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Reflective Essay on the Best Math Practices in Elementary School

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Reflective Essay on the Best Math Practices in Elementary School
Introduction
Mathematics education in primary schools builds the groundwork for kids’ future academic achievement and critical thinking skills. Educators’ teaching styles have a substantial impact on students’ understanding and engagement with mathematical subjects. This reflective essay contrasts the instructional styles of two primary school instructors as shown in video lessons. It examines their teaching practices, the efficacy of their methods with varied learners, and the changes made to accommodate specific students’ requirements. This comparison provides insights into best practices in mathematics education and recommendations for improving teaching effectiveness.

Video observation of Teacher 1’s delivery of instruction.
Teacher 1 took a student-centered approach, teaching basic arithmetic concepts with manipulatives and visual aids. The class began with a brief introduction to the topic, followed by a hands-on activity in which students utilized blocks to learn addition and subtraction. The teacher encouraged students to work in pairs, which promoted peer learning and collaboration.

Application of Effective Teaching Practices
The teacher used several effective teaching strategies, including differentiated instruction and formative evaluation. She moved around the classroom, providing individualized guidance and probing questions to gauge pupils’ comprehension. The use of manipulatives was especially advantageous for visual and kinesthetic learners, who found abstract concepts more concrete.

Strategies for Diverse Learners
Teacher 1 adapted her approach to accommodate ESOL/LEP and ESE pupils. For example, she helped ESOL pupils understand by using basic language and visual signals. She also gave extra support and customized exercises for children with learning difficulties, allowing them to fully engage in the session.

Use of Technology and Instructional Resources
The teacher used an interactive whiteboard to illustrate issues and solutions. This visual tool helped to keep students engaged while also allowing the teacher to dynamically highlight key points. The instructional materials, which included manipulatives and visual aids, were well-organized and easy to locate.

Roles During Instruction
Teacher 1 served as a facilitator, guiding students through the learning process rather than giving them direct instruction. Students actively participated in hands-on activities and discussions. The teacher acknowledged students’ mathematical efforts by encouraging them to clarify their reasoning and share their results with the class.

Assessment Strategies
To check pupils’ development, the teacher used formative assessment approaches like questioning and observation. She used open-ended inquiries to encourage critical thinking and problem solving. She also used exit tickets at the end of the lesson to assess students’ understanding and guide future instruction.

Video observation: Teacher 2 delivering instruction.
Teacher 2 adopted a more traditional, teacher-centered approach, emphasizing direct instruction and guided practice. The lesson began with a multiplication lecture, which was followed by students working individually on practice problems. The teacher gave step-by-step explanations and showed problem-solving approaches on the board.

Application of Effective Teaching Practices
The teacher’s use of explicit instruction and guided practice was effective for teaching procedural knowledge. By breaking down complex problems into manageable steps, she helped students develop a clear understanding of the multiplication process. However, the lack of interactive activities limited student engagement.

Strategies for Diverse Learners
Teacher 2 made some modifications for ESOL/LEP and ESE students, such as providing written instructions in simpler language and offering additional time for task completion. However, the strategies were less integrated compared to Teacher 1, and there was limited differentiation in the instructional materials.

Use of Technology and Instructional Resources
The usage of technology was modest in this lecture. The teacher mostly relied on a whiteboard and printed worksheets. While the educational materials were clear and well-organized, the absence of digital tools and interactive resources decreased the lesson’s engagement and accessibility for various learners.

Roles During Instruction
Teacher 2 took on a more authoritative stance, leading the lesson with direct teaching. Students were more passive absorbers of knowledge, working separately on practice tasks. There was little student contact and collaboration, which may have improved their educational experience.

Assessment Strategies
To measure pupils’ understanding, the teacher used summative assessment tools like quizzes and written activities. While these approaches assessed students’ procedural knowledge, there was less emphasis on formative evaluation and critical thinking questions than in Teacher 1.

Reflective Analysis: Overall Position and Reaction.
The comparison of the two observed teachers demonstrates the advantages and disadvantages of various teaching styles in primary mathematics education. Teacher 1’s student-centered approach and use of manipulatives resulted in a more engaging and inclusive educational environment. Her approaches to accommodating varied learners were well-integrated and effective. In comparison, Teacher 2’s teacher-centered approach was effective for procedural knowledge but lacked interactive aspects and differentiation.

Improvements and Suggestions
Integrate Interactive components: Both teachers could benefit from using more interactive components, such as group activities and digital tools, to increase student engagement and participation.

Improve Differentiation: Teacher 2 could think about implementing more differentiated instructional tactics to better accommodate various learners. This could involve employing visual aids, manipulatives, and technology to make teachings more understandable.

Emphasize Formative Assessment: Both teachers should continue to use formative assessment approaches to track students’ development and inform instruction. Asking open-ended questions and asking students to explain their reasoning helps promote critical thinking and knowledge.

