Thursday, February 9, 2012

Kong Hwa School - Beginning the Lesson Planning Process

The professional learning team comprising primary three teachers met with me today to begin their lesson planning. The school's research theme is engaging students. The team has decided to focus on a unit on word problem solving involving addition and subtraction. By the time this unit is taught, students would have completed addition and subtraction entirely as well as all the basic multiplication facts 1x1 to 9x9.

In this meeting I model the lesson planning meeting discussion. Today we elect the first part of the lesson where the team decides to use concrete materials to role play the situation embedded in the word problem. The team has identified the target task and will construct a simpler version of the target task for use in the first part of the lesson.

The discussion structure is as follow:

1. Get the team to segment the entire lesson and focus on the part to be discussed in this hour. Today the focus in on using concrete materials to model the situation in a word problem.

2. Have team members discussed why this act-it-out strategy has a potential in engaging students. What are the features of such a strategy that has potential in engaging students?

Four features were raised by the team

a. "easy to handle" - tasks that are easy to access has a potential to engage ( especially ) students aversed to word problems. During the research lesson teachers may want to see for themselves the effects of the introductory task on student engagement.

b. "could try and try" - will this have a potential to engage students in making repeated attempts at a complex tasks?

c. "includes elements of comprehension" - could this way of introducing the task makes students more comfortable in trying to understand the tasks.

d. "provide opportune for students to make connections"

I am interested to see during the research lesson how this way of introducing complex word problems engage students in making sense of the meaning of the situation in the problem. What is the role of the act-it-out situations in helping students engage with the situation n the problem to enhance their understanding of the problem?

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