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Friday, March 23, 2018

Know Your Learners

To teach well, you need to know your learners.

To simply project what students know or need to know without establishing relationships with those students first, is to lessen the potential for good teaching and learning.

So what do we do to at the start of the year to get to know students. I'm thinking about this today as I continue to think about our family-student-teacher conferences and our efforts to help every child succeed.

At the start of the year, I can imagine the following relationship-building portfolio-start activities:

  • Selfie Project - a project where students focus on who they are including their three words and pictures and images that tell about who they are.
  • The Happiness Survey - this survey provides a lot of information about who students are, how they think, and what they love.
  • Social Emotional Learning Assessment and goal setting.
  • Academic discipline introductions - making dividers for those topics including the sub-topics, their questions, and wishes for the study.
  • School rules and protocols review -- what you do well, and what you can still work on.
As the year moves on, I imagine that students will include examples of signature work, photos, links, and related reflections.

Later for the second conference, we will update and add the following:
  • Update social emotional learning assessment and goal setting sheet
  • Update academic goal setting sheets
  • Add passion assessment
  • Create script for conference two
We are working carefully to utilize the showcase portfolio process to give students awareness and leadership over their learning. I have found this to be a very positive learning/teaching approach, one I continue to develop.