Observation Time

Well it's two weeks into the 3rd marking period, which is my first marking period teaching math. I have been loving every second of it! I had my final observation of the year on Thursday. It went amazing!! I decided to take this time to teach my kiddos the concept of start unknown with missing addends (common core 1.OA.8). If you have ever taught start unknown in a word problem you know how difficult of a concept it is, especially for 1st graders.
The students started at the carpet. We read the "I can" statement together, which is basically like the goal or the objective of the lesson. The I can statement was "I can determine the unknown of an addition or subtraction equation." After reading that I said "WHEWWWWW" that was tough. What are some of those big words we read. The students raised their hands. One by one I underlined and we defined each of those big words (determine-figure out, unknown-we don't know yet, addition- putting together, subtraction-taking away, and equation- number sentence). Those were the kid friendly words I used that the kids seemed to understand. I try to always start my lesson out with reviewing the goal or objective so they have in mind my expectations of what I want them to learn.

Next, I moved to my rocking chair. I told a story of my weekend. "This weekend I went to the circus. I saw the saddest little snowman. I asked him, 'Sad little snowman, what is wrong?' He said to me, 'well I had some balloons, then five flew away, now I only have 4 left.' I said to him, ' well that's simple. I can help! I just need to know how many balloons you started with.' Well that little snowman just looked at me so confused. So our job today is to figure out how many balloons that sad little snowman started with.

This is the anchor chart I had. I had not filled out the storyboard yet obviously. So after telling the story, I told the kids that today we were going to work with story boards to help us solve our word problems. I told them that writers, readers, scientists, and mathematicians all use story boards to organize and solve problems. I then had them turn to their partner, and retell the story of the sad little snowman. Then I had them share what happened first, next, last. With each student that shared, I was looking for something specific like, "The clown started with some but we don't know how many" or "I know 5 flew away". While they were telling me each step I drew the picture on the storyboard to match. Then we made the number sentence. I then sent them back to their desk with a storyboard with a similar start unknown clown word problem. We did it together. I had some students show their work on the document camera. I then gave them differentiated word problems, while i pulled 5 students that needed a little extra assistance. I then pulled the kids back together to review our I can statement and briefly talk about it as my closure.

With the Charlotte Danielson teacher rating, I knocked it outta the ball park. I was and am SUPER ecstatic with how well I scored.  I have to say though, I got the idea for this lesson from betterlessons.com (great website!) I couldn't of just 'winged it'.

I take every day and every lesson seriously, and it's great that my administration sees my enthusiasm and love for the kids and curriculum. If you have an observation coming up, I recommend definitely taking the time to prep and hit all those areas that Charlotte Danielson says makes an effective or distinguished teacher (whatever you are aiming for). I would also recommend consistenly doing the things you plan to do on your observation day. Kids are used to routine, BUT if you up and change it the day before your observation they are going to take notice (and they aren't going to do what you want them to do or act like you want them to act).

Wishing you all the best in your upcoming observation :) Remember breathe, smile, relax YOU GOT HIRED FOR A REASON!!

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