3.2b Demonstrating Flexibility and Responsiveness in Lesson Adjustments
This standard is necessary for effective teaching because there are a variety of factors that can change a lesson during instruction. Teachers should be open and flexible to adjust their instruction based on how the students are engaging with the material or if there are interruptions in the learning environment. Using a lesson plan should be more of a guide for teachers, open to change and not rigid which might actually limit learning opportunities for students.
The evidence I have submitted below is an image of a page from a math worksheet which I had students work on because my lesson was losing the students attention. I needed to adjust my lesson because students were getting restless while working at the carpet completing a task that could have been completed more quickly. I had students on the carpet drawing different types of quadrilaterals on whiteboards and then taking turns drawing on the smart board. This proved to be too much wait time for students and the whiteboards started becoming distractions instead of tools to help students learn. After several reminders of redirection, I decided to end my instruction at the carpet and have students move to their desks, switching to drawing and explaining in their workbooks. Students were more successful after the switch and were able to progress through work books on their own.
I learned that being flexible to adjusting instruction is an important quality that benefits students and teachers time during a lesson. Instead of struggling through a task, switching locations will re-focus their engagement which resulted in more learning. I will be more mindful of what my students already know for future lessons and use these activities for more of a quick review to move on to more challenging material. Not having students sit in one place for too long will also help with pacing and keep their attention so as not to lose interest or focus on the specific content I am teaching.
This standard is important to education because it allows teachers to assess their students understanding of content and having them explain the process they are using. When students are able to verbalize their thinking, the learning sets in and will have a greater chance of retention. The evidence I have included for this post is a section from my edTPA lesson sequence where I am Informally assessing their understanding of perimeter and area, and their ability to break a large rectangle into two smaller rectangles and compare their areas. (For example 6 x 3 rectangle can be as two rectangles added together (3×3) + (3×3).) I designed my questions for students to think about the strategy they were using such as “Why did you build the rectangle this way? How did you determine the side lengths of the rectangles? What patterns do you notice?” Thinking of these questions in advance helped me be better prepared when monitoring for student understanding.
This evidence demonstrates emerging competence because I am including the questioning technique in my planning and instruction. Providing “wait time” can be difficult for me as I am quick to help students understand instead of letting them process on their own. Open ended questions should be high level thinking so expecting a quick response takes away from their processing. Questioning and discussions add engagement and participation for students during lessons and are a great strategy for teachers to use for assessment.
Changes or next steps would be to provide more “wait time” when conferencing with individual students or when posing questions to the whole class. It is important to remember sometimes students need a minute or two to really engage with a high-level question and be given the patience to process and answer when they have a more concrete idea of their response.
1 Expectations: The teacher communicates high expectations for student learning. Establishing high expectations for student learning means creating a structured environment and limiting distractions and interruptions. This is a key element of successful classroom management and allows teachers to make the most out of their time with their students. Students will stay on task when expectations are understood and can spend more time on learning instead of needing to be redirected.
I decided I needed to clearly communicate expectations during my lesson Measurement of Time. The lesson included multiple activities and transitions so I wanted to make sure they went as smooth as possible to maximize their learning. I demonstrated emerging competence on Standard 1 by going over what I wanted students to do before letting them transition to the next task. For example, before the students went from teacher instruction on the carpet to independent work at their tables, I told students I expected them to be silently working through their workbooks. If they had a question or wanted to share ideas with a peer, that would be okay but only if it was math related. I noticed in a previous lesson that students were having off topic conversations at the table so wanted to make sure they understood my expectations during math time.
I learned through this experience that setting expectations improves performance from students. They worked well during their independent work with few interruptions. During another activity using white boards, I instructed students to only use the white boards for math, not decorations or drawing. Although these expectations were set up, not all students followed them and I missed some opportunities for addressing these concerns. Next steps to increase effectiveness with expectations would be to follow up with certain behaviors and hold students accountable. This is another key aspect of creating a structured environment where students should be reminded if they are not following directions. I will continue to communicate high expectations for student learning before beginning a new task and follow up with students who need it.