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Kelsie Wall

May 1, 2019

MAED 3224

Clinical Reflection Paper

During the Integrated Methods Block, my clinical teacher and the other fifth grade

teachers focused on the following mathematical goals: multiplying decimals, dividing decimals,

and multiplying a fraction by a fraction or a whole number. The students were preparing for

the practice end of grade test that they will be receiving the following week. The fifth-grade

teachers created a mathematics block, which the students split up in each fifth-grade classroom

based on their scores, the clinical teacher also modeled a whole group and a small group

mathematical instruction, which exposed each part of the indirect lesson plan. Throughout both

types of mathematical instructions, I was exposed to the clinical teacher using different teaching

methods or strategies to meet individual student’s needs.

The clinical teacher introduced the lesson and engaged the students by presenting three to

four review problems on the Investigations mathematical program, which activated the students’

prior knowledge. The students worked on the review problems individually or with their peer(s),

which the teacher facilitated by asking critical thinking questions and allowing the students to

agree or disagree with others by proving their answers. The class then transitioned into the

exploration, which allowed the students to practice their building knowledge and make sense of

the mathematical tasks. The clinical teacher had the students access the application known as

Showbie on their IPads, which the assignment was posted on for the students to complete in class

or for homework. The students were asked to complete two or three worksheets of various

problems that met each of the mathematical tasks or goals. They were allowed to use an expo
marker and a whiteboard to work out the problems or write in their answers using the writing

utensils on the application. While the students were working on the worksheets, the teacher

walked around to facilitate and pulled a small group of students who was struggling more than

others. I was also able to experience and gain knowledge of the fifth-grade teachers

collaborating together to benefit students at different levels within the subject of

mathematics. Each teacher had students from each fifth-grade class that scored in the same

realm as each other. For example, my clinical teacher had the students who scored the highest

on the practice mathematics test. The clinical teacher would gather these students at the rug and

ask them to talk to a peer to answer the practice problems, which covered the material discussed

from the previous day. The students would then state their answer and their reasoning to why

they believed that their answer was correct. The teacher would either ask the students if they

agreed or disagreed and why, explain the problem in further details using the student’s answer as

a guide, and other strategies to explain the problem. The students would then be sent back to

their seats to work on worksheets that were scanned to the Showbie application by the

teacher. The teacher would ask the students to complete these worksheets for homework, which

she provided time in class for them to work on and finish the problems. The teacher also used

the remaining time to facilitate with the students and gather a small group of students to the half-

moon table to provide extra assistance for the students who are still struggling.

In this course I was assigned to teach a mathematical lesson, which aligned with my

clinical teacher’s academic schedule. The teacher assigned me to teach multiplying a fraction by

a fraction, which I was nervous about initially. I raised my concerns after attempting to write my

first draft of my lesson plan because it didn’t seem to apply to her teaching methods and the style

that the students are used to and have adapted to. So, the clinical teacher then provided me with
a mathematical resource called “Investigations,” which she used daily during the math block.

This allowed my final draft of my lesson plan to be aligned and transition smoother when it came

time to teaching the lesson. I started the lesson by introducing a George Fletchy activity call

“How Much Dew.” The students seemed to enjoy this and found it challenging. I then

transitioned into modeling the material using a fraction bar and setting up the equation, but I

asked for students help at times to encourage critical thinking skills, increase participation, and to

build understanding. The students then went into guided practice, which they solved a

mathematical problem together and presented their problem-solving skills, ideas, or strategies to

the rest of the class. I eventually then transitioned to the exit ticket, which the students had to

answer the mathematical problem that was present on the board on the sticky note and turn it in.

Majority of the students mastered the concept, but there were a few students that still needed

extra help in the patterns of learning known as conceptual understanding, problem-solving, and

procedural fluency.

From my clinical experience, I interacted with the students in various ways during

mathematical instruction. The first type of interaction was walking around the room and

facilitating for the students who needed extra help on their worksheets. Through this interaction,

I encouraged the students’ language use and their vocabulary words. I also asked the students

higher-order thinking questions and providing feedback on their engagement and participation of

their work. I also interacted with a small group of students, which was to assist for the teacher

with students who were struggling with the standard algorithm. The teacher stressed the

importance of the standard algorithm because the students will be expected to understand and

complete mathematical tasks in this manner. There was no preparation for this small group

activity because of lack of time, provided materials, and mastery of the mathematical tasks.
My clinical teacher asked guided discussions or questions to build student’s

understanding and encouraged to use their critical thinking skills to explain their

reasoning. Some of these questions may sound like the following: “Why is that? Can you

explain why you believe that is correct? Does anyone agree or disagree?” The teacher allowed

these conversations to be student-led but added questions or comments for the conversation to

continue, when a misconception occurred, or when it was time to move forward with the

lesson. The students were allowed to voice their ideas or strategies this way, which also helped

build a classroom community full of respect. I was also able to experience my clinical teacher

using various strategies to meet individual needs. For example, the teacher would use anchor

charts, technology, usage of vocabulary words, small group instruction, and other strategies. I

was informed that anchor charts were the best source for students to use over a period of time

and helps students that need a visual representation or a reference. The clinical teacher also

included technology in every activity that she did across all curricular subjects like DreamBox,

Showbie, and other applications that benefit the students academically. Through the use of

technology and the clinical teacher’s guided questions, the students were able to adapt and learn

the mathematical vocabulary at a higher level. The applications that the students used to practice

the mathematical content would provide a definition or scenario, which the student would have

to match with the most accurate vocabulary word. Overall, the clinical teacher would alternate

or modify the lesson plan to meet the academic needs for all of the students within the classroom.

Throughout my observation, this group of fifth grade students was overall able to pick up

on mathematical tasks or goals fairly quickly. The clinical teacher also informed me that they

had the highest mathematical scores throughout all of the fifth-grade classes. On the other and,

some student needed extra assistance than others. There are a few reasons for some students to
struggle more than others, which include being classified as a multilingual student, learning

disabilities, and other educational aspects. Majority of these students were either pulled out for

extra resources during the math block or the teacher would pull them into a small group around

the half-moon table and practice the mathematical content and material with them. The clinical

teacher would model the strategies and procedures once more. The teacher would also provide

various mathematical situations and ways to complete the problems. This allowed the students

to build knowledge on the content on a one on one basis. There were also students that needed

more challenging and difficult problems. These students were also either pulled out for the AIG

program or the teacher provided them with extra worksheets, materials, or content that they

could practice furthering their knowledge on the content. The clinical teacher also encouraged

the students who mastered the mathematical content to help and provide assistance to other

students within the classroom. This allowed the students to learn from each other, collaborate

with one another, and build those relationships.

Overall, I was lucky enough to have a clinical teacher that supported me and provided

excellent teaching practices and methods to learn from. For example, the importance of creating

a classroom community, meeting individual academic and social needs, and other obstacles that

come with teaching young children. This clinical experience allowed me to grow professional

and personally by exposing me to various aspects that occur each day within a classroom.

Through all the good and the bad, this experience solidified that teaching is the profession of my

dreams and I am excited to be a future teacher.