Reflection Spring 2021

My goal from the Fall survey was based on Clarify, responding to the need to make sure I did not “think students understand when they did not”. My plan was to collect more and more consistent formative data to make sure that I knew where students were and could help them progress.

Prefaces:

I changed my role from EAL teaching to classroom Humanities teaching at around the end of the semester in December, and we learned online from January till April. The survey I gave in the Fall was to my EAL class group, and the Spring survey was given to one of my Humanities classes, and specifically the class that I have found much more challenging to deliver instruction to because of their behavior since about the turn of quarter 4 from 3. The results are disparate and show different things, still valuable, but reflective of these dynamics. Bottom line, it’s been a crazy year.

Goal Reflection:

The Clarify section was my third highest C this round, and the area of “knowing when students understand and do not” had risen to the medium level, indicating that I was able to meet that area, which was my goal from Fall to now. Two descriptors were high, related to comments/feedback given on assignments that help students improve. This is something I do prioritize when giving feedback (feedback, not just grades) to students so that was a great affirmation of something I value. Evidence of my work on giving feedback and collecting consistent evidence is shown both in digital places like DX but we also keep all physical student evidence in folders in the classroom and students are aware of the structures to review feedback, ask questions, and keep it all in this place. The isolated example shows the length and depth of comments on a few assessments including formative and summative speaking tasks.

 

New feedback and reflections:

As mentioned earlier, the class I delivered the survey too was a class that I have had a lot of struggles teaching in the second half of this semester and have tried a lot of strategies to manage. The nature of the issue specifically is that our time on task for learning is significantly impacted every day by students arriving late, without materials, and then preferring to spend every available minute talking socially to each other instead of listening to instruction or working. I worked different responsive strategies and eventually spoke to the whole class about the issue very matter of factly, but the issues persist even now to the end of the year, which  because we’re near the end might just get harder because of that general situation. I had leaned into being responsive and deliberately gave this group the Tripod Survey just so I could further diagnose the issue so following is the data from that and my reflections.

The lowest area was for “Captivate” with the descriptor that came out specifically low being “I like the ways we learn in this class.”
When I took informal feedback from the class about how their learning could be better before this survey, they already shared that they would like to learn in different ways, specifically getting to choose their own partners, move around and work with different people. So where this rating comes from already has some information attached. The contradicting problem with that, is that the issues this group has staying focused are because of their predilection towards socializing when with their friends, so at this point I’m not inclined to give them that leeway in general, except for short focused activities. What I’ve seen is that if they aren’t firmly separated, the class doesn’t run well because of how much they disrupt teaching and waste time talking. Still, I know and have reflected that they need to be more engaged in their learning as a real ‘nature of the problem’ where I am culpable, and this is a responsive way to raise that Captivate score in general.

Another low area was Challenge under the descriptor “Teacher accepts nothing less than our full effort”.
This strand has been low about every time I’ve done this survey with 8th graders and I’ve asked students about this in the past, and they are always freely ready to admit that they will never give their full effort ( because of their 8th grade maturity level?). However, when I asked 8-6 what their thinking was they all expressed surprise and seemed to want to affirm that they do feel like they give their full effort in our class. Maybe the data isn’t quite accurate here or maybe they are trying to express that so they can work towards getting the freedom they want.
Interestingly the area that I have been feeling the biggest struggle with has been managing their behavior, but this was rated extremely high by the students. And again, I wonder if they were trying to compensate and imply that they actually are well behaved despite what I see and correct them on every class? Hard to say.

Looking more closely at the individual question feedback, it looks like one student (est. 6% equals one student’s feedback?) may have gone through putting the lowest value for every single descriptor, or else there was on average one different student who happened to rate Very Low for each different strand. I wonder if that was the case, and if so who, and why? I do plan to talk with the group about their feedback in a constructive way tomorrow.
Edit: I did do this. I told them that they will firmly be in assigned seats for the time being because specifically yesterday I experimented with letting them sit wherever in the room and it again, did not produce the best work and focus. They asked for a compromise in that they want to have their assigned seats be rotated once a week so I will do that. And I will keep trying to create specific opportunities where they get to work with chosen partners on learning tasks.

New Goals:
Increase student engagement through challenging, authentic learning experiences. (Captivate)
The survey is always interesting and brings up new questions and theories that I can only ever try to be responsive to and work with to improve my teaching. The results have flipped from last semester and last class and I imagine if I gave them to the other section I teach I’d see completely different results as well. But I will make plans to work with this particular class based on the data I’m seeing, and that is to pivot on the ways they learn so their feedback is validated, and I push myself to improve as a teacher.

2020-2021 Goal Setting

Reflection on Survey

This fall I surveyed my EAL pullout classes I was teaching and have just now gotten those results back. I’ve since switched my position from EAL support to Humanities classroom teaching, which was a relished opportunity. I am glad to be able to ensure students and language learning students especially get opportunities to see content and language objectives used consistently, have opportunities for interaction, and to get background building through vocabulary and unit/lesson reflections and connections.

