Author: lcox (page 1 of 2)

Final Reflection

Goal developed before first survey:

Goal 1:

Improve in the Tripod 7C area of “Confer” by better encouraging and valuing my students’ ideas and views in the science classroom and during mentoring time.

Although my survey results were good for this initially, the three “confer” items did all increase on the spring survey so that 100% of students gave favorable responses.

The three main ways that I tried to improve on these areas was to do more small group discussion-based activities where I circulate and participate, I continually reminded students of the value of “academic courage”, and I also incorporated more peer feedback on assessments. I also think that our regular small discussion groups in mentoring time helped in this area as well. I do think, however, that students likely did simply start to feel more comfortable with their classroom group by the end of the year, and therefore started to share their ideas more.

Goals developed after the first survey:

Goal 2: (Challenge):

Implement a better feedback system for self-directed lessons so that students feel both validated and motivated. I implement one-on-one brief check-ins with all students during longer multi-class projects.

Reflection:

After receiving the results of my first tripod survey, I gave my students a follow-up survey to solicit comment-based data that could help me improve. Two themes also emerged to help explain the Challenge results.

  • The vast majority of students felt that this question item was confusing. (“In this class, my teacher accepts nothing less than our full effort”)
  • A few students suggested that self-directed lessons and projects might be resulting in some students becoming less motivated and productive.

While it was clear that the main reason for my poor results was due to theme #1, theme #2 really made me think. I work very hard to provide feedback to students as they work through self-directed lessons and projects. Not all work is self-directed, but I do use a “flipped classroom” approach quite often and like to have students work at their own pace whenever possible. However, most of my feedback now is provided through One Note or Socrative online quizzes. I realized this year that for some students, this digital check-in may lack the personal touch needed to spark motivation.

I did indeed try to meet one-on-one with students to discuss their progress as often as possible. I soon learned, however, that this takes much more time than I had available in class. I then switched to frequently offering students choice after receiving their digital feedback. If they felt they would benefit (either academically or motivationally), then they could self-select to have a one-on-one. This method worked fine, although I did still need to force check ins with some students that I knew were struggling.

Prior to the second spring survey, I purposefully took time to explain the wording of the survey item to try to avoid confusion. The results are below. While there is noticeable improvement, this is still an area that I would like to improve on.

Fall Survey:

Spring Survey:

Goal 3 (Classroom Management):

Implement and follow through on a one-warning system for behavior issues in the classroom. These behaviors will focus on students talking when I am talking, and students who are off-task.

Reflection:

It was very surprising to me, and also a ‘wake up call’, that classroom management was one of my lowest areas on the first survey.  Having come from a previous school where I needed to spend much more energy on classroom management, I realized that perhaps I have become too lenient at ISB because I just think that the students’ behavior is so good generally. While I still feel as though my classes are always productive, it was very interesting for me to learn on the first survey that 15-20% of my students felt that student behavior was not under control and that classmates did not behave the way that I wanted them to.

In the follow-up survey, two themes emerged to help explain the classroom management negative results:

  • Most students do not think that classroom management is a problem
  • Some students think that I need to intervene more to help students who are (a) disruptive or (b) off-task but I don’t realize.

The themes above helped me to develop goal 2. While I was not entirely successful in sticking to a firm warning system, I was definitely more conscious of classroom management throughout the year. I was particularly sensitive to thinking about the minority of students that were feeling uncomfortable, and I definitely shut down off-task behavior and talking more than I have in the past. I’m pleased that my survey results for all of the classroom management items went up. There now appears to be only one student in the class who responded with any unfavorable scores. This still does bothers me, but I am happy to see the significant improvement. I have learned that classroom management and how students are feeling about it is much more difficult to gauge with ISB students.

Fall Survey:

Spring Survey:

 

Overall Results Fall:

Overall Results Spring:

 

Investigating Further…

After receiving the results of my first tripod survey, I wanted to do further inquiry into the lowest scoring areas.

