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Math lesson plan for observation

February 16, 2013

I’m going to enjoy reading other teachers’ contributions to this week’s MS Sunday Funday topic, Post Your “Official” Lessons Plans. I want to see different approaches and learn from others. My district promised to provide teachers exemplar lesson plans (to coincide with our new teacher evaluation system) but it has yet to do so. I’m not dissing them–everyone is overextended–but what the district has done is provide a lesson plan template to follow.

For my observation I used the district template to create this lesson plan on a sixth grade shaded rectangle task  I previously wrote about. The mastery objective was: Students will be able to discover through investigation the base, height, and area of triangles. I modified the lesson, found in the  Sept. 2012 issue of Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, to include resource cards for differentiation.

Draw a rectangle based on the following information

  • Divide the height into 3 congruent line segments by placing points on the line segment.
  • Divide the base into 4 congruent line segments by placing points on the base.

Construct triangles and determine the area

  • From the point just below the top-left corner, draw a line segment to each point on the rectangle.
  • Shade the triangle at the upper-left corner and then shade every other triangular region.
  • What is the total area of the shaded region?

I got hammered* in the post-observation and rightfully so. I should have added a second objective–students will utilize various reading strategies to complete a mathematical task–because several groups did not comprehend the directions. As I mentioned in the previous post

It’s the only geometry task I have ever given where a geometric shape, or visual, is not provided. Students must construct a specific rectangle and 11 triangles within it, shade the alternating triangles, then determine the area of the shaded region–all from written directions. Way cool!!!

Looking back I was an idiot for not including the reading objective. I knew the task was based on written directions but I only focused on a math objective.  I updated the lesson plan so you won’t make the same mistake.

*not as in drunk. As in a hyperbolic form of critique!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Cathy permalink
    February 17, 2013 1:32 pm

    Do they let you know when you’ll be observed. Because at my school they just showed up, and hopefully it’s during an interesting lesson.

    • February 17, 2013 2:17 pm

      We have both formal and informal observations, and the administrator stays for the entire block. The formal observation is scheduled and the informal is unannounced. I find the process of designing the lesson and discussing it ahead of time very worthwhile. The feedback carries through to future lessons. When my adminstrator came in for the informal observation my class was in the middle of the Balanced Lunch Task. Our district is giving us professional development time to create groupworthy tasks so students are more likely to experience engaging lessons. We don’t have 180 groupworthy tasks yet, but we’re slowly chipping away at it!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. It’s interesting to learn what other teachers are experiencing.

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