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October 26, 2010

Reflections on Feedback for SCT1

Follow-up to SCT1 Lesson Plan and Topic Plan from Emma's Adventures in PGCE-land

Whoops, it looks like I forgot to actually reflect on my peer assessment and use my feedback to improve my topic plan and lesson plan. I hope this didn't come across as me saying I'm so good I don't need to improve.

Here is the feedback I received:


My main area for development is differentiation. Looking back at my lesson plan, I can see that I am not really taking into account the fact that some pupils will be completely lost during my explanations. I've written in my plan that I will focus on the lower-attaining pupils during individual work and I will explain to them again and help them get started. But although that will probably be somewhat effective, it doesn't make up for the fact that during a fairly large fraction of the lesson, there will be some pupils who, because they don't follow me, will switch off, lose focus, and perhaps even become disruptive. Bearing in mind what HS said about behaviour (that if pupils are badly behaved in a lesson you must first check your explanations were engaging and at the right level), clearly this is something that I should pre-empt by making sure my explanations will suit the whole class.

The thing is, until I've delivered this lesson to a class I won't really know how easy they will find my explanations to follow. I feel like I've made it as simple as I possibly could (whilst still staying somewhat true to a constructivist pedagogy*) so I don't really know how to improve it at the moment. But with experience, I will probably be able to tell better.

Emma x x x

*Yes I know "constructivist pedagogy" doesn't technically make sense because constructivism is a theory of learning and not of teaching. But I can't think of a better way of putting it.

October 07, 2010

SCT1 Lesson Plan and Topic Plan

Well, here they are. Don't be too harsh in your two stars and a wish :-)



Emma x x x

September 28, 2010

Week 52: Tuesday

This morning we started with the task of contructing dynamic quadrilaterals using geogebra.


Basically we had to construct the shapes so that you can drag the corners around and the shape will still be the same. Despite not knowing anything about geogebra (whoops I just admitted I hadn't done my session preparation. I hope Jenni's not reading this...) I managed to get to grips with it pretty quickly.

Next we were given some activities and told to plan a lesson around them. Jenni emphasised that in planning lessons it is often a good idea to base your lessons around pre-prepared materials rather than planning a lesson and then trying to make the activities yourself. I'll try to bear that in mind.

The activities were about semi-regular tilings, which is where you put different shapes together (in this case, hexagons, squares and triangles) so that at every corner of each shape the sequence of shapes is the same. First we had to make 5 different tilings using the shapes we were given. That was easy enough with some trial and error. I'm not entirely sure why there are only 5 possible tilings though. I need to engage my higher order thinking skills, methinks.

The next activity was, given a semi-regular tiling, work out the ratio of triangles to squares to hexagons. Paul managed to work it out by looking at the pattern within each row, but Giulian's method of finding the minimum building block was in my opinion the most elegant way of proving the ratio was correct.

We worked through the lesson plan outline and discussed how we were going to structure the lesson, how we would differentiate, etc. The lesson plan can be found on Lydia's blog here:

Writing a topic plan was harder, because we had to consider which things should go before and after this lesson. Should we include area and perimeter? Symmetry? Should that come in a seperate topic?

After lunch we did an exercise where we all had to close our eyes as Jenni described an everyday object using mathematical terminology. This was fun and also helped calm the class down because closing your eyes is very relaxing. Then we opened our eyes as Jenni described a picture made up of squares, which we had to draw on our whiteboards. She demonstrated how hard it is to give precise enough instructions so that everyone is picturing the same thing. She then started asking questions about the hands of a clock, about the angle they make at different times. I think the point of this was to demonstrate how hard it is to visualise and manipulate in your mind moving objects. Which brings us swiftly on to...

Dynamic geometry. Using Geogebra we worked through some worksheets as if we were pupils. We had to construct a kite and connect the midpoints of each edge and conjecture that it forms a rectangle. Then we had to justify the conjecture by changing the shape of the kite and seeing that it's always a rectangle.

Next we worked on preparing a Geogebra animated picture demonstrating the circle theorems. I had no trouble drawing the circle theorems and dragging corners to show that they're always true, but I couldn't work out the animation bit. I will work on that in my spare time. (Spare time? What's that?)

The last thing we did was a weird exercise involving wool. In groups of 12-ish, we stood in a circle and tried to make patterns by passing the wool to every second person, then every third, and so on. The idea is it forms a regular polygon in the middle. I don't know if it's because I'm ridiculously short, but I couldn't really see what was going on in my circle. There might well be kids who get a lot out of an exercise like that, but clearly I am not one of them.

I'm about to start my reading for tomorrow and get ready for my tutorial.

Emma  x x x

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