You are on page 1of 7

Planning Commentary

Respond to the prompts below (no more than 9 single-spaced pages, including prompts). 1. Central Focus
a. Describe the central focus and purpose for the content you will teach in this learning segment.

The central focus for the content of this 3rd Grade learning segment is using geometric measurement to determine the area of rectangles. More specifically, it builds on prior knowledge of perimeter and seeks to distinguish between linear and area measurements. The learning segment culminates in using the distributive property to determine the area of a large figures. To extend the concept, the learning segment presents area as a function of multiplication. To serve this end, representative models will be used throughout all 4 lessons. Lesson 1 will employ base 10 rods as a manipulatives, and the learning segment will use graphed models throughout. As the students have prior knowledge of and experience with building multiplication arrays, they will be used as a cognitive bridge to understanding area on a conceptual level. The segment will be concluded by engaging students in problem-solving to extend and deepen their understanding of area.

b. Given the central focus, describe how the standards and learning objectives within your learning segment address: Conceptual understanding Procedural fluency Mathematical reasoning OR problem solving skills

Lesson 1 of the learning standard is based on standard 3.MD.7.a of the Illinois State Standards. It states that students will: Find the area of a rectangle with whole number side lengths by tiling it, and show that area is the same as would be found by multiplying the side lengths. This standard approaches area from a conceptual level. The use of graph paper to represent physical blocks of space provides a bridge between models and work with algorithms. Completion of the 14-4 Practice worksheet provides opportunities for procedural fluency. Lesson 2, as well, supports the concept of area on a conceptual level. To achieve this end, students will base 10 rods to form rectangles equivalent to the measurements provided on the worksheet. Additionally, the worksheet provides graphed models of rectangles to aid student understanding. Students will then have the opportunity to generate rectangles of their own design, provide measurements, and determine area. Throughout lessons 1 and 2, students will be required to use correct mathematical terminology as part of the instructional dialog. Lesson 3, as a whole, is centered around extending the concept of area. Lesson 3 transitions students from finding area with a single algorithm to applying the distributive property to determine the area of figures they

are otherwise incapable of solving. It focuses on standard 3.MD.7.c in which students Use area models to represent the distributive property in mathematical reasoning. The use of arrays for multiplication and the distributive property will be reviewed and connected to area and lessons 1 and 2. Students will split apart rectangles that all contain 10 as a side length. This will enable the use of the base 10 rods to reinforce the concept of the distributive property. Lesson 4 continues instruction focused on the distributive property and standard 3.MD.7.c. Like Lesson 3, it uses graphic representations of rectangles, yet moves away from side lengths of 10. To complete lesson 4, Practice 14-5 will be administered as a summative assessment.

c. Explain how your plans build on each other to help students make connections between facts, concepts, computations/procedures, and reasoning/problem solving strategies to deepen their learning of mathematics.

Prior to this learning segment, students were trained in the construction of arrays to represent multiplication problems. They also completed a unit on perimeter as a direct antecedent to the segment on area. While the original curriculum sequence separated the multiplication unit from the units on perimeter and area, I have adjusted this sequence to afford students a more direct opportunity to connect their knowledge of multiplication and experience building arrays to determining the area of a rectangle. Lesson 1 integrates arrays into the lesson plan and reinforces their similarity to unit measurements of rectangles. Lesson 2 continues this association and extends it to the use off arrays to utilize the distributive property of multiplication. Lesson 3 recaps lessons 1 and 2, then provides students the opportunity to apply that knowledge to the creation of a written response. The consistent use of graph paper throughout the learning segment allows students to connect knowledge across lessons.

2. Knowledge of Students to Inform Teaching For each of the prompts below (2ac), describe what you know about your students with respect to the central focus of the learning segment. Consider the variety of learners in your class who may require different strategies/support (e.g., students with IEPs, English language learners, struggling readers, underperforming students or those with gaps in academic knowledge, and/or gifted students).
a. Prior academic learning and prerequisite skills related to the central focus What do students know, what can they do, and what are they learning to do?

