Philosophy of Education

Classroom Management Plan


Children's Books



Lesson Plan Reflections

During the Fall 2000 semester, I have the opportunity to teach several lessons to a class of first-graders. Here are the lesson plans and my reflections on how they went.

Lesson Plan for Ordering Center

TLW acquire the logical thinking structures for Logical Ordering.
TLW fulfill the TEKS requirement involving Logical Ordering for grade 1.

Anticipatory Set
"I have a new activity for the Math Center. Tengo una actividad nuevo para el Math Center." This is the box of 15 numbered toilet paper tubes, each with the correct number of dots opposite the number. "First, I have a new word. Primero, tengo una palabra nueva."

TLW repeat with the class the definition of "order."
TLW tell a twin what "order" means in their own words.
TLW individually put the tubes in the order s/he feels appropriate.

Instructional Input
The word "order" is cleared whole-class as follows:
  1. order/ordenar
  2. Order means to organize things that get bigger and bigger or smaller and smaller.
  3. The students repeat this definition until they have it down by rote, then they put it into their own words and tell a talking partner their own defintion. Finally, with their partners, the students make up sentences with the word.
  4. Order also means to ask for food at a restaurant. Repeat #3 with this defintion.
  5. Ordering comes from order + the "ing" brothers.
  6. A funny way we use order is "out of order" meaning broken.
Draw examples on the board of things in order and things not in order to show what the definition means. Be sure not to move too quickly. Wait until the students have the defintion.

Guided Practice
Students use an ordering set, if available, and work on putting things in order. If there are no ordering sets available, the students line up in order by height as a class.

Independent Practice
The student works individually with the tube activity in the center, following the directions on the card. There are at least two ways of putting them in order. The student then draws a picture of his/her work.

Activity ends once the student has spoken with the teacher or the timer rings. "Order/ordenar" is reviewed the next day during center time.

Check for Understanding
Individual conference while the student is working with the tubes. Teacher has the student explain how and why s/he put the tubes in order.

Teacher gives the individual student the logical ordering performance assessment.

15 numbered tubes, directions card, box paper, crayons, pencils

For instruction, 30-45 minutes. For the independent practice, appropriate time in the center.

Special Needs
Word is cleared in Spanish, as well as in English. A directions card in Spanish is included. For hearing impaired, visuals are provided, and the student is placed near the teacher.

I was extremely nervous as I prepared to teach this lesson to the class, and that influenced the lesson. As I went through the steps for clearing "order" (in Spanish as well as in English), I realized that several of the students weren't getting it. Even as I realized that, though, I didn't know how to change the plan mid-step to support them better. In hindsight, I can see that I needed more concrete examples of putting things in order (such as lining the class up by height) in order to give students mass for the definition. One final observation is that perhaps bringing out the idiom would confuse the students even more.
The observing teacher's comments included mentions of strategies, such as talking to a partner and questioning, that he thought I did well. He also included the reminder that I need to have students raise hands in order to keep some semblance of order, and having more examples of putting things in order.

Lesson Plan for Spatial Reasoning

TLW acquire the TOP1 structure.
TLW fulfill TEKS Math 1.6, geometry and spatial reasoning.
TLW understand prepositions.

Anticipatory Set:
Set up the three shapes (square, circle, and triangle) on a desk or table that is in full view of the class. Pull out the lima beans or other counters.

TLW individually draw an accurate picture of the front view.
TLW individually write 2 sentences about the shapes' positions.
TLW individually draw a hypothesis of the back view.
TLW individually write 2 sentences describing the back view.

Instructional Input:
Review and demonstrate with beans the following prepositions:
  • beside/al lado de
  • to the right/a la derecha
  • to the left/a la izquierda
  • above/sobre
  • below/debajo de
  • behind/detrás de
  • between/entre
Guided Practice
Instruct the students to draw the shapes as they see them from where they sit. Then write 2 sentences describing what they drew using the prepositions just reviewed.

Independent Practice:
Students draw what they think the other side looks like. Then they check by walking around to the other side and writing 2 sentences about what was different from their drawing.

Students share their sentences with the rest of the class.

Check for Understanding:
The teacher conferences with each student as the class works, asking questions about what they see, what they're writing, etc.

This lesson was not developmentally appropriate for a class of first-graders. They don't have the necessary concepts of space or writing to make this truly effective. Perhaps next time I should go from the bean activity to simply describing the locations of things around the classroom. Then they could write down those observations. That, I think, would be more appropriate.
However, it did go well in spite of the students not being sure what they were doing. Two comments the observing teacher made were that he noticed that I was walking around and monitoring the students, and that I had a waiting period when the students put their hands in the air to show they were ready. The second was just a spur-of-the-moment idea to keep the students focused and not playing with the beans. It worked. I think I'll use it as a regular strategy to keep students' attention during a hands-on activity.
The suggestion the observing teacher made was a good one that I shall implement the next time I do this lesson (or one like it). He thought that the students would do better with individual bags of beans. After thinking about that, I realized that bags would make setup and cleanup go a bit smoother, as well. This lesson took about 45 minutes.

Note: Samples of students' work can be viewed in my hardcopy portfolio.

Lesson Plan for Book Chart

I did not really have a lesson plan for this one. My main goals were to try out the book chart with a first-grade class, and to give them an example of making connections. I read the book Can't You Sleep, Little Bear? by Martin Waddell. Then I introduced the chart with 4 columns and had the class give statements for each column. At the end, I reread the comments and gave the class a summary of what we had just done.
For first-graders, I will need to model the questions a bit better. Perhaps give them a formula to follow, and to introduce only one column a day. As it was, the gradient was a little to steep. I still think the book chart can be used for this age group, however. And the next time, on a book that relates to the current unit.

Last updated: 5/7/01