Learning from Teaching Cases Summary

Monday - Friday, June 29 - July 3, 2009

Monday, June 28, 2009
Participants: Dianna; Sara; Katie; Mary Jo; Dawn; Dave; Jenni; Kathy; Gema; Nicole
Daily Summary:
Nicole asked each of us to introduce ourselves. Then she asked us to write down the answer to the following two questions:

  • Why did I become a teacher?
  • What motivates me?

Then we discussed the answers and put our answers to the questions on paper and hung them up.

Under the paper labeled, "Why I Became A Teacher?" the following responses were listed:

  • I love children.
  • I love mathematics.
  • I always knew I wanted to be a teacher.
  • I was a math major and was tutoring and enjoyed when students understood.
  • I would teach until something else came along.
  • I taught in my country and I knew I could teach.

The following responses appeared under the question, "What Motivates Me?"

  • The AHA moments.
  • Many students come into class disliking math and then later in year state that they love coming to my class.
  • I am enthusiastic about math.
  • The students motivate me.
  • The love for learning from the students.

Then Nicole asked us to answer four more questions, which were also written on paper and hung up. The responses were the following:

"What is teaching?"
Guiding & Assisting
Teaching is the ability to convey material in such a way that others can understand it.
An act that results in someone else's learning - intentionally or unintentionally; positive or negative.
Imparting knowledge & passion of subject
Leading students to achievement (goal-setting, planning, and motivating)
Guiding students to make sense of knowledge that is new to them or to create new knowledge
Guide to new understanding
"What does high quality instruction look like?"
High quality instruction involves the ability to present materialusing excellent questioning techniques resulting in students thinking and conveying their thoughts. Lessons that are carefully planned. (Bloom's Taxonomy)
Engaged students / purposeful / adaptive
Instruction that leads to high student achievement
Lessons that are carefully prepared; using questioning techniques that move up on Bloom's Taxonomy / cognitive demand.
Asking for justification
Goal driven
Flexibility does not lea by d to lack of productivity
Is motivated & clear.
Teacher lauches a problem, then guides student through the explanation of the problem generating ideas/ strategies to summarize the learning.
"What does high quality learning look like?"
Students making testing, testing, and refining conjectures, then attempting to generalize what they have learned to novel situations.
Result - Students' ability to explain or apply meeting lesson objectives; conceptual understanding
Can be independently applied
Creates questions / ideas
Students actively engage in the lesson & are able to apply it
"How do teachers learn about teaching and learning?"
Past experiences
See examples of excellent teaching
Analysis / reflection (What works / or not & why)
Written or discussion (or alone reflecting on lesson
By receiving good instruction via classes they themselves take
Observing other teachers
Reflecting on feedback from multiple sources / reflecting on and analyzing assessment data
Sharing with collegues
Student feedback
Reading research
Bring students themselves
Living life
Attending workshop, PDOs, and conferences
Presenting at workshops
Teaching, Teaching, and more Teaching

After the discussions, we watched a video on students trying to solve and explain how they arrived to their conclusion the problem: 1 divided by 2/3. Students provided visual diagrams as explanations.

Tuesday, June 29, 2009
Participants: Dianna; Sara; Katie; Mary Jo; Dawn; Dave; Jenni; Kathy; Nicole
Daily Summary:

We kicked off today's session with an exploration of these questions:

  • What is teaching?
  • What does high quality teaching look like?
  • What does high quality learning look like?

Big Ideas for Today:
Developing an awareness of the kinds of things we naturally pay attention to when you watch a video case of teaching. Development of the need to have a focus when watching video cases of teaching, when stems from the idea of creating productive opportunities for learning as opposed to an evaluation of teaching.
We investigated these ideas by watching 2 different videos with "no lens," and then rewatching one of the videos with the cognitive demand framework.

Thursday, July 2, 2009
Participants: Dianna; Sara; Katie; Mary Jo; Dawn; Dave; Jenni; Kathy; Nicole
Daily Summary:
We started our session by finishing Tuesday's discussion. We finished Tuesday by viewing a video and watching for how the teacher set up the task for her class and how the students implemented the task. We discussed based on evidence we saw in the video if the task was a high-demand task and decided that it was. Next, we split into two groups and worked on a tile pattern task. Each group member had an assigned role, and we were asked to put our solution on a poster and represent it geometrically, numerically, algebraically, and graphically in a way that is connected and would make sense to a viewer who was simply looking at the poster. After making the posters each group looked at the other group's result and posted any questions we had after studying their poster. The intent was to go back and fix things or create another draft of your poster, addressing each question, while learning that work is progress and work is never finished.

Friday, July 3, 2009
Participants: Dianna; Sara; Katie; Mary Jo; Dawn; Dave; Jenni; Kathy; Nicole
Daily Summary:
We started with a short reflection on the poster activity we completed yesterday. Then Nicole shared how her school conducts a Video Club. She gave all the "who, what, when, where, how, and why" details for setting up and conducting a video club. We then watched a video of students performing a task similar to the shape pattern activity we had done in groups yesterday. We were asked to watch the video with the lens "What do students understand about the mathematics of the task?" We then shared, "popcorn style" evidence from the video of student learning. Next, we watched a video based on Elizabeth Cohen's book Designing Group Work. Our assignment for today was to read chapters 3 and 8 from the book. We ended with a discussion of important ideas and questions we had about the reading and the video. We will continue this discussion Monday.

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under DMS-0940733 and DMS-1441467. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.