As the concept of area is dependent on a firm grasp of perimeter, the students have recently completed a unit on perimeter. Because area requires a knowledge of measurement, side lengths, and the associated language usage, mastery of this topic is a prerequisite to this learning segment. At the conclusion of this unit, students were administered a comprehensive topic test. This summative assessment revealed that all 22 students scored 85% or higher. As a result, the class was determined ready to progress to area. Prior to the perimeter unit, students received extensive experience building multiplication arrays. On average, students showed a 87% mastery of the subject. When comparing the assessment results of the two Tier 2 intervention students to their previous work, all students showed stronger performance on this topic than anticipated. In addition, our IEP student posted some of his highest scores to date.
b. Personal/cultural/community assets related to the central focusWhat do you know about your students everyday experiences, cultural backgrounds and practices, and interests?

The district lies in a region where the building trades account for a large percent of employment within the county. As a consequence of this, many of our students' parents have background knowledge appropriate to this learning segment. I will encourage the students to communicate with their parents about this topic to provide more opportunities to build their schema. In lesson 2, I use the example of carpeting my bedroom to honor this connection, as well as prefacing lesson 4 with an example that involves tiling my garden shed. In addition to background connections, the student with developmental delays has a high degree of interest in art. Because this stimulated his participation in the unit about multiplication arrays, and because this current learning segment connects multiplication arrays to the concept of area, it is highly probable that this learning segment will stimulate his interest as well. Most of the students, in fact, have expressed an affection for drawing, so this approach should serve a majority of students in the class.

c. Mathematical dispositions related to the central focusWhat do you know about the extent to which your students perceive mathematics as sensible, useful, and worthwhile, 3 persist in applying mathematics to solve problems, and believe in their ability to learn mathematics?

As a whole, this class enjoys math a great deal. They are often enthusiastic about math and openly discuss their enjoyment of many of our lessons. Each lesson of every unit includes problem-solving in addition to procedural fluency. As a rule, I consistently use the published material and modified it to include student information and interests. This was done to connect students to the material and

enable them to extend that knowledge to the larger world. I will employ the same strategy to preserve lesson relevance. One area of concern is student ability to persevere in problem solving. Many of the students lack confidence in their mathematical abilities and routinely ask for help, despite the fact that they possess the requisite knowledge to complete the task. Students must be challenged to ask themselves what they know and how it relates to the problem before any additional supports are offered. Daily admonitions of belief in their ability is necessary for success.

3. Supporting Students Mathematics Learning Respond to prompts below (3ac). As needed, refer to the instructional materials and lesson plans you have included to support your explanations. Use principles from research and/or theory to support your explanations, where appropriate.
a. Explain how your understanding of your students prior academic learning and personal/cultural/community assets (from prompts 2ab above) guided your choice or adaptation of learning tasks and materials.

Grid paper was used consistently throughout the learning segment, as it offers visual representations of mathematical concepts that serve as a bridge to algorithmic operations. Students in this class have shown a preference for illustrated models they have the opportunity to generate themselves. Specifically, T.S. shows a marked enthusiasm for drawing. This increases his time on task and the likelihood of participating in non preferred tasks. Regularly throughout the lessons, I likened rectangles to buildings, and area to floor tiles to connect students with background information familiar to them. Because so many of our students are enthusiastic about computers and technology, lesson 2 uses an online program for math supplementation(Math IXL) as homework. This should prevent no difficulties, as all students have access to the internet at home.

b. Describe and justify why your instructional strategies and planned supports are appropriate for the whole class and students with similar or specific learning needs.
Because the students in my class often display procedural fluency with a relatively small standard deviation in performance, differentiation through ability grouping is unnecessary. These students need to be reassured and verbalize their own thinking supports Vygotsky's contention that learning does not occur in a vacuum, but is constructed in a social context. As a result, I will employ the use of partners throughout this learning segment. As a result, students will have ample opportunities to verbalize their thoughts and compare and contrast their ideas to those of their peers.

Consider students with IEPs, English language learners, struggling readers, underperforming students or those with gaps in academic knowledge, and/or gifted students.

c. Describe common mathematical preconceptions, errors, or misunderstandings within your content focus and how you will address them.

A common error when determining area is to confuse it with perimeter. Students must be given numerous opportunities to identify the perimeter and area of each figure throughout this lesson. This will provide me with numerous opportunities to gauge student understanding of the difference between the two concepts. If students experience confusion, I will reference the square floor tiles of the classroom. Students will be made aware that each tile is a square unit, and will be asked how many will fit in the area that is our floor. Students will have the opportunity to walk the perimeter of the room to distinguish the difference between perimeter and area. Another concern is the difficulty estimating the area of curved objects. I will instruct the students to count the full square units and partial units separately and then find the sum. Students experiencing difficulty will be instructed to use their colored checking pencils to color code the partially shaded regions of the figure before tallying. This should provide a more visual representation of the partial regions and separate them from the full regions. Like partially shaded regions, students may have difficulty determining the area of irregular objects. If this occurs, students will once again be instructed to use their colored pencils to shade disparate regions. Connections to using arrays for the distributive property of multiplication will once again be made before students find the sum of all regions.

