assessment as positive as possible.  Nothing is more discouraging than receiving a grade/letter on how well they are doing.  It is better to provide some written feedback before assigning the final grade (evaluation).  Giving students written feedback will make them realize in which areas they can improve on and grow on, they can find the understanding of these concerns and make changes to their work instead of having the feeling of being penalized.

Finally, we have to keep in mind that assessment is different than evaluation.  Assessment focuses on the learning and the different things we do to to improve and learn. This could include little journals, projects or activities that allows the teacher to see where their students are at in the learning.  Whereas Evaluation is all about the final grade one is given at the end of the unit.  This can be done through tests, projects, or presentation.   Evaluation is where a student could feel penalized because of the mark they are given or by the success that they had.  This is why assessment is so important to do, it allows the teacher and student to be on the same page in the learning.  They both can improve their methods and adjust accordingly so they can be successful in the future.

Knowing Your Learners

One of the most beneficial things a teacher can do to improve their lesson and classroom environment is getting to know his or her students.  Once a teacher learns about the students that will be in their classroom, he or she can then make adaptations to the lessons that will be taught and make the classroom environment more suitable/at home like feeling for the students.

While I was reading the article, I came across many things that I already knew/have learnt as an intern and even as a student which I believe are important to keep in mind while in a classroom.  Students vary in intelligence levels and it is your job as a teacher to meet these needs, whether they are above average or below average, and adapt your lessons accordingly.  Some students will succeed faster in certain subject areas, where as others will need more time and more detailed instruction in order to understand.  Something I learnt from the reading was that it would be a great idea to keep note of these students so that you can make sure you adapt your lessons for them.  Whether that has to do with creating separate assignments to meet their needs, make extra work, or even have extra help time.  You can record how well they did on which part of the lesson or in which areas they need to improve on to make it easier for you to create adaptations.

Another topic that was discussed during the article was the many cultural differences that will appear in your classroom and how we should include as much of it as possible into our lessons and classroom environment.  This I believe could be a little difficult to do, I understand the importance of it and I believe that it is important as well, but how can we do this without leaving someone out? Especially when we must try and incorporate this into our lessons little own our classroom environment.  We want the students to feel welcome and not have to worry about people thinking/judging their cultural background so we must find a way to ensure that this occurs. While I was reading this section in the article it made me think back to my ECS 300 placement. I was in a very diverse school and they did a fantastic job on ensuring that each student felt welcome and didn’t feel different.  When you walked into the school, the first thing that you saw was a wall with a blown up poster of a world map on it.  On this map they had pictures of i’m assuming all of the students that were attending the school and placed them from the country where they were originally from.  I think that idea is a great idea that anyone can do and could make the diversity of your classroom more comfortable and cultural aspects easier to include in your lessons.

Clearly knowing who your students is a very important thing to know to make sure your lessons, classroom environment and your students are successful.  When a teacher takes the time to learn and ensure that these occur the student-teacher relationship will grow and this will make the learning and teaching a bit easier for everyone.

Differentiation As A Preservice Teacher

As a Pre-Service teacher, I believe that differentiation is suiting the unique needs of the individuals in your classroom. Whether it is through learning, feeling comfortable in the class, or just their overall needs in general.  The way a teacher can differentiate in his or her classroom is by having a variety of learning styles included in their lesson (visual, audio, modelling, etc), make adaptions in the assignments for weaker or stronger students, or even giving a variety of options for the assignment (make a collage instead of writing the essay).  I believe that it is important to keep this in mind while we are teaching, each student deserves a good experience and be successful in the classroom and in order to do so, you must be able to and be willing to reach their needs.

Since there is no guarantee that one method of teaching will satisfy the needs of each student in the classroom, the teacher needs to be able to adapt and make changes to their teaching styles and assignments to help benefit each student.  It can be a very challenging aspect of the profession but it will not only help you grow as a teacher, but it will help your students be able to grow as well.  I believe that it is important to keep all your students in mind while creating a lesson.  A teacher shouldn’t take the “easy” way out for lessons preparation and teaching because it will be less work for them.  A teacher needs to keep each of their students in mind and provide a variety of different approaches, skills and ways to complete the task given.

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