Reflection on a lesson I taught
Picture book lesson 5
The most important thing I intended to teach in this lesson was the length of time different types of whale took to raise their male and female young ones. I managed to convey the planned content effectively using an interactive approach of presentation. I started by challenging their general knowledge of the discussion subject. I placed the students in groups of three and assigned reading sections to each set, thereby enabling them to identify correctly the period of time different species of whales took to raise their male and female offspring. This approach promoted student participation and understanding. Then, I used double bar graph to highlight effectively the similarities and differences of raising male and female young ones of each species of whale.
During their group discussion, I realized my students have different understanding capacities. Some were relatively sharp students while others were a bit slow. I was able to detect these differences in their ability by monitoring the time they took to complete the group assignment and the general participation of every student. The astute students were quite fast in noting the differences in raising the male and female offspring while the slow students needed more time and clear explanation to detect the same differences. I also discovered most of the students who lagged behind were embarrassed especially when they missed the correct answer in a group with bright students, thereby making them uncomfortable.
I was specifically impressed by the integration of the double bar graph in my presentation. This analysis tool made it easy for my students to understand the main concept I was teaching. It visualized the time lengths, similarities and differences, hence making it uncomplicated for students’ interpretations and potential predictions. The initial predictions by students proved to come in handy because it kept the student anticipating to know whether they were right or wrong, and this enhanced their general concentration in the whole presentation. In addition, grouping the student was intriguing both to me and to my students because it added the element of peer learning, which was more effective especially for a class with students of different abilities. Besides, as the teacher, I got an opportunity to learn more about my students.
For a more effective presentation next time, I will change the criterion of grouping the students. This is because the composition of the groups was somehow detrimental to the learning of the slow students. Therefore, to accommodate all the students with their individual differences, I plan to group the students according to their abilities and for effective peer learning, I will promote academic balance by ensuring each group has at least one bright student and two slow learners. This criterion will hopefully reduce negativity in the learning process of weaker students and promote confidence in the bright ones. It will also provide an opportunity for the weak student to learn from their peers and this will definitely promote cohesion in the class.
In order to accommodate personal differences of the students, I asked them relevant questions that were aimed at exposing their understanding of the topic. From the responses they gave, I was able to tell whether they had actually understood of the subject. By asking questions requiring comparison of whales and other animals, I intended to help all students have a clear understanding of the whales. In addition, I ensured each group was able to complete their assignment by allocating more time to the groups with relatively slow students and help them out where necessary.
I observed the students do their group assignments and I was able to know the progress of my students from their participation in the groups. Some groups would take longer to complete the assignments than others and there were students who dominated the group discussions while others were dormant members. In future, I will choose group leaders to facilitate the discussions so that all the students can effectively contribute and learn more from each other.
Picture book lesson 6
In this lesson, my main objective was to teach students about the habitation of the different species of whales in terms of location and migration routes. The planned content for this presentation was conveyed successfully through a class-involving presentation. The first phase covered the general information the students had regarding the habitation. I effectively exposed their general understanding on the habitat and migration route of the whales by asking the students to predict the oceans in which the whales live, in addition to whether they inhabit one place or exhibit migration behaviors. To find solutions to these questions, I grouped the students into sets of three and provided them with the relevant materials to help them find the habitat and migration routes for the five specific species of whales. After collecting the precise information for all the five types of whales, I used bar graph to compare the locations where the different whales live and their migration routes.
During the presentation and assessment, I discovered most of my students had a general knowledge about the habitat of the whales. They also seemed to do well with group activities as they exhibited high participation. I also noticed some students were more comfortable asking their peers about what they could not understand than asking me in a regular class session. However, there were bright students who found the group activities irrelevant and time wasting since they could finish the assignment within a very short time individually. On the other hand, there were students who appeared to be weak and required more time to complete the assignment. Most of them did not have a good background of the subject matter and thus had difficulties in understanding and contributing to the discussion.
