In this post, I use the questions posed in the last post to assess my own practice. If you''re interested in reading the responses, you'll note that there are successes and continued room for growth. Also, if you note an important missing question, please let me know.
- Are children confidently and happily engaged in learning efforts each day?
In general this has been a primary classroom focus for me this year. I constantly assess student happiness, confidence, and engagement through observation and questioning. I tweak the program daily to better create a classroom environment that develops confidence and happiness. Some practices I use to forward these attributes include class games, picnic lunches, class meetings, individual, small group, and whole class coaching, and personalized learning endeavors that respond to students' interests, needs, and standards. Hattie's research in Visible Learning for Teachers, Maximizing Impact on Learning affirms the educational strength of happy, confident children.
- Do children feel empowered in the classroom? Do they work and act as if the classroom belongs to them?
- Have children met the standards set forth by state and system-wide frameworks?
- Have children developed their attitude and skill when it comes to "learning to learn?"
- Do children persevere and ask questions to lead their learning?
- Have children learned new knowledge that has served to broaden their lens, empathy, and understanding in meaningful ways with respect the world they live in?
- Signature projects and units such as Just Like Me (understanding differences), The Culture Museum, and Endangered Species Research
- Cultural enrichment events.
- School-wide service learning efforts.
- Rich, culturally sensitive literary collection
- Substantial tech access serve to enrich students' world view and understanding.
- Are children inspired and able to follow their passions and continue learning?
- Have I helped family members encourage and coach their children?
Regular newsletters, open email exchanges, coaching meetings, conferences, and regular assessments have served to create strong home-school bonds. I'd like to think about ways that I grow the learning community (students, families, educators, leaders, and community members) with greater strength and focus next year. I believe that the move-up letter and early year curriculum nights and conferences matter a lot with regard to establishing a strong, initial culture in this regard. As the education landscape changes, I look forward to building this integral piece of the teaching/learning repertoire.
- Are children building positive, effective collaborative skills, and a sense of team?
Collaboration and team are a wonderful byproduct of greater student choice and voice in the classroom. Children naturally choose to work together, and inevitably meet conflicts of all sorts while engaging in collaborative work. The conflicts provide opportunities for me as a teacher to coach and support students' developing collaborative, team skill. Similarly as we introduce more collaborative models for educators such as RTI and PLCs, I too am working on those skills in the professional sphere. This dual focus leads to powerful learning. Further, Hattie's research in Visible Learning for Teachers, Maximizing Impact on Learning affirms that students working together is a highly effective teaching technique.
- Scope and Sequence Review/Standards Review, Prep for Units and Teaching/Learning Routines
- Learning Community Communication and Response Review and Revision
- "Learning to Learn" unit creation, poster production, and room set-up.