In the demands of a math class (or any class for that matter) I really want to push my students to work out new ideas. I wanted to draw them and release them with new ways to think about the world. I started with a worksheet and the steps to master the topic, but I had to make it worth my students’ time. I had a basic lesson plan that (for my field instructor) looked a little too by the book. I won’t lie, it was a pedestrian effort at first. I was tired, I had several other lessons to plan. I had a lot to plan. I had a lot of homework, but really, there’s no excuse.

So I went over the lesson plan again. And again. And again, again and again.

How could I get more students to participate, and have them actually have to use their noggins? Hand raising only goes so far. It has to be relevant to the lesson. Pair share (turn and talk) is better, but there isn’t as much accountability (until I have super teacher hearing). What to do?

This was a lesson on graphing on coordinates. In reality, as long as the students know the number line (or at least how to count), there isn’t much to graphing coordinates.

(x,y) (go over, go up) (run then fly) (etc, etc, etc)

I used the ActivBoard to get students up there working towards graphing points, then describing coordinates. I got most students up to participate, and held students accountable when they made mistakes (negatives were sometimes an issue). But I still wanted to get everyone up, but how?

I was thinking about the lesson all morning before the observation, and then it hit me. How do I get everyone participating? Make them the coordinate points! Make the room the graph. It would have the students apply their knowledge, superimpose it onto the room, and find their spots. It worked flawlessly. I could see (!) where everyone was in the classroom, literally. There couldn’t have been a better formative assessment. And then when there was a summative assessment on graphing a few days later, everyone got it.

(The launch for the lesson was pretty good too, it started with a talk about newton, dropping a baseball, students timing it, and putting those points on a graph and looking at its motion over time, cool stuff)

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The creativity that you added will make the lesson memorable. Finding time to incorporate these ideas is a challenge, but it can improve the lesson greatly, can’t it? I like how you added the Newton piece into the launch. Connecting the concepts to the real world is key to me. Students seem to engage in the lesson when they understand it has meaning beyond the classroom walls.