Sunday, July 07, 2013

Teaching Children Well: Join Me on a Journey of Self Reflection #1

Massachusetts has launched a new teacher evaluation system.  It is a complex system based on worthy language related to what it means to teach well. Part of this process requires teachers to regularly assess their practice using this lengthy, but worthy, research-based rubric.

Since I enjoy reflecting on the question of what it means to teach well, I've decided to write one post about each of the 33 standard elements.  In each post, I'll reflect on the element both in general and specific to my practice as a public elementary school teacher.

Some may say, why the tedious, personalized approach to analysis? My response lies in the fact that the more we understand what it means to teach well, the better we'll be able to translate our craft into optimal service to children. Also, the better we understand the standards for evaluation, the better we'll be able to exemplify and discuss the standards with colleagues, evaluators, and the learning community (students, families, educators, leaders, and community members).

So if you'd like to spend some of your summer study time reflecting on your practice, join me as I use Massachusetts' worth educator rubric to reflect.  I will post these documents regularly for your review.  You may simply sign up for my blog posts if you want to receive the notices via email, or you can check in to Teach Children Well regularly for the next installation of this reflection process. Throughout the process, I welcome your comments, thoughts, and ideas too.  Together we have the collective power to personalize, understand, and utilize this rubric well in our efforts to serve children.

Hence, Reflection #1

Standard I: Curriculum, Planning, and Assessment. The teacher promotes the learning and growth of all students by providing high quality and coherent instruction, designing and administering authentic and meaningful student assessments, analyzing student performance and growth data, using this data to improve instruction, providing students with constructive feedback on an ongoing basis and continuously refining learning objectives.

Indicator I-A. Curriculum and Planning: Knows the subject matter well, has a good grasp of child development and how students learn, and designs effective and rigorous standards-based units of instruction consisting of well-structured lessons with measurable outcomes.

Element 1A-1: Subject Matter Knowledge

This is the state's rubric for 1A1 demonstrating the criteria with which teachers are scored.

Specific Criteria Analysis: (based on proficient/exemplary rating descriptors)

Criteria: Develops sounds knowledge, understanding, and expertise in subject matter and pedagogy required by engaging all students in learning experiences that enable them to acquire, synthesize and model complex knowledge and skills in the subject.

Key Points, Questions:
  • knowledge, understanding, and expertise in subject matter.  How can I develop my knowledge in the specific subject area?  
  • engaging all students in learning experiences: How can I design learning experiences so that all students are engaged on a regular basis? 
  • acquire, synthesize, and model complex knowledge and skills in the subject? How can I design, implement, and assess learning so that students successfully acquire, synthesize, and model complex subject area knowledge and skills?
Educators who would like to join me on this summer self reflection can simply click the link above, make a copy of the document, read, and complete. 

This is an example of my beginning reflection in this area. I will keep track of my reflections on a separate document. I am sharing this publicly as an example. 

Once again, I invite you to join me on this reflection journey as we prepare for school year 2013-2014. Though time consuming, I believe this journey will result in enriched craft with educating our students well as the central focus.