Hi, my name is Rob Flatland and I am a middle school mathematics teacher. I believe that students learn best by doing. I strive to conduct my lessons in a student centered approach, giving them opportunities to discover new ideas and concepts. I am a strong believer in Project Based Learning (PBL) because students need opportunities to use what they have learned and see how it is useful outside of the classroom. To me, a great mathematics unit includes outside projects and hands-on tasks. My engineering and DIY background have been very useful to me in creating applied mathematics projects for students.
My classroom is arranged in cooperative learning groups. Students learn how to give and receive support from their classmates during class time. Although using cooperative learning groups results in improved social skills and interaction, that is not the goal. The goal of cooperative learning groups is better access to the curriculum. Though the majority of student work is completed and submitted independently, lessons are often structured for students to work with and learn from their group members. Working in cooperative groups presents students with opportunities to verbally share what they have learned, compare results to recently completed work, and get support when the teacher is not immediately available. Cooperative learning, when well structured, results in more independent learners.
I know that students can and will rise to the level of expectation. Therefore I provide a rich curriculum that challenges students to master understanding as well as learn the skills required to be successful. I also strive to design my instruction so that the curriculum is accessible for all students. This includes modifications for students with special needs as well as English learners. I also realize that there are those students who are ready and willing to be challenged further and my lessons consider this as well.
In addition to my 6 years as a middle school math teacher, I have worked with and served Marin Country youth as a Scout leader, summer camp director, and high school running coach. I had so many wonderful mentors and coaches during my youth that I naturally gravitated to extensive involvement in those same programs from which I benefited so greatly.