4. Supporting Mathematics Development Through Language

a. Language Demand: Language Function. Choose one language function essential for student learning within your central focus. Listed below are some sample language functions. You may choose one of these or another language function more appropriate for your learning segment: Categorize Compare/Contrast Describe Interpret Model

Because Coal City Elementary is committed to a more complete implementation of the Common Core Standards as well as preparation for the newly developed PARC test, this learning segment will focus on modeling as integral to the central focus of area. Common core standards require a conceptual understanding of mathematics, rather than a purely procedural one. This conceptual understanding is supported by accurate and complete mathematical language. When solving authentic, real world problems, models provide practical representations of these problems. To model correctly and completely, the language function an essential bridge from models to real life problems in which mathematics can provide a solution.

b. Identify a key learning task from your plans that provides students with opportunities to practice using the language function. In which lesson does the learning task occur? (Give lesson/day number.)

All 4 lessons utilize oral questioning throughout the instructional portion of each

lesson. As part of oral questioning, students will be required to provide answers that use correct mathematical terminology as well as standard grammatical conventions. Use of graph paper will be required throughout to reinforce the use of graphic models to solve problems. Students will require an adequate knowledge of mathematical language to generate accurate models. c. Additional Language Demands. Given the language function and task identified above, describe the following associated language demands (written or oral) students need to understand and/or use.

Vocabulary and/or symbols Plus at least one of the following:


1 Syntax Discourse When describing the measurements of a rectangle, students will correctly identify length and width, as well as referring to each measurement as a side length. Students will also use the word area, and describe it as the number of square units needed to cover a region. Students will differentiate area from perimeter, which will be described as distance around. Students must also identify that the figure is placed on a grid. Students will use the words addends and sum when describing the addition process, as well as factors and product when describing the multiplication process. Students will use the word algorithm to describe any number sentence. In each lesson, students will have the opportunity for discourse with their partners. I will monitor these conversations for clarity and ensure correct mathematical language; offering redirection when necessary. d. Language Supports. Refer to your lesson plans and instructional materials as needed in your response to the prompt. 1 Describe the instructional supports (during and/or prior to the learning task) that help students understand and successfully use the language function and additional language identified in prompts 4ac.

Prior to this lesson, students have been consistently required to use mathematical language throughout instruction. Correct vocabulary and definitions of pertinent concepts have been demonstrated with physical and graphic models in each lesson topic. Additionally, students are frequently asked to generate written responses to word problems to demonstrate their conceptual understanding through language. As a class, we have reviewed these responses together in an attempt to identify the most appropriate format, structure, and use of correct terminology. The graphic models used in this learning segment will be a familiar tool for students that connect their learning with previous lesson topics.

5. Monitoring Student Learning Refer to the assessments you will submit as part of the materials for Task 1.
a. Describe how your planned formal and informal assessments will provide direct evidence of students conceptual understanding, computational/procedural fluency, and mathematical reasoning/problem solving skills throughout the learning segment.

The Practice 14-4 worksheet for Lesson 1 and the worksheets for lessons 2 and 3 will serve as formative assessments during the course of the learning segment. The graphic representations will provide evidence that students relate multiplication and the determination of area to geometric shapes. Errors will be visual, and easily identifiable while monitoring individual work during each lesson. Upon completion of each worksheet, I will have the opportunity to correct before beginning the next lesson. The results of these assessments will drive instruction for each successive lesson. Any deficiencies will be redressed before moving on to the next segment of the unit, which is dependent on a firm grasp of this learning segment. b. Explain how the design or adaptation of your planned assessments allows students with specific needs to demonstrate their learning.

Students in tier 2 interventions will be given additional support beyond that of other students. Because they have prearranged partners, the student generated floor plans from lesson 2 will be leveled to their ability. Additionally, written responses from lesson 3 will be assessed by an additional measure. Student work will be compared to previous work and assessed by level of improvement.

Consider all students, including students with IEPs, English language learners, struggling mathematics students, underperforming students or those with gaps in academic knowledge, and/or gifted students.