Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Teaching Experience time 'Maths'

The next few blog posts are going to concentrate on single curriculum areas and how I developed the management and organisation of the teaching and learning time.

Maths was an interesting one, I decided I wanted to teach a particular strand rather than 'Number' so I chose Measurement concentrating on Perimeter, Area and Volume. I wanted the children to become self managing and responsible about their learning so the unit I developed revolved around this idea. You can see the unit by Ctrl clicking (or Command click) on this link. Several years ago I had previously developed a statistics unit where everyday I would start off with whole class teaching session of around 5-10 minutes where I would demonstrate how to create the different types of graphs (laptop connected to a TV set). Students would then work independently through the large number of tasks while I targeted the children who needed help. This worked really well! I had no projector or IWB at this time. So my new challenge was how could I use the mimio to its full potential. And that is when I came up with the idea of the workshops. I created three different workshops; Perimeter, Area and Volume. I designed them so that the students could run it themselves using the mimio.
The daily session would start off with the Class Activity (One slide per day, the example below shows an example of 3 days with answers). If students got any of the problems wrong on the page then they had to attend the Workshop. Students could also choose to be present at the workshop if they wished. I overheard some children saying that they wanted to go to the workshop even though they got the class activity all correct. On observation it was apparent that they enjoyed the collegial working atmosphere.

At the very first Workshop on Perimeter, I lead for the first 5 minutes and then it was obvious that the children could take over themselves, I put one person in charge telling them to make sure that everybody has a turn recording using the mimio pen.
On page 8 of this slideshow is a link to the very excellent bbc.co.uk site on perimeter. This was a perfect activity for children to do collaboratively and individually as it gives them the answers and totals at the end. Without any prompting from me the students went back and redid the quizzes they got wrong!
While the students were working on the workshop I was able to move around the room talking to individuals or groups if they had created their own group. Sometimes you would find a group of 2 or 3 at the Wii. Quite often children would work in pairs, but there was also several that liked to work alone. It was interesting to note each day that most children liked to work in the same pattern, either in a social group or on their own. The same children also volunteered for the workshop (they liked playing teacher I think!)
Over half of the class were able to organise their time without my intervention, and most (particularly the girls) were able to keep up with the recording of what they were doing. A lot of the boys liked doing the fun stuff with computers, Wii, PSP and iTouch, so they needed a bit of a push in the direction of covering some of the book tasks.
This was a great way to teach as I was able to oversee the whole class and work with the students who needed it the most. There was a relaxed, calm feel about the class as everyone got on with what they needed to do. I think the students liked knowing what they were going to be doing as soon as they came into the room as they had done the planning and thinking about it.
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All of the maths websites were bookmarked on the Class Delicious site and all of the computers, Wii, PSP and iPod Touch internet browsers opened to the Class Delicious page as a Home page. With the Workshops being so visible due to them being projected on the screen with the students using the mimio, I was able to keep an eye on what the students were doing and if they needed any help.

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