Author: pamela

PR’s Philosophy About Creating a Productive Learning Environment

When looking at creating a productive learning environment, I really want the students in my future classroom to understand how important it is for them to be engaged in the learning process while in their classes.  I do not feel an absolutely quiet room with no interactions with the teacher or others is conducive to a positive learning environment. However, I am still learning how to effectively manage the classroom so that my students feel comfortable/safe in asking questions when they do not understand a concept and feel comfortable enough to contribute or solve an equation on the board when asked.  One important strategy I have seen employed in the high school math class is the teacher mentioning areas in the subject that she herself may have to work harder at versus other areas that are not so hard, by sharing this with her students you can see how it allows the students to see that it is ok for them to struggle in some areas and that by persevering through it they can still learn and be able to accomplish learning the concept/skill.

I enjoy how the teacher does not state that she is perfect and should anyone notice a mistake or calculation error to please speak up and share that with her/class.  This is something that I too have mentioned to students I have tutored in the past and find it beneficial to share with students.

Classroom Observation Reflection by PR

I recently observed in my mentor teacher’s Algebra class and noticed some effective management strategies that were employed during the opening of the day’s lesson, applied during the lesson and also as a lesson closure.

At the start of the days lesson the teacher had a brief discussion with the students about what they had learned about the day before and how she was going to expand upon that in todays lesson. She asked students for any questions they might have from the previous lesson before continuing on to todays lesson.   While providing the lesson, the teacher would ask students questions to engage them. At times she even invited students to solve a sample question up on the smart board.  Although this took longer to get through the sample problem it allowed the students to be taught by their fellow peer for a few minutes and it is interesting to watch how quickly everyone became engrossed in the sample problem once they realized a peer was up their solving it.  The closure of the lesson included a review of what they were taught and the assignment for homework written up onto the board for all to see, it was verbally announced aloud to the students and all of this was in addition to it already being pre-printed in their lecture notebooks.   The teacher transitioned smoothly from performing a homework completion check, to reviewing any questions on the homework, passing out the current Concept Quiz to taking attendance while the students are engaged in independent work (taking CQ).

I like the strategy my mentor teacher uses when the students start to get off task.  Usually it will simply be a statement made to the class as a whole that she notices that there is a lot of commotion or talking going on and it definitely does not sound as though math/Algebra is being discussed.  Or simply reminding students that it is individual work that should be happening right now so therefore there shouldn’t be any talking going on at this time.  The strategy of pointing out to students what is happening and why it should not be happening right when it is occurring seems to work pretty well in the classroom and I like how it doesn’t point any fingers at any particular student.



PR’s Three Links- Helpful for Classroom Management

After being in the high school classroom setting for the past several months, there is one thing that I find absolutely essential to develop as quickly as possible….a classroom management plan and how to support/follow through with it once it is put into place.  The following are links to websites, blogs, and videos that are available to myself and others through a simple click of a key or mouse.  It really is absolutely incredible the power of today’s technology!

The first is a link to a website useful no matter what your content area is because it mainly has to do with the psychological aspects of management and how by becoming more in tune with your students can help decrease the outbursts in the first place…  or you can visit this following website/blog that has to do with an example of how a teacher built his relationships with the students when he used to teach  Student-Teacher Relationships Can Be Built Five Minutes at a Time

The second link is to a blog that has to do with current apps activities relating to mathematics and generating positive use of technology in the classroom with your students

The last link is to a video that I think you may find inspiring and help you to understand how powerful generating a relationship with your students can be and at the same time you may find your teaching and relationship with your students can/may reduce the classroom management issues in your future/current class.



Classroom Observation-H.S. Algebra I Class

I spent a day observing  my  mentor  teacher  teach all of her  classes. An interesting sight to see was how the same process repeated throughout the day varied ever so slightly in the delivery, but the responsiveness of the students varied from class to class (different students-different subjects).

The observation I am sharing was done during an Algebra  I class made up of 9/10 graders. The class  started  off  the  year  with  only  12  students,  but  it  currently  now  has  14-15 students  enrolled.  The  lesson planned for today was to finish the first  day  of the chapter review  lecture  material and  start/finish the second day of review for an upcoming Chapter test.