What I would do differently.
If I were to teach the observed lessons, I would mix the benefits of both methods. I would employ manipulatives and visual aids to concretely represent abstract topics, as well as explicit, step-by-step directions for procedural understanding. I would also incorporate technology, such as interactive whiteboards and instructional apps, to increase engagement and accessibility for all pupils.

What I like Most
I admired Teacher 1’s use of manipulatives and her student-centered approach, which promoted collaboration and active learning. I also appreciated Teacher 2’s clear and structured explanations, which helped students understand complicated procedures. Both teachers displayed a desire to help their pupils, but Teacher 1’s inclusive tactics were very helpful in generating a stimulating learning atmosphere.

Conclusion
The comparison of two elementary mathematics teachers demonstrates the significance of using various instructional styles to fulfill the requirements of all students. While both teachers had merits in their approaches, combining student-centered activities, tailored instruction, and good technology use can result in a more inclusive and engaging mathematics classroom. Reflecting on these findings yields useful ideas for improving teaching techniques and student learning in primary mathematics education.

References
Hamilton College (n.d.). Writing a Good Historical Paper. Accessed from https://www.hamilton.edu/academics/centers/writing/writing-resources/writing-a-good-history-paper.

Ferlazzo L. (2013). Building a Community of Self-Motivated Learners: Strategies to Help Students Thrive in School and Beyond. Routledge.

Tomlinson, Charles A. (2001). How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed Ability Classrooms. ASCD.

Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design, ASCD.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). (2000). Principles and Standards for School Math. NCTM.

QUESTION

New Field Experience Assignment (Best Practices/Summer)

This is a reflective essay!

This assignment or essay requires you to reflect on practice by comparing the strategies employed by the two ‘observed’ teachers.

Step 1: Locate/select at least 2 videos showing best mathematics practices in elementary school.

Step 2: Watch the videos and observe two elementary teachers who have different teaching styles or usage of various instructional strategies in teaching mathematics (Use the checklist to guide your observations)

Guiding Questions

As you go watch the video, be guided by the following questions:

· To what degree did they utilize the observed strategies?

· How effective were the strategies used with ESOL/LEP or students with other special needs? How effective were the strategies used with students of different ability levels?

· Were strategies modified to accommodate individual students’ learning? If so, in what ways were the strategies modified?

· Were instructional materials modified for ESOL/LEP/ESE students?

· Is the instructor able to vary the pattern of instruction through movement gestures, voice level, tone, and pace?

· Does or could the instructor use alternative methods such as media, discussion, and questioning? Is the board work legible and organized?

· If appropriate, does the instructor use students’ work (writing assignments, homework problems, etc.)?

As a result of watching the videos, what would you do differently? What did you like most about each class, and/or the teachers’ teaching effectiveness? What specific suggestions would you make to improve any of these classes and/or the teachers’ teaching effectiveness?

Step 3: Record your Observations: your thoughts, impressions, reactions, and analyses (See checklist).

NB: Integrate concepts covered in this course as you respond to each activity.

Checklist

a. Delivery of instruction

i. use of effective teaching practices in the elementary mathematics classroom

ii. use of specific teaching strategies or materials in teaching mathematics with ESOL/LEP/ESE

iii. use of specific teaching strategies or materials in teaching mathematics to students with exceptionalities

iv. managed the instructional environment (e.g., organized materials, paced instruction, delivering engaging, student-centered instruction)

b. use of technology/instructional resources

c. roles during instruction

i. role of the teacher during various lesson activities

ii. role of students during various lesson activities

iii. valuing student mathematics contribution to the elementary classroom

d. demonstration of K-6 Mathematics Competencies and Skills

e. assessment strategies

i. e.g., monitoring students’ skill development

ii. using effective questioning strategies to stimulate critical thinking, problem-solving, and reasoning

iii. asking questions to stimulate discussion for different purposes

 

Nursing Reflective Essay: Example Outline & Guide for Students
Step 4: Now that you have gathered the information, write your reflective analysis and conclusion.

Remember to present your overall position and reaction to what was observed and how classroom practice reflects theory in the teaching of mathematics.

 

Consider: As a result of watching the videos, what would you do differently? What did you like most about each class, and/or the teachers’ teaching effectiveness? What specific suggestions would you make to improve any of these classes and/or the teachers’ teaching effectiveness?

 

References

 

NB: Excluding references and title page, at least 5 pages of quality reflections based on observations, personal experiences, and your readings.

