This is the third week at our cooperating schools and second curriculum lesson to teach. Last week I taught in the gym for a Phys. Ed class, a big space. This week I was teaching in another big space, outside. My lesson this week was an outdoor Math game.
I am fortunate that our cooperating teacher has given us our subjects we teach well in advance. However, I chose math and suggested the outdoor game before I experienced teaching in the gym. After the gym, I was a bit nervous to tackle another large space, the great outdoors, for my math game. The good thing about taking a game outdoors is that you can give the instructions inside while students are seated. This is helpful in that everyone can hear clearly and there are no distractions that the outdoors bring. Giving the instructions and grouping the students before leaving the class also allowed me to get the game started right away, so the kids were more focused and it wasn’t difficult to get them on task, they were excited to start.
The game we played was one that was created by my math group for an outdoor games assignment. The group had taught the game to peers not children. I had to make a few adaptations to the game to get it to grade and content level, which then caused some minor confusion in playing. I forgot to include an instruction for one of the requirements, the students brought it to my attention. The mistake was easily addressed and play continued. As I watched the students play I noticed that some were racing up and down the course because it was too easy. I set a challenge for those groups that when they reached the end they had to add 4 digit numbers before they could proceed. They were up for the challenge. They were concerned that they had no pencil and paper to use. I suggested using a stick or their fingers to write in the dirt. They embraced the idea and away they went. When they thought they had the answer they brought it to me and eagerly told me how they got it. I loved how they articulated their thought process and could see where they made their mistakes. The total aha moment of recognition of how they got the correct answer or where they went wrong was such a great feeling for me. It made me realize this why I am here, is seeing the learning and the looks on kids faces when they figure something out.
Their teacher has done a great job in teaching them to think through math and the process, and how to defend their answers. In this class math is much more than facts and getting the right answer, it is being able to explain your process and see what went right and what did not. This is something I definitely want to get good at doing. It is also really great to see the concepts we are being taught in EMTH in action.
So far both the lessons I have taught have been in big spaces, and have had their own unique challenges. I think for a pre-intern, I have met the challenge. Up next an actual in the classroom lesson. I am excited to see what challenges and more importantly insights that brings. Until next week.
Tools of the game