Course Redesign Proposal

Redesign of a Unit in Grade Five Math

Background  

My current teaching assignment is in a grade five classroom. I teach mathematics and social studies to two different classes. For my course redesign I will focus on the Shape and Space (3-D Objects and 2-D Shapes) unit of grade five math.

Students in my two classes cover the spectrum of abilities. Several of my students are identified as having learning disabilities and are on IEPTs (Inclusive Education Planning Tool). They have the support of an educational assistant. There are a number of students at grade level and few students who are above grade level. The majority of students struggle with math concepts and would not chose math as their favorite subject.

Students in previous grades have had their math instruction taught in a traditional way. The teacher instructs and the students work on assigned problems in the textbook. They have had limited exposure to blended learning and are working on becoming comfortable with using technology. As this is the case, I have chosen to redesign one unit of study – shape and space. I have chosen this unit because it focuses on:

  • Describe and provide examples of edges and faces of 3-D objects, and sides of 2-D shapes
  • Identifying and sorting quadrilaterals  (Mathematics Kindergarten to Grade Nine, 2007, p. 43)

Since students are having their first introduction to blended learning in math I wanted a unit that was easily translatable using technology and I thought using online activities, as well as face-to-face activities to demonstrate edges and faces of 3-D objects was a good way to start.

Purpose

Alberta Education states that “Students need opportunities to read about, represent, view, write about, listen to and discuss mathematical ideas. These opportunities allow students to create links between their own language and ideas, and the formal language and symbols of mathematics” (Mathematics Kindergarten to Grade Nine, 2007, p. 5). The purpose in creating a unit using the Supplementary Model is to encourage students to experience learning and communicating about math in a different way then they have been use to. I would like them to strengthen their understand of how they learn, appreciate and communicate math, through blended learning strategies.

Students will continue to have face-to-face class time but also will be able to experience different activities in an online setting. I would like my students to be better able to personalize their learning using the online activities.

With Alberta Education’s new pilot program IEPT replacing tradition Individualized Education Plans (IEP), the push from the government is to have all students in a class on an IEPT so the teacher can individualize their learning. By redesign a unit in math, I hope that my purpose falls in line with the direction Alberta Education is taking. As well, I hope by allowing for more personalization of learning students will have the opportunity to experience learning math in a new way. This new way of learning will hopefully encourage an appreciation of math in their lives and an increased desire to learn math.

Scope

Face-to-face:I will continue to use direct instruction to teach students the basic concepts of this unit. They will use manipulatives, questions and discussion in the classroom setting to further their understanding.

Online: The online component of this unit will focus on technology that the students are already using and are familiar with, as well as introducing a new technology in the form of video podcasts. Students have been using blogs to reflect on their learning since September in my social studies class. I would like students to use their blog now to reflect on their learning in this unit and to communicate to one another their experiences with 2-D and 3-D shapes. By using blogs I want to encourage students to create a Community of Inquiry (CoI) that they can build and share their knowledge in. At the beginning stage, I envision that there will be a lot of teacher presence but as students work through what is expected of them and create connections in math I imagine that teacher presence will decrease. I know that I have to set expectations (criteria of an excellent reflective post and exemplars) at the beginning so students can work together to create a cohesive CoI (Garrison & Vaughan, 2008, p. 17). I will do this by encouraging independence, reflection on learning tasks and using different strategies.

On my students’ blogs, I would not only like them to reflect on their learning but I would also like them to create video podcasts of them creating nets and identifying different types of lines. They will post these videos to their blogs so other students can access them. I would also be able to use their videos as formative assessment. By using podcasts this will hopefully allow my students to control their learning process and access examples when and where they want. (Kay & Edwards, 2012).

I also plan to use online resources from the Nelson Education site (Nelson Math Focus is our textbook resource), SMARTboard lessons and maybe a Google project that involves Google maps (I could use this project as summative assessment).

Alberta Education. (2007). Mathematics Kindergarten to Grade Nine. Retrieved from: http://education.alberta.ca/media/645594/kto9math.pdf  

Garrison, D. R., & Vaughan, N. (2008). Chapter Three: Design Principles. Blended Learning in Higher Education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Alberta Education. (Oct. 2, 2012). Inclusive Education Planning Tool. Retrieved from: http://education.alberta.ca/department/ipr/inclusion/capacity/planning.aspx

Kay, R. & Edwards, J. (2012). Examining the Use of Worked Example Video Podcasts in Middle School Mathematics Classrooms: A Formative Analysis. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 38(2). Retrieved from            http://cjlt.csj.ualberta.ca/index.php/cjlt/issue/view/79

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2 Responses to Course Redesign Proposal

  1. Norm Vaughan says:

    Hi Michaela,

    This is an excellent course redesign proposal. You have clearly identified the need for the redesign and focused on a specific module of the Grade 5 math curriculum (shape and space).

    I have a colleague, Dr. Gladys Sterenberg, who has quite a bit of experience with the Alberta Elementary Math Curriculum and I’ll see if she has any extra ideas or resources for your redesign project!!

    Go for it!!

    Norm

  2. Norm Vaughan says:

    Hi Michaela,

    Me again – I just reviewed Jeff’s course redesign proposal and he is also focusing on the Shape and Space unit for the Grade 8 curriculum.

    You two might be able to also share some ideas and resources 🙂

    All the best, Norm

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