For my Professional Growth Goal, I will focus on the strand “Clarify” and I will work towards the following goals:
- I provide orderly, structured explanations when introducing new ideas, including illustrative examples.
- I use a variety of methods and media to present and explain content and concepts.
- I share clear success criteria for student work and provide specific feedback based on those criteria.
Clarifying goals, directions and big ideas is an area I feel passionate about and the more I work with middle school students of varying skills and abilities, the more I see the need for providing more than one way to explain processes we are working on in class. I also want to consider individual learning styles and help students to recognize their own requirements in this area—as well as helping them be able to ask specific questions addressing their own academic needs (helping them to “clarify” their wants for better understanding as well).
For example, one of my first steps for beginning a new unit of study might be to make sure I clarify the purpose and learning goals, and provide explicit criteria on how students can be successful (going over standards/rubrics and pre-existing knowledge).
Additionally, I might try using small group discussion (at table groups, or in larger assigned groups) to start or follow instruction/activities and see how students are learning from my directions and from each other. I can also observe how well students are grasping new content and concepts by taking time to observe after activities have begun.
In terms of how students are actually understanding tasks, they also need to be given opportunities to provide feedback so that I can adjust the learning process, materials, and instruction accordingly. I will ask students for feedback through a variety of ways—checking in with them informally and/or giving opportunities for students to voice their opinion about activities and reflection.
Finally, in order to provide students with effective and accurate feedback, I will need to assess frequently and routinely where students are in relation to the unit of study’s learning goals or end product (summative assessments).