I was observed by one of my assistant principals today (Friday). After 20 years, I don't get super-worried when I'm going to be observed, but I still feel a little anxious. Today, I decided to have the students work on problem solving and then start a "Footloose" activity, even though they wouldn't finish....Footloose normally takes about 40 minutes, so I figured they could do about half and then finish on Monday.
Things went so well during the observation...AP commented that there was so much going on in the room, and that the kids were so engaged! I was happy:)

The students worked on group problem solving, (which they have done previously, with other math skills). These particular problems involved comparing and ordering fractions. Each group received a sheet with a problem "situation" and 3-4 questions about that situation. Each student had to write their work on their own paper, and then after discussion and agreement, the final answers were written onto a group answer sheet to hand in.  When we did this type of group problem solving the first time (with decimal problems), we spent about 5 days on the problem solving, with each group working on a different problem sheet each day. The students really like the problem solving. It's great to hear their communication about math and how they are able to point out to one another the steps they need to complete or the concepts that they may have missed. It was great to hear them say "Oh, we're doing this again. I like this!" My AP commented that he listened to hear what they were talking about, to see if they were focused, and he could hear one student explain to another how the work that they had done was different from the other student.

The problem solving took about 15 minutes, and then as each group finished their problem, they moved on to Comparing and Ordering Fractions Footloose. This is a great game for keeping students engaged, but moving! Students start out with one card and a sheet of paper with 30 blank "blocks" in which to write answers to the questions on the cards. Each card has a number on it, and students record the answer to each card in the same number block as the number on the card. After answering the question on the card they start with, students put the card on the chalk ledge and pick up another card with another question to answer. Students continue answering and returning cards until they have answered all 30 questions. Students work so quietly when they are doing this activity!  My AP said it was like "night and day" when they switched from the problem solving to Footloose - they were talking about the p.s., but as soon as they started the Footloose, it was sooo quiet.....and I didn't have to say anything for it to be this way - it just happened.

Again, I don't get that worried when an observation comes around, but it was great to hear the positive feedback for these activities that I create for my students.

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