The results of my Tripod survey revealed a first ever low rating! which is great to know- the area was under Clarify for “My teacher thinks I understand even when I do not. The number of students surveyed was 10, in two EAL sections of 5 each.

I can absolutely make some inferences about this. Some of the students I worked with last semester have at this point, been tested enough for us to be able to gauge their English levels, and the range went from beginners to over-extended intermediate EAL students.  This means that the beginner students would have routinely been struggling with advanced grade level content and how it was presented to them in grade 8. I also found through testing and the creation of ELP’s (English Learner Profile documents) with this class, that even after WIDA testing when I cross checked the “can do” statements, several students did not feel confident about what these results said they were able to do vs. what I have seen in class and what they felt with their English abilities. They essentially tested at a certain level but may not carry that level of skill into the class every day. So these students represented what I’d call “over-extended intermediate EAL’s” who would have often run into the same comprehension issues.

So what to do about it? I think the fast answer that comes to my mind is a lot more well-crafted formative information. Meaning instead of simply asking students if they understand or have any questions, there will need to be formal formative data collected to check student understandings of concepts, instructions & tasks, and learning targets. I don’t teach that EAL group in any way at this point though, so it will be interesting to see what my Humanities class data looks like in the spring. I think that I’ll still need to take this practice forward with me because I do really want to be responsive to students.

One other point that jumped out at me was under classroom management there was some mixed opinion that still fell Medium for “Student behavior in this class makes the teacher angry”.

This is on one had a little painful, considering that it’s about the last thing I (or any modern teacher) would want to or expect to see in student feedback. I use student generated classroom norms, restorative practice, and generally a very laid back atmosphere, however I absolutely know that this group tested my patience a lot and my exasperation must have shown through. One half actually, because the two EAL sections were like night and day in behavior- with one half having students who have been English beginners with English since grade 6 at ISB, who struggle with engagement and almost never use English at school, and are often off task etc. They were a tough group, and the teacher who has since taken over teaching that class has confirmed the same struggles. So I had a few serious conversations with them that might have betrayed frustration and warranted this response. To give a clear example, we were working on reading stamina last semester, and we attempted to just be able to sit and read a book for 10 minutes without getting distracted. Students in this group were falling asleep, bothering each other, or just zoning out instead of reading when we tried this, and so I stressed to them that they had a lot of work to do to be prepared to succeed in high school if they struggled like that to be able to read from a book for 10 minutes, after we made several attempts. But it still gives me pause, despite the behavior issues present with that group, for how I can respond and work to engage in situations like that… In the future I’ll be careful to not ever let frank conversations come off as ‘anger’.

Goals

My goal based on the survey results is obviously to Clarify in the specific aspect of not assuming students understand when they might now, but by gathering formative information to consistently and formally check that this is happening. I don’t think this will happen to the same degree given the change of class that I have now, but it’s still my goal.

My real underlying goal for right now, Jan 25, 2021, is to keep being responsive- now especially that we are online, with my classes. I plan to deviate from the common lesson plans for grade 8 Humanities if needed to ensure that students are able to interact, be engaged, and take charge of their own learning while we are online, because I believe that these things are crucial more than covering an agreed upon set of content that has been taught in past years. We’ll see how it goes.

Online Learning Planner Sample

It’s good to be back in this space, thinking and writing about my teaching practice. For the upcoming year and what aspects of learning will be online, I know that EAL students need direct and practical support with their learning because it can be extra challenging for them as language learners. With this in mind, my initial learning planner details a project to help students develop a ‘strengths inventory’ that will give me information on what their skills are and to help them to be more self-aware of the same.

Considering last year’s work in online learning, the strengths that I brought were a willingness to have students create and use new platforms for sharing and expression. A challenge with this was in student readiness and navigation of platforms and their purposes. The action planned here would be helpful, as students brainstorm the possibilities of different skills/media types/platforms that they have done, and organize their comfort levels with them to share to me and their peers, to ultimately help clarify what they can do to learn best.

In an effort to serve students best, some consideration about our 5C’s are based on general reflection from this work and last years elearning experience. To best clarify, it will be important to give good models of what students are expected to produce, and regular and consistent feedback to students, both in the regularity and format- direction on this to be hopefully couched in ‘making thinking visible’ to guide students but not stifle their thinking and development. Collaborating can be done with thoughtful use of the plethora of digital applications and tools at our disposal, but a key skill to focus on is building our efficacy as a group in Zoom meetings by developing norms for that key skill of in-person communication while online. Classroom Management can also stem from this- good planning from the beginning on what our classroom and learning should look like and what the consequences will be when we don’t follow the norms we have created for our group will inform how our learning can best be accomplished. Captivating while doing online learning is indeed a big challenge but some key ideas to help increase captivation will be to facilitate interaction, make the learning authentic as possible, and avoid burnout by planning effectively. Care will likewise be a foundational area of support that should help make the rest of these possible, and this can be crafted by building relationships and a more than superficial interest in student well being, goals, and personalities/interests. Recognition and response to student situations will help them produce better work and be more satisfied learners, so this aspect is chiefly important.

