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Critical incident reflection

Critical incident date: Week 1 occurred on the 17/11/15

Description
During an open ended maths lesson on the topic of angles of triangles for students in grade
five (age 10-11) it was observed during the course of the lesson that the majority of the
students were having trouble understanding the concept that the three angles of a triangle
must equal 180 degrees and there was some confusion in using a protractor to plot a triangle.
The problem was occurring in the developmental stage of the lesson after revising the key
facts by viewing a video on the topic and some modelling done by myself. It was evident
during the lesson by reviewing the anecdotal notes taken as well as at the conclusion of the
lesson when assessing the students work that another lesson was required to further develop
their understanding of the topic.

Interpretation
I thought the event was critical to myself as it highlighted the importance of pairing an open
ended question with a specially designed rubric and also linked back to this semesters Maths
unit which focused heavily on assessment. In this instance it became clear that about half of
the students were struggling with the concept and after referring to anecdotal notes and
discussing the situation with the teacher after the lessons completion we came to the
conclusion that it was necessary to have a follow up lesson and the key skills would need to
be thoroughly modelled by myself to ensure that the students could grasp the required
learning. In the following lesson using the information gained from assessing the students
prior work we were able to rectify any misunderstandings the students had and by the
conclusion of the second lesson and subsequent marking of their work it was clear that they
had a good understanding of the topic. Overall the incident underlined the significance of
using rubrics to help in assessment. As it was an easy tool to aid in formative assessment
both during and after the lesson by allowing easy analysation of student work that can help
plan for future instruction (McGatha & Darcy, 2010). Furthermore by using specifically
designed rubrics for open-ended task such as this allowed me as the teacher to set
performance indicators that can easily demonstrate if the students are making sense of the
mathematics that has been taught (Reys, Lindquist, Lambdin, Smith, Rogers, Falle, Frid &
Bennett, (2014).

Outcome
The incident has certainly highlighted the importance of assessment and the usefulness of
making anecdotal notes and using a rubric. The goal for the remainder of the placement is to
continue taking anecdotal notes and using an assessment rubric when the lesson requires it, as
using these tools greatly aid in assessment and planning and more importantly gives a good
representation of the students current knowledge of the topic.

References
McGatha, M., & Darcy, P. (2010). Rubrics at Play. Mathematics Teaching in the Middle
School, 15(6), 328-336
Reys, R., Lindquist, M., Lambdin, D., Smith, N., Rogers, A., Falle, J., Frid, S., & Bennett, S.
(2012). Helping children learn mathematics (1st ed.). Milton, Australia: John Wiley &
Sons