As a pre-service teacher, one of the most exciting, challenging, exhausting, and rewarding experiences is student teaching. During my student teaching semester, I was placed in a Common Core Math 1 class at a high school in Wake County, North Carolina. I found that as a CCM 1 teacher, understanding the mathematical content is not as challenging as actually explaining the content to students. For example, from my math experience, I had a fairly firm understanding of what it means for an equation to be linear. However, finding a way to describe linear equations to high school students in a way that enhances their mathematical understanding and grabs their attention was a daunting task.

When planning a lesson, I used my Professional Learning Team's lessons as a starting point and foundation for pacing and content order. From there, I turned to SAS Curriculum Pathways for help. In some situations I used the lessons and tools as a reliable teacher-resource to recall the answers to questions such as "What are the characteristics of a monomial?" I found that searching "monomials" in SAS Curriculum Pathways was a more efficient and dependable way to seek an answer to this question than a general internet search. Since the Algebra 1 course aligned with the CCM 1 content that I was teaching, I selected parts of specific lessons to use to teach my students. With the technology that I had access to in my classroom, I found that the easiest way to do this was to show the lesson on the Smartboard and lead the class through select elements while the students took notes on the content and completed example problems.

I also used Curriculum Pathways for inspiration on how to explain math concepts to students. For example, the Algebra course lesson on Functions and Relations features a video that explains the characteristics of the domain and range of a function by comparing domain to people and range to places. I loved this analogy, but I wanted to take the video a step further and get my students involved in the example.

When presenting the concept to the class, I asked for volunteers to come to the front of the room and hold signs labeled as specific locations that my students could identify with.... McDonald's, The Mall, etc. I then called on several students to each pick a location where they wanted to "go" and connected each person to the corresponding sign with a piece of string. This allowed the class to have a discussion about how two people could be at one place together, but one person cannot be at two places at once and how this compares to the domain and range of a function.

My advice to future teachers approaching their student teaching semester would be to find whatever works for you, but don't forget that you never have to start from scratch. There are an overwhelming amount of educational resources online, some better than others. My best lessons came from finding ideas and lessons that were already created and then adjusting those lessons to fit my personality and teaching style. When looking for content support, example problems, complete lessons, visual representations, student assessments, or even just inspiration, SAS Curriculum Pathways is the perfect place to start.