Thursday, July 26, 2012

Visible Learning #educoach chat 7/25 Reflections

As noted, Visible Learning for Teachers by Hattie is providing me with many avenues to explore and improve my craft for student success next year.  It's a great research-based book filled with data that supports optimal teaching strategies.  As Kathy Perrot and Shira Leibowitz continue to facilitate the Wednesday evening discussion of the book, I continue to share, question, think, learn and plan for the year ahead.

Last night we discussed chapters four and five. Both chapters demonstrated the strength that collaborative peer-peer work brings both to student and teacher learning and instruction.  The chapters gave me many ideas related to our PLC and RTI efforts as well as ways to manage the classroom so students are doing most of the talking and activity in collaborative efforts as they work towards specific, explicit learning goals.

I will also tighten up curriculum so that our goals are even more specific and explicit than in the past--from the start of each learning endeavor, lesson, project or unit, the students and I will discuss the following questions:
  1. What do we aim to learn?
  2. What do you know already about the topic?
  3. Why do we need or want to learn this?
  4. How will you know when you have learned this?  What will it look like?
  5. What strategies, processes and activities will you use to achieve the learning goal?
  6. How will you monitor your learning to see if you've learned it or not?
  7. How can teachers and peers help you to achieve the goal?
  8. When do you hope to complete this task?
We will create learning charts for individuals, small groups and the entire class to assist this process. For starters, I will begin using this strategy with two discrete learning areas: keyboarding and math facts.  Working with students we'll use the questions above and start the learning process during the first days of school.  These remain integral areas of the curriculum for fourth graders, and areas that fourth graders can master considerable control over the process, content and outcomes early in the year.

In the days to come, I'll design the efforts specifically and share them on this blog.  Later, I'll do the same thing for our first project of the year: The Self Portrait Poetry Anthology.

Hattie's book is prompting me to be more explicit, specific and focused with the way I guide, assess and monitor student learning. Rather than simply teaching a broad unit and accepting what students learn, Hattie pushes me to teach the unit so that all children reach high expectations through significant collaborative effort, self monitoring, effective dialogue, coaching and student voice. I will continue to put students in the "driver's seat" of their education, but I'll be much more persistant and specific about the roads they travel, the efficiency of their "driving" and the specific strategies they use along the way because as Hattie points out, I know my "impact."