My budding love of teaching, stemming from my larger love of math and learning

Monday, August 9, 2010

Where do I buy the fireworks?

So as I sit here and try to write out some lesson plans I am wondering to myself, WHY BOTHER? Everything you need to know is right in the book: Definitions to vocab words, examples, guided practice problems, even the problems that you should assign from homework.

So why am I spending so much time on lessons? Because I have decided that the book is boring. It is how you and I were taught math. Who wants to sit there and be lectured. Even asking the kids questions can get boring. Now I understand that every lesson can have the "bangs and whistles" but a little excitement...and not just for the kids. I get bored too!! And I LOVE LOVE LOVE math.

I use a lesson template with 5 sections from Conscious Classroom Management by Rick Smith:
Intro: Whet the students appetites
Direct Instruction: Direct the learning/Facilitate, without necessarily lecturing
Guided Practice: Provide opportunities for students to work with new material/ideas Independent Practice: Encourage student autonomy
Closure: Emphasize key Points

I try to bring in parts from the 5-E Instruction Model (A frame-work for Inquiry Based Instruction):
Engage: Gain Attention
Explore: Facilitate students' thinking
Explain: Help students to create meaning
Elaborate: Apply and extend learning
Evaluate: assess student learning/gain feedback

The 5-E Model is more appropriate for science learning, but why shouldn't it be used in the math classroom. I mean, math can be inquiry based, right? So I use a combination of both...or at least I try.

Where I get caught is with the Intro/Engage. When I taught science it was really easy to have a cool Intro/Engage or it is sometimes called a Hook. I get stalled out when trying to think about initial engagement, and then I am not focused on the rest of the lesson. Which is usually too bad, because I spend so much time on trying to think about at great hook, and then I don't put what needs to be put into the independent practice/elaborate. And that's when I should be really good because I am the engineer, I have used most of this math in a real-world situation.

So my goal for this year: Write a great total lesson plan, and not worry about the "Fireworks" hook; I am going to focus on fun in other parts of the lesson. I think that is all for now.

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