I gave my students a follow-up survey in both science classes, not only the one that did the survey. The goal of the follow-up was to solicit comment-based data that could help me improve in the areas that I identified on my previous post.

Please see the ThingLinks below for a summary of the student comments, grouped into themes. Click the (+) icons for actual examples of the comments.

Reflection:

The data from this secondary survey has led to an additional two goals for my school year:

Goal 2 (Challenge): Implement a better feedback system for self-directed lessons so that students feel both validated and motivated. I implement one-on-one brief check-ins with all students during longer multi-class projects.

Goal 3 (Classroom Management): Implement and follow through on a one-warning system for behavior issues in the classroom. These behaviors will focus on students talking when I am talking, and students who are off-task. This will require that I increase the amount that I currently circulate the classroom during student work time.

Tripod Survey Results Reflection

It has been very interesting to analyze the data from the first round of the tripod survey that my students completed. They took the survey at the end of October, and will do so again at the end of the year. I’ve removed the actual scores, but posted the visual below because I like how the image demonstrates the different components of the survey.

While my initial goal this year is to work on improving in the area of “Confer”, my results indicate that I should also focus on certain areas within “Challenge”, “Classroom Management”.

 

CHALLENGE

As the image above shows, my lowest scores overall were in the area of challenge, and it is an area that that I can “build on”.  This was the only area in which I scored a “low” score, which was for the survey item “In this class, my teacher accepts nothing less than my full effort”.  I also got a “medium” score for “My teacher makes us explain our answers – why we think what we think”. 

I must admit that I’m surprised by these results, as I do try to push students to extend themselves and put forth their best effort.  I even have the sign below on my door :). In the next week or so, I will discuss with students and ask them to submit some anonymous feedback so that I can try to understand my scores on these two items a bit more.

CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT

While my overall scores in these categories were fine, I am concerned about the breakdown of survey items #1 & #3 below in particular.

#1: Student behavior in this class is under control.
#3: My classmates behave the way my teacher wants them to.

It is concerning to me that there are 3-5 students in the class who gave such a low rating on these items. It makes me think that my classroom management style, which effective for most students, is not making these 3-5 students feel comfortable. My goal with classroom management is to build strong rapport with students so that if behavior ever does become an issue, it is easy for me to get the class back on track quickly. However, the system is not working for a few students, so I would like to explore this a bit more. I’m not sure how yet, but I will think about this and develop a plan.

MORE PROFESSIONAL GOALS…

Once I have ruminated a bit more and discussed some of these results with students, I will develop more professional goals that stem from the survey results.

Our First Council Meeting

My first goal this year is to improve my teaching in the area of “Confer” (see previous post). Specifically,  I want to learn how to invite students to share their ideas and opinions.

One method that I am trying is to do more small group discussion-based activities. Students are more hesitant to share in a larger groups. Today, we did our first “council” meeting in mentoring class, where students were split into two smaller groups that each worked with one teacher. Last week, our MS counsellors shared a format for these meetings, and I was looking forward to trying it out.

Slow down, stop talking, start listeningThis is what I need to keep reminding myself. The council format really helped with slowing down, because only the person holding the item (a small stuffed toy) is allowed to speak. I still feel that I talked too much, because I was uncomfortable with how little the students were sharing, and I wanted to model that it’s OK to share.

Teachers are challenged to make curriculum relevant to students. Council promotes this by asking students to share their stories and experiences (paraphrase from the video below).

Overall, the first session we had was “OK”. Students shared a bit. I was pleased that a few usually quiet students opened up and shared some interesting stories. I think that the prompts that I choose are very important, and I will give more thought to this next time. My co-mentor, Steve, sounds like he had a bit more sharing in his council group, so I will ask him for some strategies to get students to open up more. I think I probably rushed the process, as this is an issue that I often have. I look forward to improving my skills at facilitating council over the coming weeks.

“We are so busy, life is so fast-paced. It’s rare that we get to sit down, face to face with another human being, fully focused on them”. – Judy Utvitch from the video below.

“We need to slow down and talk to each other more.” – Student from the video below

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