Scoring Rubric: 40 points

Rubric Element Not Met

 

Met

 

Exceeded

 

 

Data/background information

The teacher candidate selected two videos demonstrating the teaching of math in the elementary classroom. The teacher candidate selected at least one video demonstrating best practices in the elementary math classroom. The teacher candidate selected two videos demonstrating best practices in the elementary math classroom.
  Briefly identify the video and a lesson concept being addressed. Identify the video and at least one lesson concept being addressed. Identify each video and all lesson concepts being addressed.
  The videos fail to show a different teaching or instructional approach. Each video shows a different teaching or instructional approach. Each video shows a different teaching or instructional approach.
 

Teacher Observation Notes

The teacher candidate provided brief observation notes of less than three elements (i.e., the teacher, students, learning environment, and teaching resources/instructions) in the specific math classroom. The teacher candidate provided detailed observations on at least three elements (i.e., the teacher, students, learning environment, and teaching resources/instructions) in the specific math classroom. The teacher candidate provided analytical observations of the teacher, students, learning environment, and teaching resources/instructions in the specific math classroom.
  Observation notes were not used to inform reflection on practice Observation notes were used to inform reflection on practice. Observation notes were used to inform reflection on practice.
Delivery of Instruction The teacher candidate provided less than three descriptions of the observed teachers’ use of delivery of effective teaching practices in the elementary mathematics classroom. The teacher candidate provided at least three descriptions of the observed teachers’ use of delivery of effective teaching practices in the elementary mathematics classroom. The teacher candidate provided detailed descriptions of the observed teachers’ use of delivery of effective teaching practices in the elementary mathematics classroom.
  The teacher candidate provided less than three observations of the delivery of instruction (e.g., introduction, launch, summarize, and integrate major points of the lecture or discussion at the end of class). The teacher candidate provided at least three (3) observations of the delivery of instruction (e.g., introduction, launch, summarize, and integrate major points of the lecture or discussion at the end of class). The teacher candidate provided detailed observations of the delivery of instruction (e.g., introduction, launch, summarize, and integrate major points of the lecture or discussion at the end of class).
  Provided less than two instances where strategies were used to modify and/or accommodate individual students’ learning (including ESOL/LEP/ESE students). Provided at least two instances where strategies were used to modify and/or accommodate individual students’ learning (including ESOL/LEP/ESE students). Provided three or more instances where strategies were used to modify and/or accommodate individual students’ learning (including ESOL/LEP/ESE students).
Teaching Strategies The teacher candidate provided evidence of the use of less than two different observed teaching strategies (e.g., lecture, investigation, demos, handouts, media, etc.) appropriate to the goals of the classes. The teacher candidate provided evidence of the use of at least two different observed teaching strategies (e.g., lecture, investigation, demos, handouts, media, etc.) appropriate to the goals of the classes. The teacher candidate provided evidence of the use of three or more different observed teaching strategies (e.g., lecture, investigation, demos, handouts, media, etc.) appropriate to the goals of the classes.
Use of technology/ instructional materials The teacher candidate’s description of the use of technology and other resources to enhance student learning and instructional practices is vague. The teacher candidate provided brief descriptions of technology and other resources used to enhance student learning and instructional practices. The teacher candidate provided detailed descriptions of technology and other resources used to enhance student learning and instructional practices.
Roles during instruction

 

The teacher candidate provided brief descriptions of the roles played by a) the teacher and b) the students during various lesson activities. The teacher candidate provided detailed descriptions of at least one role played by a) the teacher and b) the students during various lesson activities. The teacher candidate provided detailed descriptions of the roles played by a) the teacher, b) the students, and c) valuing student math contributions during various lesson activities.
Assessment Strategies

 

The teacher candidate provided brief descriptions of the teachers’ use of appropriate assessment strategies. The teacher candidate provided descriptions of the teachers’ use of at least two (2) appropriate assessment strategies

e.g., monitoring students’ skill development,

using effective questioning strategies to stimulate critical thinking, problem-solving, and reasoning, and asking questions to stimulate discussion for different purposes.

The teacher candidate provided detailed descriptions of the teachers’ use of three (3) or more appropriate assessment strategies

e.g., monitoring students’ skill development,

using effective questioning strategies to stimulate critical thinking, problem-solving, and reasoning, and

asking questions to stimulate discussion for different purposes.

Overall analysis and position The teacher candidate provided brief analysis and concluding thoughts on their position based on their observations and how classroom practice reflects theory in the teaching of mathematics. The teacher candidate provided reflective analysis and concluding thoughts on their position based on their observations and how classroom practice reflects theory in the teaching of mathematics. The teacher candidate provided in-depth reflective analysis and concluding thoughts on their position based on their observations and how classroom practice reflects theory in the teaching of mathematics.
Completeness of Assignment

 

The assignment fails to adhere to writing conventions

Missing reference page or APA formatting not fully used.

The assignment adheres to all writing conventions and includes a reference page. APA formatting may not be evident. The assignment adheres to all writing conventions and includes a reference page. APA formatting is used.
Total (42 points)    
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