During the presentation, I really liked the participation of the students especially during their predictions. They were honest and this helped me to determine the level of their general knowledge on the matter. The group work discussion was quite an interesting experience as well. Student had an interactive session with one another giving the weak and shy students an opportunity to ask their questions of concern, which they would have otherwise not done in a regular session. The use of the bar graph was very instrumental because it enabled me to represent the answers in more understandable form for all students to interpret and determine the accuracy of their initial predictions.
I am considering changing the composition of the groups because some groups displayed superior skills in handling the assignment I gave, while others had problems in completing the same piece of work. To promote effective peer learning, I will group the student according to their academic abilities. I will group the bright students together with the weak students in order to complement the weak students. I will appoint the sharp students to be facilitators of the discussion. Alternatively, I may group the bright students together and add them more questions to make it a more educative experience.
I accommodated the individual differences of my students by asking them to predict the oceans in which the whales lived, as well as whether all whales occasionally migrated. Then, I helped them to compare their initial predictions to the actual class findings represented in a bar graph. I also ensured that all students were able to complete their assignments by assisting them where possible. By administering questions in my presentation, I managed to help the students understand the major differences regarding the location of the whales and their migration routes.
My planned assessment informed me of the different students’ abilities in comprehension. The way the students responded to the questions that I asked reflected on how much they had actually understood, and this gave me an insight into which areas to highlight. Checking how students were doing in their group work enabled me to understand students at a personal level and also give the weak ones more attention even during the rest of the presentation.
Picture book lesson 7
The most important set of things that I intended my students to learn was the conditions necessary for whales to live in the sea, echolocation and whale senses. The planned content was effectively conveyed within the presentation. I commenced by asking the students why they thought whales are able to thrive in seas, and whether there was a possibility of the whales surviving in other habitats if provided with the same conditions. These questions were meant to open up the students’ minds to critical thinking, as well as the analysis of the relevant conditions required for the survival of the different types of whales.
I divided the students into groups of four in order to allow for the group-work reading assignment. This was to involve all students in finding the conditions necessary for whales to live in the sea, echolocation and whale senses. Each group wrote the summary of the three questions regarding the specific type of whale they were studying, and then they shared their findings with the class.
I learned that my students are hardworking and cooperative because within a short time most of the groups had completed their assignment and were ready to present their summaries. I also noted an improvement in class presentation, as most of them were confident of their work and they were enthusiastic about making their presentations before the class. During their small group assignments, I also discovered that the bright student were very supportive of their weak counterparts and this was the main reason most of them completed their assignment in good time. I also noted students taking notes when their classmates were doing their presentation and this indicated that the students trusted each other as sources of information and learning.
I liked a number of things about my approach. The most impressive thing was the group assignments and presentation of the summary of their findings. It enabled students to boost their confidence, self-esteem and most importantly, cooperation in learning. I also liked the approach I used to help students collect information about the three questions. By reading extensively and writing a précis, the students were able to understand more about the conditions for survival of whales in seas, echolocation and whales senses. To cover the same content in a normal teaching lesson would require more time and would not be as effective.
When forming the groups next time, I will appoint a leader who will facilitate the discussion and another person to present the summary of the groups finding. The facilitator will be a bright student who will be able to guide the group through the discussions. On the other hand, I will appoint the weak students to present the groups finding so that they can equally develop their confidence and self-esteem in class. I will enhance the presentation by asking students to consider questions from the class in order to help the whole class understand the content fully. However, I will be giving further explanation to add to the presentation where I feel the student did not cover satisfactorily.
I accommodated the individual differences of my student by ensuring they all participated in the learning exercise. I grouped them into fours with consideration of their individual academic abilities to make them learn from their peers who were relatively sharp. During the students’ presentation, I supported their finding and occasionally expounded their work in order to help the slow students capture the summarized presentations and substantiate the content presented thereby avoiding ignorance.
The planned assessment was helpful in determining the potential of the students as I could see how they worked in the groups. I also could tell whether there was any notable improvement in their participation and general understanding of the content taught. I will adapt the assessment I used in the next presentation because students will require more attention in order to ensure they do the right thing and present the right information correctly.