Saturday, November 27, 2010

Last Lesson @ NIE (23 Nov 2010)

I would like to start off my last reflection for this module with this quotation from Albert Einstein.

"I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn."

This is exactly how Dr Yeap has been delivering his lessons!

Through his guidance, I am now more aware of the Singapore Initiatives, though not an expert in it. More importantly, it is how the module shapes our mind to think, plan and deliver lessons in more engaging ways which all pupils can learn and benefit.

Do I know everything about Singapore Initiative in Education? The answer is a definite NO! However, I was shown the "door" to the answers I need.

"Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself." (A Chinese Proverb)

Last but not least, this module embarks all of us to look beyond the textbooks in schools and pursue the teaching profession as teaching professionals, and not merely teachers.

Thank you, Dr Yeap! :)

Lesson @ NIE (16 Nov 2010)

Today's lesson moved on to the initiaives in Professional Development.

Agenda as follows:

1) Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)
2) Lesson Study
3) Polygons
4) Research Lesson
5) Sample Test @ a Glance

Essential Take-aways from the lesson.

1) A good education system is made up high quality teachers who are constantly upgrading and improving themselves.

2) PLCs, formed in 2009, is a platform to move towards a good education system by allowing teachers to come together to work collaborative, exchange ideas on learning and teaching and engage in research - reaching a higher level of professional competence and standing.

3) Three guiding principles of PLC
  • Ensuring Students learn
  • Building A Culture of Collaboration
  • Focusing on Student Outcomes

4) 4 Critical Questions in PLC

  • What is it we expect students to learn?
  • How will we know when they have learned it?
  • How will we respond when they don't learn?
  • How will we respond when they already know it?

Links to more information on PLC:

Lesson @ NIE (9 Nov 2010)

Agenda for the day;

1) Performance Task
2) Rubric
3) A Look at International Assessment
4) Formative Assessment

The performance task is similar to what we have for the pupils in school - Math Trail, and it is a REAL lesson. :P

All of us were told to estimate the height of a pillar within the NIE Campus and we were all given a number of tools for us to explore so as to complete the task. Rather open-ended I would say.

As the task kicked off, we sort of formed our own groups and started to work on the tasks using the different tools. While some of us seemed to already know how to go about it, others were exploring the tools and busy brainstorming. End of the day, all the groups came out with many interesting ideas in solving the problem. The main take-away of the activity is probably learning from each other - cooperative learning. :)

Something refreshing I learnt about rubrics during the lesson is not to sum up the score within the rubric. I believe many of us, including myself, had made this mistake before.

The different descriptors within the rubrics are meant to be descriptive to the task per say.
It is only meaningful within the specific descriptor.

I also learnt about this interesting quote from Albert Einstein.

" What's measurable is not always important, and what's important is not always measurable."

Another meaningful lesson. :)

Lesson @ NIE (26 Oct 2010)

Today's lesson is all about Assessment.

Agenda for the day:

1) Assessment-Interactive Lecture
2) Area is 5
3) Frameworks - workbook task & word problems

What I have learnt about Assessment :

  • It comprises of 2 parts.
    Data collection & Interpreting the data
  • Assessment is a subset of teaching and should exist in our daily lesson.

"Area is 5" is another interesting learning activity i have picked up in the course.
We were given geoboards and paper grids, and tasked to come up with as many figures having the area 5 as possible. The activity tapped mainly on the concrete and pictorial aspects of the learners and it blends in nicely with our current lots of pupils - mainly kinesthetic and visual learners.

What impresses me the most is Dr Yeap's ways of delivering the lesson. He is reaching out to the student-teachers with different abilities in Mathematics. In a way, it can be a well-executed DI lesson on adult learners. All my classmates are also very co-operative as some of the higher ability ones would allow him to reach out to those who are still grasping the concepts, instead of shouting out all the answers. Adult learners are different from young learners per say.

Another take-away for the day is the Newman Strategy that determine why some pupils could not work on challenging word problems.

  1. Reading - Can the pupil read?
  2. Comprehension - Does the pupil understand the problem?
  3. Strategy Know-How - Does the pupil know which strategy to use?
  4. Transformation - Can the pupil come up with a series of alogotithms and diagrams based on the problem?
  5. Process Skills - Does the pupil know how to proceed with the algorithms and diagrams he has formed so as to solve the problem?
  6. Solution - Does the pupil reach the correct answer?

More about the Newman strategy.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Lesson @ NIE (19 Oct 2010)

Yay! Another visible lesson agenda or the day!
I like it alot as it helps me, the learner, to phase myself to the lesson better.
Probably something I will try in my own classroom in 2011.

The lesson proper
1) Tiles Problem
2) Structure Problem
3) Circle Problem

Through the problem on structure, I learnt something new today. There are pots of gold in the horizontal patterns as well! All these years, I guessed most of us probably just focussed on the vertical patterns as they are the most common and easiest to see. I didn't catch the horizontal patterns in the class till some of my classmates pointed it out. :)

Out of the few activities, I like the Circle problem the most.
Perhaps it is easier among the rest. Haha... :P

I must commend Dr Yeap for delivering the lesson so well. Through him, teachers can slowly shape their teaching style towards his - creating a non-threatening learning environment with fanastic questioning techniques.

He is patient and will always try his best to scaffold all of us.

Perhaps this is what we mean by,

No one is left behind!

Thank you Dr Yeap! :)

Lesson @ NIE (12 Oct 2010)

Today, Dr Yeap has the following agenda for all of us!

1) Salute
2) Card Game - 'Magic Touch'
3) Take 1, Take 2
4) Multiplication

At a glance, I think the lesson looks FUN!


