Teaching Logs

Every week, we would like you to make some brief comments about how section went. You could do this in a notebook or on the back of your lesson plan. You can reflect on how section generally went, what went well, what did not go so well, whether your timing estimates matched what actually happened, or whether your students appeared to take away what you wanted them to take away. In addition, below are some additional questions you might think and reflect on in your log.

You do not need to answer one of these questions every week, and some of these topics might be more relevant one week compared to another.

Idea to think about Log Prompt
New experiences Congrats on having your first astro discussion sections. How did they go? Give a brief recap of your lesson plan (or attach a lesson plan into your physical log) and comment on each part of the plan. Did it go as predicted? Did it take longer or shorter than you anticipated? How did you feel afterwards?
Effective Group Work In your log, after recapping section, write about the group activity you used that week. How did you introduce the activity? What did you see when students were working (mention at least one good and bad)? Anything unexpected happen? How did you assess whether the activity was a success? What would you do different if you were to use the activity again?
Grading Best if you just gave a quiz in section: Pick one question from your quiz and write out your initial and final rubrics. The initial rubric should be the one you have before you start grading any quiz, and the final is the resulting rubric that evolved after you graded. Comment on what changed and why. What problems did students have (and were these problems unexpected)? Are they the result of the wording on your quiz, or because of a misconception you were unaware of?
Phrasing Pick a moment from your sections where you were explaining a concept to the class. Think back to how you worded your response and criticize your wording. If you had a “do-over”, how would you have phrased it differently. If you come to the conclusion that your wording could potentially confuse students, send an E-mail to the section with your new explanation.
Ay10/7a Students Think Differently Than We Do Pick a moment from one of your sections over the past week or so where a student asked an unexpected question, that is, a question you did not anticipate students having. What do you think was the source of confusion? (e.g., Prior knowledge and misconceptions, or something you said that wasn't clear?) How did you handle the situation? Did you take the time to see if others in the class had a similar misunderstanding? How would you change your discussion of the subject material in the future to avoid this question from arising (if the confusion could have stemmed from your explanation)?
Exam/Exam Reviews can be eye openers, for everyone Best after a midterm: How are your students doing on the fundamentals that you reviewed in the first weeks of class? Have you noticed (in section, on a quiz, in office hours) if certain people are still struggling with basic concepts? Have you offered assistance to them already? If so, did they take you up on it? Think back to one of your previous sections and comment on how you could have worked in a review of the fundamentals without taking loads of time going over the concept. Is it worked in via group work activities or in your board work? (You should try doing this in a near-future section!)
Students want the truth! All too many students feel that the teacher's task is to tell them the facts and larger truths and the student's task is to listen to the truth, learn it, and be able to give it back on exams. This seems to be true especially for first-year students (Perry 1981, in The Modern American College, A. Chickerin (Ed.), 76). Have you experienced this mentality in section? How did you handle it? If you haven't dealt with this yet, how might you handle it if it arises?
There IS gravity in space?! Think back on your sections and identify one misconception that one (or more) of your students had. Was it a question/response in class, a response on a worksheet, or a mistake they made on graded material? How did you help clarify this misconception? Was the misconception related to a core concept from the course, or was it on something a little more tangential? How do you think the misconception arose?
Critical Thinking How have your worksheets evolved over the semester? Take a look at the last few worksheets you have used. What kind of questions are you asking? Do they delve into higher levels of learning (see the Bloom Taxonomy), or are they asking students to regurgitate definitions? How much of a worksheet do you think should probe higher levels of thinking?
“Honesty is the best policy” Let's be honest with ourselves: While Ay300 goes over loads of strategies for how to teach, run section, etc., by this point you have fallen into a routine. This can be good or bad: You have developed your own style of teaching by this point, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's the best way to teach. Comment on what you think your style is and address one part of it that is good and one part that could use improvement.
Looking Back How did your section this week differ from your first few sections? Where have you made significant improvement? What aspects do you need to keep working on (we all have at least one!). Do you enjoy teaching? Is it gratifying to you? :)