Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Coach for a Day

I had the pleasure of filling in coaching shoes at the middle school level. After a conversation with our Title teacher about the lack of student reasoning happening within our classes, I introduced a strategy assessment called GLoSS. It originated in New Zealand and assesses student use of strategy in the domains of addition/subtraction, multiplication/division and ratios/proportions. 

What was great about this opportunity was it allowed me to put back on my coaching hat and model the idea of student-centered, conceptual teaching. This idea was foreign to the Title teacher who shared he's very procedural in his teaching because it was the way he was taught.

His classroom was set-up in rows and students sat at least one desk away from the nearest neighbor. The students only encountered math in the nude and only needed to worry about getting the correct answer. Manipulatives were never visible. These kids are considered the "bubble kids" with gapping holes in their mathematical understanding. GLoSS and the Numeracy Project would be perfect for this classroom. 

He seemed very open to the entire idea. I would model the assessment and implement a lesson based on the data gained from the assessment. I assessed all but three of his kids determining the strategy range for concepts relating to ratios and proportions within the 7 th grade class was as low as 2nd grade to 4th grade understanding.

The lesson implemented involved the use of manipulatives, context and math discusses of the concept versus the procedure. It's like a grand slam modeling lesson for a teacher who has never seen that in action. A great lesson in which the students were engaged and of which the teacher enjoyed being a part. 

I left telling him, if he wanted to discuss the lesson later we could. There was no obligation because I'm technically not a coach. My hope is that change was promoted. Any change...

As I walked passed his classroom to leave for the day I saw this...

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