All entries for Sunday 03 October 2010

October 03, 2010

Reflections on Week 52

This week has been far more chilled than the last! I've gotten used to the routine and of what is expected of us. I've met so many fantastic people who I'm looking forward to working with more! 

I've learnt a lot this week. Firstly, my subject knowledge. I know a lot of maths. I like maths. So much so, that I don't need to be told why I'm learning it, what it's used for or what it relates to because I'm interested in it in it's own right. I've found this week that this is something major that I need to work on, as a lot of people need to know why for something to have any meaning to them. Robert W-P has especially picked up on uses of maths, and actually, it's fascinating! Ellipses for example. I have never known, or cared to find out, why those two dots we draw in them are called focal points. Now I know, and it's pretty cool! I'm now working on finding cool uses of maths from all areas of the syllabus. I've been flicking through a book "Maths in Action" which has given me a few ideas. 

Last week I struggled with priorities. I've got much better at that. I only do reading the morning it is for, so I don't forget it and find I need to read it again! I underline print outs as I go. For books, I write a summary as I go. I make a real effort to do these quickly, as once I get to the end I realise I could restructure it in a much better way and have to resist the temptation to do so or I'd be there all day! I'm making a big effort to round off all the work we do in sessions at the time. Last week I ended up with odds and ends to finish off later as we'd spent too long faffing around at the very start. We've got pretty good at working as a team and so have completed some pretty decent work together. 

On Monday I do my first proper bit of teaching. On Monday I go into my first school. As it happens, these are completely independent events. In the morning we go into school to do observations on questioning. In the afternoon we are back at university and I get to practice teaching on my lovely co-PGCEers (what a great word!). There are 3 topics - complex numbers, matrices and proof by induction. The cohort will be split into 3 groups and will get to spend an hour on each topic, rotating around all three. 2 people were chosen to teach each topic, and I was one of the ones chosen to teach Proof by Induction. I initially panicked. My brain mocked me by thinking up fun things to do with the other topic and coming up blank for mine. We were told on Friday to teach it for Monday. I didn't even know the person I have to teach with. Luckily, it turned out to be someone pretty cool, who lived nearby and who is free at the weekend. We met up yesterday and put together a decent plan in 2 hours. Easy-peasy :p. 

I have more to say about this as I really discovered the importance of objectives as we wrote it. But I'm struggling to explain how without giving the game away so I'll have to come back to that after Monday! 

Really Cool Stats Activity

Writing about web page /cbates/entry/stats_task_2/

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After the Helicopter Challenge we had to design our own activity. After struggling to top the Helicopters, which was really fun, someone remembered the hilarious consequences of adding Mentos to Coke. We quickly shaped an activity around this. The things I took away from it was:

1. This is a really fun task. I'm dying to try it out and I'm "grown up" and "sensible". Therefore, kids will love it! 

2. We added a competitive edge of who can get the bottle the furthest. I usually dislike competition in lessons as it rewards the fast or the smart. I think the competition in this case is vital in helping the activity stay on task - the pupils who are methodical, collect good data, and analyse it to help make further improvements will be the ones who win. There is a real danger that the kids will forget the maths and just try to make stuff blow up. 

3. Our idea is a health and safety nightmare. Much careful thought, restrictions and staff/student ratios would need to be considered should we ever get the chance to actually do it. 

The Helicopter Experiment

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