Tuesday, February 4, 2014

My Observation

Today, my supervisor came in to observe me. My lesson was focused on practicing converting between scientific notation and standard form. I introduced this concept to my classes on Friday, but with a snowday on Monday, most of the students forgot what they had learned after the three-day weekend. I had my work cut out for me!

I started by having everyone sign into Showbie and look at the comments I made on their classwork from Friday. Many of them still needed a lot of practice to get close to mastering this concept. Next, they completed the Do Now, also in Showbie, which asked them what type of exponent a really, really small and a really, really large number would have, positive or negative. Then they had two problems to complete and submit.

The next part of the lesson was where the fun came in! I had 12 stations set up around the room for the students to visit. At each station, they used Aurasma to view a Tellagami video (Gami) that I created, with the avatar reading a word problem to them, asking them to convert a number from scientific notation to standard form, or vice versa. I tried to make each word problem something that would be interesting to them, like the number of burgers sold at McDonald's, the amount of the national debt, the age of the Earth, or the speed of the fastest computer. The room was filled with the sounds of the various accents of the avatars reading the problems, and students moving around the room solving the problems. My supervisor walked around the room too, looking over the student's shoulders to see the Gamis. 

When they had completed all 12 stations, they scanned a QR code on the SmartBoard that led them to a Google form survey. The first question asked them how they were doing with this concept, ranging from "I totally get it" to "I'm totally lost" (only one student said they were totally lost). The second question asked them which fact they found the most interesting - not surprisingly, the McDonald's fact won. The third question asked what was their favorite activity that we have done so far this year. QR code scavenger hunts won this one by a landslide! (Guess I'll be doing them more often!)

If the students finished the survey, they could start a Versatiles activity that I created for practicing scientific notation. Since we had a 2-hour delay today, classes were 20 minutes shorter than usual, so only about half of the students actually completed all 12 stations and got to the Versatiles. My supervisor sat down with several of the students to see what they were doing and they explained to him how to use the Versatiles.

When we were just about at the end of the class, I asked them to put their iPads back in the cart and grab the homework from on top of the cart on their way out. As one student looked at the homework, he said, "This'll be a piece of cake!" That was like music to my ears!

As for my observation, my supervisor was impressed with the technology being used in my classroom, and how comfortable the students seemed with using it. He also said he now totally understands why I'm teaching a professional development class on using iPads!

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