Observing Grade Five Math

     I haven't had much experience with math in my observation days but fortunately I was asked by a grade five teacher to help a student one-on-one. I was more than happy to help this student because not only was I gaining more experience and helping the student, but the teacher made it obvious they thought little of the student's (mathematical) abilities and had embarrassingly called them out in front of the class for missing a lot of school.

     The student had missed some of the work the class had done on multiplication and this day they were working on the "box method" of multiplication (which is actually really cool). I was determined to help the student and maybe give them a little bit of confidence in the process.
The student ended up doing really well and being able to do the problems on their own using the method.

     If it were my classroom, I would definitely not have just given the students a method and a sheet of problems to solve using that method, but as I was only "observing" I helped the student as much as I could based on what the teacher wanted. Additionally, if it were my classroom, I would obviously make it a comfortable environment where children are encouraged to discuss, take risks, and learn from their "mistakes" rather than lowering their confidence and embarrassing them.

     Many of my observation days were frustrating in that way and it seems I learned a lot more of what not to do than what I should actually be doing as a teacher.

(Box Method)

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