Sunday, December 30, 2018

Signs of Success: Evaluating Teaching/Learning 2019

What will be the signs of success in your teaching/learning program for 2019? How will you evaluate the quality of the work you do with and for students? I am thinking about this as I gain steam for the months ahead, months filled with goals that mostly will come from my own ability to inspire and push myself ahead.

Student Smiles
I want students to mostly smile in my midst which means that I will evaluate the teaching/learning program, in part, by students' happiness. If students are happy, I know, in part, that the program is successful.

Student Engagement
When students are fully engaged in the learning, that means I have time to roam around the room answering questions and helping out rather than redirecting behavior and trying to get students engaged. Good engagement requires lots of kidwatching as suggested in Timeless Learning, and responding well to what you see/know that students want/need. Good engagement also requires just-right levels of reach for learning experiences, relevant/meaningful inquiry/exploration/projects, and lots of student voice, choice, and leadership. If students are fully engaged during the learning experiences and continuing those experiences on their own time, I know that they are engaged. This is a sign of success I will work towards.

Knowledge, Skill, and Concept Mastery
I want students to master identified knowledge, skills, and concepts. I will evaluate this in a number of ways including the ways that students write about, demonstrate, and discuss the identified standards. I'll also notice how they do on expected assessments and project work. I'll evaluate students' work closely to notice what they are mastering as individual students and as a group, and what continues to need more or different attention in order to lead to mastery. As part of that focus, I will work to make sure that students get enough just-right, engaging, and profitable practice with the expected standards.

I will evaluate my work, in part, by the progress I am making too. This progress will be evaluated with regard to the success of learning experiences with particular attention to the following areas:
  • students' independence
  • students' engagement
  • students' mastery
  • my ability to motivate students and explain
  • my ability to choose engaging activities with and for students
  • my ability to use time, space, and collaborative teams effectively 
  • my ability to translate professional learning into the classroom program 
Right now I know that I can improve with regard to engaging students in more hands-on floor-to-ceiling, standards-based math projects and I know that I can improve with richer, more engaging, and organized science learning experiences. I can further greater interdisciplinary study as well by integrating reading, writing, science, math, and social studies into worthy, engaging project/problem based learning. There are countless ways that I can improve the current curriculum program utilizing the standards, resources, technology, and spaces available. This work requires steady investment, professional learning, reflection, revision, and refinement--it's meaningful and arduous work that, if done well, will result in an improved teaching/learning program.

As you can see there's much to do in the new school year to spell betterment for me as an educator and for my students, colleagues and other learning community members to enrich and improve the teaching/learning program, a program I'll evaluate with the signs of success noted above.