Out of the four games, I personally love Salute and Take1, Take 2 the most.
Through the games, pupils are subtly practising certain Mathematical concepts while having fun.

Paraphrasing what Dr Yeap had said, the way to teaching effectively is not what we teach, but rather how we teach!

It has definitely pointed another direction I can take in my teaching.

Back in school

I introduced the two games to my pupils and most of them love them.
The kids played Take 1, Take 2 with each other and challenged me at the canteen; needless to say, I sort of win most of the times. Haha... During the game, I tried to prompt some of them to perhaps pay attention to certain patterns and in less than 1 day, a few children managed to grasp the trick to win the game. That was the time when I changed the rules of the game to Take 3! Haha... Evil me...

As for the Salute, I shown them the trick and allow them to try it out at home as homework due to time constraint. Two of my pupils managed to rearrange the cards the day after, and they ended up being the expert to teach the others within the class! :P One of the eventually also came up with the arrangement to spell the months in a year! We had a fruitful session! :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Meeting Which Mr Anxiety Took Over! (1 Oct 2010)

We finally met up again after the last meet-up at NIE.

Today's agenda was to compile everything and decide on the mode of presenting the E-package.

Perhaps due to the ridiculous workload in schools, everyone was actually rather lost in how the E-package should be presented. Hence, most of the time spent was on synthesizing our individual's part to form a comprehensive whole. But progress was going slow.

...can feel the anxiety in the air...

Finally, the group decided to use the Upd approach, backward engineering. Within another short round of brainstorming, we decided to create a blog to present the E-package.

Work was splitted and progress was starting to pick up again. In less than an hour, the group came out with a template for everyone to use, everyone was taught on the usage of Cmap, a blog was created, and several testings on the uploading of picture files were also done.

Finally, we ended the day with the allocation of work for every one of us. If nothing goes wrong, the blog will be completed on Sunday. :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mindmap of Subject-based Banding

Created by Joe Ang

Impact on the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics
  • Allows pupils who are competent in Mathematics to better focus and improve.
  • Allows pupils who are weak in Mathematics to build up the fundamentals.
  • Allows teachers to better design and conduct Math lessons with less diversity in pupils' abilities.
  • Allows pupils to learn at their own pace; promoting interest in the subject.
  • To provide a learning environment where more meaningful discussions, among pupils of similar ability in Math, can be facilitated.

Mindmap of IT Master Plan for Education

Created by Joe Ang

Impact on the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics
  • Equip schools in tapping on available technologies for innovative and engaging lessons.

  • Equip teachers with the relevant IT skills to explore better teaching strategies.

  • Connect the teachers and pupils to a vast pool of digital resources, both locally and globally.

  • Reduce teachers' workload via use of self-assessment resources.

  • Ease in the design of curriculum to match individual's learning needs, according to one's ability.

  • Support Summative and Formative Assessment via a more efficient analytical system.

  • Support teachers to move from teacher-centred lessons to student-centred lessons.

  • Inculcate a sharing culture among teachers.

  • Lessons made alive - learning Math otuside the classroom.

  • Guiding learners towards independent learning.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Fruitful First Online Meeting - 18 Sep 2010

Joe's anxiety grew as it was approaching 10.30am.
It was the group's first cyber meeting.

At last, every member of the group, Yuan, Bobo, Lydia, Nurul started to be online, one by one. The first item on the agenda was to establish effective available communication platforms via the internet. The number one choice, of course, went to PBwork due to the stringent requirement.

To the group shocking horror, many of the members were not able to access to it. They needed to request for the access to be given.

Not wasting time, the group proceeded to source for another platform. Someone in the group suggested using goggle docs instead. Luckily for them, google docs worked.

They managed to work collaboratively on the spreadsheet created using google docs. Everyone was given the access and was able to edit the document at the same time.

Everyone was EXCITED over this new find!

Using it, together with the MSN's group chat, the group quickly tabulated most of the initiatives from 1997 to 2010 before dividing the workload; adopting the strategy "Jigjaw" under Cooperative Learning. This was decided in the earlier brief meeting at NIE of course.

The interesting brainstorming session lasted 2 hours, and the group managed to come up with a workload distribution list at the PBwork. Everyone contributed in their own unique way; Bobo, being the coordinating person, Yue Yuan, the wise advisor, Joe, the know-very-little technical assistant and Lydia and Nurul, the very committed members.

Much was being accomplished and learnt within the short 2 hours, everyone was clear on their tasks. Joe knows that this group would definitely make it in time for the coming project's due date. He has full confidence in them.

With everyone in the group so actively committed, Joe also has to do his part. As a matter of fact, he has already completed part of his tasks, writing this reflection. He is happy with the progress and is all ready to proceed to his share of reading up. :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Reflection of Lesson 1, 8 Sep 2010

Gosh, here I am again, doing reflection.
It seems like Singaporeans are insanely obsessed with reflections. Haha...

Anyway, back to the reflection. It was the first day of school after a long while for many of us and I guess most of us really look forward to the lesson. After knowing that Dr Yeap is going to be my tutor, it sort of brightens me up a little - lessons won't be that boring. Yay!

Matching to my anticipation, the lesson was very interesting and insightful. For many years, though I am pretty strong and competent in teaching Math, I am not exactly clear on what and why we are doing in school with all those initiatives from MOE. The usual heavy workload sort of also prevented me from checking it up.

Hence, I must say I am pretty excited about what we will be learning in weeks to come. Through this module, I would want to tie up most of the loose ends I have and better applied what I will be leanring to my daily design of the lesson.

Cheers...Joe Ang