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. Email Sybilla Beckmann

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 Spring 2011:

1) Attend all the class meetings of one of the following two courses:


You may skip hour-test days; see below for the assignment during test days. If you can borrow or buy a copy of the text used in these courses, 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 hoping to have some informal get-togethers! Also, take an occasional look at the webpage for the course you are observing to see the course assignments and to find other relevant links.

2) On E-Learning Commons, post a weekly summary of what you observed in class. To post your weekly entry, look for “Discussions” in e-Learning Commons and then look for the journal entry location for that week. Write these summaries as a resource to use if you eventually teach this course or a similar course. Write notes that will remind you what was done in the course. 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 E-Learning Commons, 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 these weekly discussion items, look for “Discussions” in e-Learning commons and then look for the threaded discussion for the course you are observing (“Discussions about MATH 2002” or “Discussions about MATH 5030”).

What should you write about in your weekly 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 views 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 – was the way it was treated familiar to you or not? How is it related to the mathematics the prospective teachers will eventually teach? Take a look at state and national mathematics standards for school children (see the website of the course you are observing for links). Consider other ways the material, activities, or classroom discussions could be handled.

4) On E-Learning Commons, respond to at least one discussion item posting per week.

5) On test/quiz days read something from the reading list and post a summary or comments on what you read in the discussions.

6) 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) OR view several videos of children working on math (I have some available) 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!