Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Making an ImPACT I

Hello friends! Today I thought I would start the first of a series of posts focused on PACT. For those of you who don't cringe at the mere utterance of the acronym, PACT stands for Performance Assessment for California Teachers. The teaching event for my PACT was centered on math.

As the overview states, the teaching event pulls from artifacts created during one's student teaching and is supplemented by commentaries that provide the context and rationales necessary to understand and interpret the artifacts. It places student learning at the center and also has an embedded English Learner component. PACT is very much a portfolio assessment documenting a brief learning segment with regard to Context, Planning, Instruction, Assessment, and Reflection tasks. Being a PACT survivor, I can say that as painful ahem, time-consuming as the process was, it really helped me to think about my teaching in a meaningful and reflective way. I also thoroughly enjoyed the process of designing my own lesson sequence as I absolutely love creating my own lessons.

So, this will be a three-part post and today, I will share the first of three lessons here from my measurement lesson sequence and you can access the three bears worksheet here. I completed my PACT during my first student teaching placement so the lessons are for kindergarten. The central focus of the learning segment was to introduce students to some basic academic language surrounding measurement as well as the concept of measurement itself (both how to measure and compare measurements).

Apart from being present in the school curriculum and standards, learning about measurement is very important. As adults, we measure things every day whether we are cooking, weighing ourselves on a scale, or building furniture from scratch. Thus, measuring really is a daily activity. Kindergartners need to be exposed to measurement as it allows them to practice how to choose and use different units and tools in the future. In addition, measurement activities promote the application of mathematical concepts across disciplines and helps to develop foundational skills needed for geometry. Since kindergartners are just starting to formulate their understanding of mathematical concepts, it is important for them to be exposed to measurement in a concrete way. This gives them the proper foundation for working with abstract mathematical quantities. Teaching measurement is also a good platform for communicating mathematical ideas using academic language. Research by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics showed that teachers need to help students understand that objects have measurable properties, help students understand expressions referring to properties such as "How long?", and help students use appropriate units and processes for measurement. These were all influential in planning my measurement unit.

Here are some things to consider that I realized after teaching the lesson (Food for Taught):

1. There are a ton of versions of the Goldilocks story out there so make sure to read through and pick one that uses the same target vocabulary you are after. I used the Paul Galdone version which did not use small, medium, and large so I just taped and wrote over the words the night before.

2. Bring in realia so that students can easily see the difference between small, medium, and large. I had originally planned to use tall, grande, and venti Starbucks cups that I labeled small, medium, and large, but I left them on my counter before I left for school. So, I had to improvise and found three different sized balls which I labeled with notecards and used them instead.

3. Leave a sentence frame at each of the tables. I didn't realize this until the students were working at their tables and I was circulating around, but some of the students did not have access to the frame because I had left it on the whiteboard in front of the rug.

4. Some students will finish early. What are some extensions to the activity that you can have ready for students who finish before the rest of the class?

Here I am conducting the read aloud. I know, you probably can't stop staring at my socks and if you weren't before you are now so let me explain. It was Wacky Sock Day in celebration of Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Suess!

As always, feedback and modifications are welcome. Stay tuned for the rest of the sequence. Happy teaching!

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