Thursday, May 31, 2018

How Do You Measure Your Work and Effort?

Most of us are formally and informally evaluated at our places of work. Rarely, however, does the evaluation by another impact you as much as your own evaluation of yourself. I find that the times that I truly feel accomplishment are times when I meet my own standards for good work and effort--times when I reach goals that I've created for myself.

As I think about this and I think about both the days and goals ahead, I am wondering about the standards that will translate to achievement and good work for me. I've created a short list to lead my efforts. As I plan for the year ahead, I'll likely modify and enrich this list and also use it as a check-list for what to do and how to evaluate my own work. I am truly at the teaching/learning stage in my career where it's mostly about finesse--learning and working to deepen the essential elements and actions related to transformative teaching and learning, the kind of teaching and learning that truly uplifts and empowers lives.

Class Community

  • The students respect one another and show similar respect to all members of the school community.
    • We begin the year by explicitly discussing what it means to be respectful and what that looks like in the classroom, throughout the school, on the playground, and while attending off-site school events. 
  • The students demonstrate self worth, self advocacy, and self reflection in meaningful and purposeful ways.
    • Students regularly discuss what it means to lead your own learning and how they can better believe in themselves, advocate for what they need, and reflect on their efforts to date and what they need and will do in the future to better their personal success and happiness. 
  • There is regular time for class meetings and discussions, and during those exchanges students demonstrate care and attention to one another.
    • Regular time will be set aside during lessons and the weekly routine to focus on what it takes to build a strong classroom community. There will also be similar discussions and efforts added to the schedule as needed. 
  • The students are comfortable coming to me with concerns, interests, questions, and ideas in person and via notes, phone calls, and email.
    • Starting at the beginning of the year I will let students know that I work for them and that I am there to help them to have the best possible experience of school, an experience where they develop as successful, happy people who engage in meaningful, purposeful, engaging study and activity. 
  • Students help one another to learn and understand that success for each of us means greater success for all of us.
    • We explicitly learn about what it takes to be a successful collaborative learning team. We discuss the attributes and actions that lead to this and work to better our collaboration and care continually. 
  • Students know how to access and navigate classroom resources to assist their successful learning and experience of school. 
    • Students are explicitly introduced to classroom resources and given time to practice using those resources to assist their learning. Resources are easily accessible to all students most times. 
  • Students understand and work towards the attributes of good character including emotional intelligence, social emotional learning, and collaborative skill and success.
    • Explicit attention is given to the attributes of good character and categories of successful social emotional learning at the start of the year. Students will have a chance to reflect on that information and practice using the language and efforts related to what it means to be emotionally intelligent and a person of good character throughout the year.
  • The students follow school protocols and policies and work systematically to change any protocols or policies that they feel are unfair or inappropriate for them or the school. 
    • Students will explicitly study the school "constitution" or handbook to learn about school protocols and policies. When situations arise that a policy or protocol seems to be unnecessary or not positive for students' welfare and positive experience of school, students will systematically work for change with that protocol or policy. 
  • Educators will focus on community building and students' personal development regularly on their own and with each other in order to successfully support teacher students' social, emotional, and collaborative development.
    • Teachers meet regularly to review how students are doing individually and as a team, and as a result of those meetings, teachers continually coach students towards successful social, emotional, physical, and academic skills, abilities, and development.
  • Students are engaged, active, reflective, collaborative, systematic learners.
    • Students are explicitly introduced to what it means to be a successful learner--they understand the role that engagement, activity, reflection, collaboration, and systematic thinking/doing has on successful living and learning. Students have regular learning experiences that integrate these attributes to better and develop students' math learning. 
  • Students understand, study, and work for mastery with every math standard and practice.
    • Students are explicitly introduced to each standard/practice and the rationale for learning that standard. Students work with the teacher to create and define multimodal learning paths for each standard--they will know what it takes to learn that standard with success. Students will have multiple, differentiated opportunities to practice and eventually review, master, and/or enrich their understanding of each standard. 
  • Students review learning errors with care and make appropriate corrections and revisions.
    • Students will have the opportunity to review, reflect, and better their work regularly in order to build their accuracy, clarity, and communication of math standards. 
  • Students understand what it means to be a successful learner and apply knowledge of cognition, good study habits, analysis, reflection, and goal setting to support their successful learning.
    • Students will begin the year with lessons related to how the brain works. They will also explicitly discuss and learn from the teacher and each other what it means to be a successful learner. Throughout the year they will revisit these discussions as they continually develop their capacity for successful learning. 
  • Students learn about multiple tools and activities that support math learning, and they increasing learn to access and use those resources to promote successful math learning.
    • All classroom tools and resources will be explicitly introduced and practiced  to help students understand the resources available and how to use those resources to strengthen their learning. 
  • Students increasing learn how to apply their math learning to real-life relevant and meaningful problems and projects with accuracy. 
    • With each unit students will have the opportunity to apply the unit's main standards, practices, and big ideas to real world relevant and meaningful problems and projects using a process of creation, revision, and presentation. 
  • Students successfully demonstrate their knowledge on assessments and project/problem based learning events. 
    • Problem and project-based learning events tied to each unit will allow students to apply and communicate their learning in meaningful ways. 
  • Students receive regular response to their math learning and study efforts. 
    • Students will regularly respond to their math learning via a math reflection journal. Teachers will regularly respond to students' learning via that journal as well as responses via assessments, meetings, coaching, and project/problem rubrics. 


    • Students are engaged, purposeful, curious, collaborative, systematic learners.
      • Science activities will be designed and promoted in ways that foster students' engagement, sense of purpose, curiosity, collaboration, and systematic thinking/doing. 
    • Students understand the scientific process and engineering design process. They practice the steps of these processes with multiple hands-on projects, explorations, and experiments.
      • Explicit teaching, review, and signage will develop students understanding of the scientific process as well as the engineering design process. 
    • Students study and learn the expected science standards and practices.
      • Students will study each science standard using one or more of the scientific practices. Standards and practices will be explicitly relayed, studies, practiced and applied by students. 
    • Students apply their knowledge to real-world, relevant, meaningful problems and situations.
      • As much as possible via all scientific study will be promoted with real-world, relevant, and meaningful context and impact. 
    • Students successfully demonstrate their knowledge on assessments and project/problem based learning events. 
      • Students will have regular opportunities to demonstrate and share their learning and questions. 
    • Students read about science topics and respond to and share that information in multiple ways.
      • A classroom science/math library will be available for student reading and exploration. Further science learning will be integrated with ELA via the creation of science slide shows, reading/study of science texts, and reading and responding to informational articles and information. 
    • Students learn to read and complete lab reports. Students receive regular response to their scientific exploration and lab reports. 
      • Science activities will be regularly matched with lab reports, and completed lab reports will be collected, reviewed, and responded to by the teacher.
    • Students learn about science in the field especially science related to the local environment including the local rivers, gardens, wetlands, schoolyard, and nature preserves. 
      • Teachers and students will learn many science standards via the environment that surrounds them and in conjunction with a partnership with Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary and The National Wild and Scenic River System.