The students  were  assigned  the  Chapter test (practice) in  their textbook  for  homework  the  night  before,  but  since  it  was  a  last  minute  change  from  the  original  assignment, quite a few students  showed  up on this day complaining  that  they  didn’t  know  they  had  to  do  it (even  with the assignment change being stated the day before when  they  asked  what  their  homework  was).  Instead of penalizing those students who were not aware of the change  my  mentor  teacher turned the situation into a Win-Win one by making it an extra credit assignment.

Strategies employed:

When teaching, my mentor uses  good  anecdotes  or  stories  to  draw  the  students  in (to  listen) and  then  she  relates  the  story  to  the  content  and  brings their focus  back  around  to  the  content to be delivered.

If students become distracted and the sound level increases too much, my mentor addresses all  the  students without addressing anyone in particular about  what students may work  on (homework, CQ corrections, and test corrections), now  that  the  lesson/lecture  portion  was  completed.  This  list also included  doing  the  test  from  the  Algebra  Book  (for  those  who  didn’t  do  it),  the  handout  that  was  given  for  review, and any  homework  that  is  missing.

I  learned today that  last  minute  changes  to  homework  assignments  is  something  that  does  not  go  over  well  with all students  and  that  sometimes  as  a  teacher  we  have  to  be  flexible  in  forgiving  the  students for  not  getting  work  done,  especially  since  it  was due to a change to the original plan.

“The Future of Alaska Native Education” by Pamela R.

Since moving to Alaska in 1991, I have had the privilege of learning about many Alaska Native cultures, fishing techniques, hunting skills(bowhunting, rifle, muzzleloading), target shooting, skinning an animal, prepping bison and bear hides for tanning, harvesting meat from various animals, birds, fish, etc.

I have been able to experience the subsistence lifestyle and partake of it yearly, when able. I love the outdoors, being able to provide for me and my family.  This type of lifestyle is far and few between.  Many people from all over the world unfortunately live where the populations have grown to such vast numbers, they are no longer able to survive by living directly off the land, even if they wanted to.  Alaskans(both native and non-native alike) and others in rural areas in the world, are very fortunate to still be able to do so 🙂

Through my travels around Europe just about everyone that I ran into could understand/speak English to an extent, but not only that, they were also able to fluently speak and understand 4-7 other languages as well.  This makes it hard to accept statements similar to Bergs that Westerners or Europeans are out there to eradicate native languages.  However, I do agree that the lack of native tongues being utilized in the educational system in Alaska seems particularly perplexing to me.  I have heard many various tongues spoken here in Fairbanks and wonder about the reasoning as to why they are not being offered in the state schools?

No matter where the students choose to live or work, this means they must be able to read, write, perform arithmetic, and be fluent in more than one language (their own native tongue as well as English).  They should also be skilled in the survival skills necessary for the areas that they live in, this everyone can agree on is dependent upon the place they are living–therefore the concept of place-based learning seems to be a very attractable strategy to employ.

This is a very difficult subject to cover in such a short blurb and I am sure it is also felt that way by the author Berg. I am interested in learning what the four prior articles state now 🙂


PR Roehls 4 Classroom Management

When I started taking classes at UAF the instructors started asking questions regarding how I will run my own classroom, what rules will there be, if any?   My first thought, was is it really necessary to put a list of rules up?   I can have the students create one and then they will have ownership to it, but how do you do this in a high-school when you have a different group of students 5-6 times a day?   Presently in the high-school class that I am observing the rules for every class is the same and they are as follows:

Be respectful at all times

Be on time for class

Be prepared for class

No cell phones!

By having this posted in the front of the classroom it is viewable at all times and is a friendly reminder when students begin to not follow the rules (it is readily available to point to), this seems to work well and I am inclined to use this same set of rules when I have a classroom in the future.

The link below, I found when I did a search for Kagan cooperative learning, which I have seen a presentation for in the past and find could be very helpful in my classroom in the future.   I picked this particular site/article because it concerned the use of technology and also provides printables, and includes Algebra as a subject.   Although it refers to the elementary grades on most of the subjects, the techniques can translate to the upper age groups by just substituting the content with that of the upper age groups.

PR Wordle 2013