Q&A #7008

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Support for a first-year teacher (math)

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From: mimz

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2004120506:23:25
Subject: Re: Better strategies in teaching Mathematics


I am a beginning teacher and I have not had much practice to be so
wise, however in all areas of teaching, not just mathematics I stick
to a basic lesson structure which helps students develop the knowledge
and skills you are trying to teach.

My first question is, how is your day organised for learning?
A wise teacher I met on field experience shared with me the idea that
kids work with the head in the morning, the heart in the middle of the
day and the hands in the afternoon, there fore implying that the
morning is the best time for logic, the midday for creative thinking
and the afternoon for outdoor activity or hands on stuff, when they
are winding down and their attention span is shorter. Perhaps it would
be beneficial for students to do maths in the morning when they are

Second, I was interested in knowing how you structure your individual
lessons to support the acquisition and retention of new skills. i use
this general format,maybe it can help you!

1. Introduction - this can come in the form of a game which recognises
and employs the use of the skills you are trying to teach. The teacher
can then facilitate a class dicussion or brainstorm to refresh the
skills from the prior lesson, and introduce the goals for todays
lesson. I feel that this should be the shortest part of the lesson,
the real learning comes from practice, and you need to grab their
attention quickly!

2. Whole class discussion and practice - this is where you workshop
ideas, pose questions and have group work to make connections. This
can make up about 1/4 of the time in your lesson. 

3. In the main part of the lesson students to need to practice what
they are being taught in some way, either in the context of a problem
scenario, repetitive practice of a concept in different contexts (i.e.
a range of both worded and number problems). They need the opportunity
to explore, take risks, make mistakes and learn from them
independently or in a group situation. The teachers role can vary from
helping individual students, to working with groups. 

4. In the conclusion of the lesson, the teacher facilitates discussion
about what was learnt in the days lesson and assesses how successful
individuals and groups have been with achieving the objectives of the
lesson. That way you will know what concepts need more work, and
students will have some closure and lasting thoughts to take with them
to the follow up lesson.  

I hope this helps, and if you have any thing to add to my suggestions
or ways I can improve my lesson structure I myself would also be
grateful for feedback. Heck, there is no one real right way is there?
Doesnt it depend on the needs of your students?? Its all relative, but
its a start!

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