Beckmann’s section of EMAT 9700

Observing Mathematics Content Courses for

Prospective Elementary or Middle Grades Teachers

At the University of Georgia

Instructor: Sybilla Beckmann, Department of Mathematics, University of Georgia, e-mail: sybilla at math dot uga dot edu

Course goals : The goal of this course is to help prepare you for the eventual teaching of a course similar to the one you are observing and to help you think about the mathematical preparation of teachers in general.

Who should take this course : This course is intended for mathematics and mathematics education graduate students who would like to become prepared to teach mathematics content courses for prospective elementary and middle grades teachers. Math graduate students in the VIGRE MEFT (Mathematicians Educating Future Teachers) program take this course in their first semester of MEFT. Math graduate students may use this course towards obtaining the Certificate in Mathematics Education through the Department of Mathematics and Science Education.

Course description and requirements for Fall 2009:

1) Attend all the class meetings of MATH 5030, a geometry course for prospective middle grades teachers (who will be certified to teach grades 4 – 8), MWF 12:20 – 1:10 pm, room 221 Boyd Graduate Studies Building. (You may skip hour-test days; see below for the assignment during test days). Take an occasional look at the MATH 5030 course webpage at  to see the course assignments. If you can borrow or buy a copy of the MATH 5030 text, this will help you follow the course, but the textbook is not required. There are no additional meetings for this section of EMAT 9700, however I’m planning to have some informal get-togethers!

2) On WebCT, post a weekly summary of what you observed in class. Write these summaries as a resource to use if you eventually teach this course or a similar course. One good idea that Kelly Edenfield came up with last semester was to embed comments and thoughts within a factual summary of what she observed. She used a different font to distinguish the narrative of what was done in class from her own questions or thoughts. Feel free to experiment and come up with a format and writing style that you find useful. Your writing does not have to be formal. For example, bullet points with sentence fragments are perfectly acceptable (as long as you’ll be able to decipher them in the future!).

3) On WebCT, post weekly a discussion item for all students in EMAT 9700 who are observing the same course to read and respond to if they wish. To post a discussion item, click on "Communication Tools" and then "Discussions."

What should you write about in your postings? Comment on anything that captures your interest or that stands out to you or anything that you’d like to hear your classmate’s opinions on. I encourage you to write freely, informally, and off the cuff -- your thoughts don't have to be fully formed; use writing as a way to help you (and others) think. Observe the course with an eye toward teaching such a course in the future. Consider a variety of aspects of the course such as the nature of discussions and interactions in class and the mathematical learning opportunities that the class activities and homework problems provide. Think about the course content and how it is related to the mathematics the prospective teachers will eventually teach. Take a look at state and national mathematics standards for school children (see the course website for links). Do be critical -- I'm not expecting you to think that everything done in class is great. Consider other ways the material, activities, or classroom discussions could be handled.

4) On WebCT, respond to at least one discussion item posting per week.

5) On test/quiz days read something that is relevant to teacher education. Here are some suggested Readings, but you are welcome to find other resources as well. Post a summary or comments on what you read in either your weekly summary or in a discussion item (or both).

6) This semester, the following is optional for EMAT 9700 but required for MEFT participants: At least once during the semester EITHER visit a math class at an elementary or middle school (Barrow Elementary School and Clarke Middle School are nearby; information on visiting to be provided soon) OR view several videos of children working on math (I hope to post some of these on WebCT if possible) OR work on math with an elementary or middle school child. Feel free to do more than one of these options if you'd like to and have the time!