My First Teacher Observation for the Year
I recently had my first classroom observation this year and my vice-principal, Dustin, gave me a lot of good things to think about. He mentioned skills he noticed I used in the observation such as ‘conferring’, ‘consolidating’ and so on. He also mentioned I used ‘clarifying’, but I thought I used ‘clarifying’ more strongly in other parts of the observation. I started to see that my chosen area of ‘clarifying’ is well connected to the other areas. For example, the sentence starters I used for the activity aided ‘conferring’, but I also included Chinese translations to help ‘clarify’ the task. I used my phone to help students to make visual connections to new vocabulary and used sentence examples to explain the difference between the homophones ‘to’, two’ and ‘too’. I guess what I am trying to say is that many of the 7Cs areas are closely linked to each other. As well, I should not assume that what I believe comes under the ‘clarify’ area should be assumed as ‘clarify’ by other people, students and adult observers included. Once again, it makes me aware that I need to explicitly let students know that I aim to clarify lesson details so they can make the best benefit from future lessons.
Dustin also asked me some open-ended questions after the observation. One of them asked about my own perceptions of the lesson with the four students I worked with during the activity. To tell the truth, I wonder how much of the scaffolding and concepts covered will be retained over the year. I assume that the help I gave with phonic skills will continue to be used throughout the year, and possibly, the student I helped with the homophone, ‘too’, will double-check her sentences by interchanging the ‘too’ with ‘as well’ or ‘also’. But when do I truly ‘consolidate’ these small learning episodes? Here are some individual learning episodes that came up while the students completed an activity. It was learning that were meeting the students at their different levels, but how can I help them retain the skills and strategies?
An idea I have is to keep post-it notes on the students and notice if there are any patterns that come up. If there are a group of students that have the same needs, e.g. they all need help with homophones, then I could do a mini-lesson on it. As well, I need to figure out how best to inform the homeroom teacher of such findings and how we can work together to help EAL students build up their language skills over the year.