Author: bgermain

Consolidation Strategies

After a little bit of searching and seeing that “consolidation” is not used to mean the same thing in education by everyone, I found a couple materials to help me for strategies for consolidation.  In brain science, as the picture shows below, this is the process whereby new knowledge becomes deeply engrained, or that short-term memory is transferred into long-term memory. With that concept in mind, it would be inexcusable to not consolidate in a lesson!

Engage, Build, Consolidate - three processes of learning which will be explored in this course

Beyond a simple summary at the end of a lesson, or an exit ticket, Tripod has some good links to resources and strategies to work on consolidation which can be found here. One thing that I tried once, but that I and students both liked (I think) was 3-2-1 Bridge.  From Project Zero, this Visible Thinking Routine allows students to form connections by activating prior knowledge and then taking a new concept to a new level. Plus, the metaphors are just fun to do!  This is something simple I can make sure I do a few times this month and after debriefing with my kids, I will try something new from the list next time.

Image result for 321 bridge

Student Survey Results, Fall 2019

In looking at 7C student survey data, and comparing to my initial thoughts in Blog Post #1, it turns out I do in fact have a different opinion of my teaching than my students. I had identified “clarity” as my target area for growth, while my survey results tell me that my student have identified “consolidate” as an area for improvement.  While the weight of each category is not clear (eg: if students think one more vital than the other), this was my lowest ranked category.

I’m a big fan of the Russian-Reagan proverb, “Trust, but verify.” In research this is known as triangulation and having collected quantitative survey data from a group at large, I would love to have focus group interviews to ask about specific points to better understand perspectives to inform the teaching strategies I can employ so I don’t miss the mark on my student’s needs. This is not because I am upset.  On the contrary, I want to be well-informed in designing valid improvements.  This holds true even with criteria that I got very positive feedback on as well.

It appears that “confer” and “captivate” are my strengths as an educator, but the extent to which this is true has to be questioned.  This data came from a survey that many students finished in just a couple minutes, was responded to in my presence (demand characteristics), and was a small convenience sample (which I got to choose) of my overall student population.  This likewise means that I am not jumped for joy at the above graphs which are overwhelmingly green.

For now, I will check in with students to share the data in an un-biased way, and ask some questions that probe deeper to inform my next steps.  Assuming the data checks out, I will be prepared to focus my energy and attention fully on “consolidate” and find evidence-based practices to help me best summarize the learning at the end of lessons, asking questions to ensure students are following along, and focusing on the visualization and process of learning.

At this time, I certainly do think I can do better on summarizing learning at the end of lessons.  Sometimes an exit ticket is not enough, especially after a 3 hour class such as that from which the above data was drawn.  I would like to have my initial focus simply be on recapping the activities and learning before the exit ticket is presented at the end of the class.

Johari Window

I was drawn to a reading a blog post yesterday because the title had the words “blind-spot” in it and I had just done a personality survey where I spent time pondering the weight of blind-spots.  The Johari Window is a personality trait reflection the helps one see may aspects of the self they think they are vs. the person others view him as.  Designed in the 1950s by two psychologists who cleverly combined their first names (Joseph and Harrington) instead of taking the regular scientific discovery route of hyphenating last names, this assessment asks an individual to choose adjectives that describe them from a set list.

The kicker, however is that you must then ask other people to click through the same adjective list with you in mind. Words then get classified in a box/grid that looks like a window.  The Arena is the category of traits everyone can see, they are recognized by the self and another. The Facade is the category of traits only recognized by the individual; no one else corroborated.  The Blind-spot is the category of adjectives others identified, but not clicked on by the individual. The Unknown box houses the words no one selected.

I tried to model the process for my class by asking four students to anonymously click through for me.  Much to my surprise, I had NOTHING in the arena!  This translates to me thinking I’m a totally different person than they think I am. Some teachers might say that makes sense, as they don a different personality at school than outside of school, but I guess I fell into thinking that didn’t apply to me.  I then got to thinking if this was a different form of the Dunning-Kruger effect which I reflected on recently.

Dunning-Kruger research results chart

  The Dunning-Kruger Effect illustrated. From

Wondering if I was a phony or if I was just perceived differently by my students than the person I thought I was, I set forth to collect more data!  I contacted two colleagues to complete my window; one that knew me well and one that I just met to balance out peer perceptions of my personality.  The results gave me another round of self-reflection, which I ultimately believe to be the purpose of this very un-scientific tool.  First came the relief that other people see me as reflective and organized and I didn’t have to spiral into an existential crises pondering how those corner-stone traits about myself had been unrecognized by others (but shouldn’t students have recognized them too?).  Second came the wondering if I truly was independent or logical if no one else thinks I am.  Perhaps in my own mind I’m logical, but not to others.  Is logic the sort of thing that only matters when judged externally? More Dunning-Kruger, perhaps.

Results of my Johari Window

Initial Goal Setting

As part of the process for setting 2019-2020 professional growth goals, teachers were asked to fill out a self-reflection survey.  In seven sections that align with the strands of the C7: care, confer, captivate, clarify, consolidate, challenge, classroom management, we were able to note our strengths and areas of growth.  Here’s what the form looks like:

Screenshot of reflection survey questions focused on the first strand of the C7: Care

While I question if my self-reflective responses will be the same as my student perceptions, I tentatively identified “clarify” as my focused strand for growth.  Ultimately, if students rate that the strongest for me, this might lead me to rethink my goal setting as other strands might demand more immediate focus.  Perhaps clarity is something I am just insecure about in my skills, and not an actual shortcoming as assessed by my talented learners.  I suppose I will have to wait on further data to find out, but scientific thinking requires slowly narrowing a focus and gathering evidence from multiple perspectives, so here I am at stage one.

For now, I would like to use more visual representations and diagrams to bring tough psychological concepts to life and plan this in advance, which will require me to think on and anticipate student questions and concerns before experiencing new content.  Maybe I can work on run-on sentences too…


Welcome to your Professional Learning Blog! This is a place for you to post your goals, and reflect on them throughout the year.

  • Decide on your goal, perhaps in consultation with your colleagues or principal, and create a post to share with this online professional learning community that you are now a part of! Categorise this post in Goal Setting. Set your goal by considering:
    • Self assessment and reflection based on new teacher standards  (Tripod 7C’s)
    • Previous or new observation data from peers and principals
    • Student surveys (online surveys developed and aligned with 7C’s)
  • Identify colleagues, coaches, principals etc. that will play a supporting role in achieving your goal, and invite them to view and comment on your post. Encourage them to bookmark your blog and visit regularly.
  • Throughout the year, collect and share evidence to support your progress. Categorise these posts in Reflection.
  • Encourage your colleagues to share your learning journey by engaging with your blog. In return, engage with their blog (and others across the School)
  • You may also like to share work that your students have created or your own professional achievements that may not be directly related to your goal setting. This is encouraged! Categorise these posts as Showcase.

If you need support using this platform, please don’t hesitate to contact Ed Tech, we are always happy to be of assistance!

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