Observations

I spent 4 days last week immersing myself into Algebra I classes. As I began this project, I realized that I didn’t know a lot about what Algebra I students are like. After 4 days in the classroom, I think my biggest obstacle is going to be expecting too much from my students. Where is the realistic line of what they know and what they are capable of and what they don’t know or can’t do? I found in my four days at CPHS we went over the equation for slope each day. The students as a whole still didn’t know it concretely by the end of the week. My other major concern is getting students to care about what I’m teaching them. With so many other things going on in their lives, why should they care about math class? Why should they do their math homework? It seems as though this visit that was supposed to answer my questions has just left me with many more.

My original goal with these activities was to allow exploration and discovery. My observations have made me think that my students may need more structure. My intent is, however, to foster a more creative approach to learning mathematics in my classroom. I think that I need to establish this environment from the beginning and teach my students to be more independent. I need to encourage my students to speak up when they think they’re right and when they think they’re wrong. I need to let them know that every answer is valuable, even when wrong. I also need to teach them that it’s ok to struggle and ok to be wrong, they just need to try different things. It’s not that easy though. I will be combating years of spoon fed information and structured activities. Thus I still need some structure in my activities or I don’t think my students will put forth effort.

I think my time in the classroom showed me more about classroom management that what students are actually capable of. I think next time I visit I will have a chat with some students and figure out what they think is engaging and what they are capable of doing. I think that the students aren’t dumb, just unmotivated.

Now that I’ve sufficiently rambled about nothing for a bit I suppose I am finished. I am keeping plugging away at these lessons. I’m hoping they are something students will be more interested in.

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~ by Cassie.Becker on January 9, 2012.

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