The separate boy and girl classes are working well, so we will be keeping things this way at least for the time being. Also, the classes are smaller now too, so that is a plus. We’ve moved the students around a little for this next week and are hoping things will be even better.
This weekend I’ll be working on my lesson plans for next week (at least mapping out what I need to cover). The students recently had a quiz on ratios and proportions and are currently working on fractions, decimals and percents and the necessary conversions between these. We’ll be finishing up an Alphabits (cereal) activity next week where the students figured out the percent of each letter that was in the cereal box. Also, we’ll work on a teacher directed activity where everyone will be shading specified percents in 10 x 10 grids. So far, the students have done well with lessons in which they follow along with what the teacher is doing on the document camera. It keeps them busy and focused on the lesson. This coming week I’m also planning to do some things with the boys groups relating to sports statistics (shooting percentage, batting average, etc.).
But, good lesson plans do not guarantee that students will learn. In order for students to learn new material, it is essential that they feel comfortable enough to take risks. Students need to have a sense of belonging in the classroom whether they give the right or wrong answer. To build a comfortable classroom community, I have some ideas that I am eager to implement.
First, I want to create classroom jobs for which students can apply. They will be simple things like distributing and collecting the pencils, organizing the bookshelf/floor space in the back of the room, decorating a bulletin board, etc. Students have been very eager to help out in the classroom, so these jobs will be a reward for students who have done well in math class and have good attendance. These jobs will help students gain a sense of ownership and importance in the classroom.
In addition to classroom jobs, I want to play some class games to establish the classroom as a safe place for students to learn, interact with each other and have some fun. Some non-math related games are the ninja game and the hand-tap game. Classes are 65 minutes this coming week, so we should have time for an engaging lesson with some time for a game at the end. I aim to do these things with my students because of my belief that belonging precedes learning.