Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Guided Math Book Study Chapter 4

As I am lying in my bed and thinking back to my previous lesson in my classroom, I am reminded of how diverse my kids were.  About 1/4 of my students were/are labeled as SPED, one was labeled as HA( High Ability), and I had more students with behavior problems than I can count. What a year!! I am not going to lie and say it was easy doing fun interactive activities that all of my students were actively involved and worked well together because that is definitely not how it went.  It was hard to fit in a lot of “Fun” activities into the core teaching due to the high volume of behavior issues.  However, I feel like I was still able to change up my teaching enough to keep students engaged and on track, as well as keeping the pestering to a minimum….well as much as I could. 

Whole group lessons are an essential part of my teaching.  I do not teach whole group every day, but I would be remiss to be under an illusion that I never use this teaching strategy.  Typically, the way I use whole group lesson is to briefly introduce a new topic.  If I am starting a new unit on multiplication I would use the whole group lesson first to introduce what multiplication is and how it is applied in our lives.  We would then continue to do a few examples together to understand the steps and why problems are solved that way.   That would be the extent of the whole group lesson.  20 minutes is all I like to spend teaching to the whole class.  At this point there are going to be those students who “get it” and those who don’t.  I would rather let those who get it move on to solving problems so that I am able to focus on those students who were able to make the connection of the skill as quickly.  

In addition to using whole group lessons to introduce a topic, I also use it to review.  As I am teaching in small groups and going around and informally assessing my students, sometimes I will come across many students who misunderstood the skill or the task that they are supposed to complete.  In this instance, I will bring the students back together to re-teach the parts that were not understood.  
I also like to come back together at the end of a skill just to talk and understand the students’ perspective of the skill.  By listening to the students tell me about the skill, task, or lesson; I am able to use that conversation as feedback from the students.  They may think we are chit-chatting, but I am trying to understand who understands the skill and to what level it is understood.  

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