Sometimes the words of a student are far more eloquent that those of the professor.
An Excerpt from a Student Teaching Journal
"I really enjoyed teaching the students the game “An Hour or Bust” this morning. I was a little nervous giving the directions since I was not sure if the students were understanding the concept of the game but once we started playing I could tell that they were getting the hang of it. In this “me vs. you” game as we like to call them I played against the entire class. Each team could spin up to five times on a spinner that had six different increments of time on it ranging from 5 to 20 minutes. The goal is to get as close as possible to 60 minutes in five spins without going over. The team that gets the closest is the winner, and both teams can choose to stop spinning at any point in time. The students followed along with me as I filled out the game sheet on the overhead, coloring in the increments of time that were being spun on the clocks and writing down each increment. The students were really engaged in the game and I could feel the effects of this engagement on their behavior. When I asked for students to show me they were ready to move to the next spin by putting their materials down they really followed through with that signal and we were able to have a good pace throughout the lesson. Students were not playing with their crayons or having side conversations and they were really excited about the game.
I think students were so engaged in the lesson today because I really had a good understanding of the math concept that was being taught and I was excited to share my knowledge with them. Students could tell that I was excited about playing this game and as a result they were really giving me their attention. The game was so much fun for me to teach because of how visual it was for the students. It was fantastic to show them how to count by 5’s around the clock and be able to shade in increments of time on the clock. At one point we had half of a clock shaded in and I asked the students how many minutes were shaded in. S___ raised her hand and shared with the class that we had half an hour shaded in on the clock, or thirty minutes. When I asked S____ how she knew this she was able to tell me that she could see half of the clock was shaded in which must mean 30 minutes since half of 60 is 30. Having the shaded in clock as a visual to refer to was so helpful for so many students today. Near the end of the game the students had 50 minutes shaded in on their clock and I asked M____, one of our students who struggles with math how many minutes the students needed to reach 60. I pointed out to her the empty space that had not been shaded in and she was able to tell me that the students needed 10 more minutes to reach 60. I explained to the class that instead of counting all the way around the clock up to 50 minutes they could figure out that they have 10 minutes until 60 by thinking about 60 as a whole and knowing that they are missing a part that is equal to 10 minutes. I could have gone on all morning about subtraction, addition, fractions, and probability using this simple game.
It was fantastic to see the students feeding off of my excitement about number corner this morning and having them so engaged and on task was a great feeling. Towards the end of the game when the class had to make a decision about whether or not to take their final spin because they were close to 60 minutes the students were on the edge of their seats with excitement. Our math enrichment students were at this point late for their enrichment class and I had to almost kick them out of the room with promises that we would fill them in later on the results of the game. It’s a credit to the Bridges program to have the students so engaged in an activity and utilizing visuals to make concepts concrete for students. I hope that I can carry over the good vibes from today into future lessons and keep in mind that enthusiasm is contagious."
This is why I love what I do.