There are a lot of great resources and information that have been given in the module for online learning planning, and I plan to keep this information at hand to try and inform better teaching in the coming year, as online learning will be necessary again given our current circumstances and the unknowability of what’s to come. It’s good to do some thinking and preparation while we can.

Meeting with Challenge Group

These are just quick informal notes about our group discussion around challenge.
We talked about the soundness of Challenge #5, “My teacher accepts nothing less than our best effort.” It’s an interesting thing, and I’ve written a lot about my perspectives on that one in past blogs.
The Spring survey will probably be more realistic, numbers will probably settle down.
Survey fatigue might mean we should think about how we administer it?
Debriefing after the survey can be valuable to get an understanding with your students.
The perspective of support teachers as support and not as exploratory and how that impacts our analysis of the survey results.

Fall 2019 Survey Reflection/Goal Setting Revision

Introduction

Fall survey results are in and I have had time to look through it in detail and also pivot on what my goals were at the beginning of the year, even making some moves towards them. There will be a lot to unpack in this post so I hope to organize everything in such a way as to be clear and organized, in detailing all of that. I met with Fred earlier in the year to check in on my initial goals and my takeaway was that they may have been too broad, and not necessarily aligned to the criteria of the 7C strands very closely. The survey is the best sort of footing to go back and revise these goals in line with the feedback about how students feel the class is going.

The Class

This year the class I’m focusing the survey and my growth on the pullout EAL class that I directly instruct, rather than the Humanities class where I am in a support role which I surveyed last year in the pilot. So the next section is some background on that class… The pullout EAL class is very flexible, adaptable, and responsive to student need as it does not have ‘standards’ and no required assessment other than an end of year WIDA to contribute to the determination of their English level for placement in/out of EAL. The way I decided to structure the class this year is based on surveys and conversations I had with my classes from last year on what they found useful and what we should spend our time on in that class. The system I made based on what they wanted is set up in a “Rule of the Thirds” setup, where I prioritize the following:

  1. Core Support – This is time for direct support with the skills/assignments they are working on in core classes of Humanities or Science, where we might practice vocabulary, front-load concepts, work on and revise assignments for those classes, and/or get feedback on that work that they are already doing in regular classes.
  2. English Foundations – This is unrelated English development that does not directly connect to their core class work, but is more didactic/traditional instruction and practice on English skills such as general grammar, writing, vocabulary etc. A best case scenario would be to synthesize these two, so that they can practice grammar or English foundational skills in context of their Humanities content for instance, but sometimes more basic and foundational practice is needed.
  3. Authentic & Fun Projects – This is my favorite. Because EAL class is in place of enrichments for most students, I try to allow for some fun and authentic projects to be done in the class that help them practice and develop English in more interesting and authentic ways, through project based learning. Projects we have done, are doing, or will do include: making a documentary about being EAL at ISB, making short films, recording a radio drama from a play script, making a rap song, writing how to guides, etc.

The survey was given to the 10 students (now 11) that are in these two sections of EAL pullout class.

Survey Results

In the first round of the pilot survey results I administered last year, I was skeptical of the general positivity in the results because of how little direct instruction I had done in that class, and predicted that they would fall into a more realistic and telling range in the second survey round in the spring, which did happen. While I think that the results from this year are more accurate because it is in a class that I directly instruct, I still remain skeptical of the overwhelmingly positivity that this round of results show. It may just be my brain’s pessimism or cynicism showing through, but I think that pure enthusiasm in the beginning of the year can lead students to give more glowing positive feedback when they have less time to really inventory their experience in the class over the course of the year, and I think that the Spring results will go down and will give a more realistic picture.

For the results of this Fall 2019 survey in my class, 80% of the items had a rating of high, and only 1 item was rated as low. The item that was rated low was also rated low last year, in both Fall and Spring, and it gave me a lot to consider. It’s the “Challenge” are sub-item, “In this class, my teacher accepts nothing less than our full effort.” I had two theories about why it was low (that I didn’t know their true capabilities and needed to get better data, or that they intentionally don’t give their best effort), but when I talked to the class about that particular survey item, they were quick to confirm that it was because they were never willing to give their full effort because they were “lazy” and don’t like to give their top effort. This is obviously problematic. For one, if the other items and strands this survey addresses really are functioning at a high level as rated, then the level of interest and captivation should be such that they make a full effort because the lessons and content pique interest and invite challenge. Secondly, structure of assessments should be demanding a high level of challenge from students at their personalized level and not giving room to give less than a full effort. This leads me back to the place that I have been on this topic, and my refined goal for this school year.

One more pragmatic note is that medium ratings were concentrated in the area of Classroom Management, and looking at the specific answer breakdowns I can really even isolate the low or medium answers to one specific group. My two EAL class groups are vastly different in personality and one group has some boys that have a really hard time staying focused and they constantly aggravate and distract each other such that I had already stared to work on keeping them physically far from each other, we’re constantly referring back to our class norms, and I’m giving them strategies to avoid that behavior. A data meeting this week even surfaced the idea of having the LS teacher check in with this on boy who has been in EAL for a few years now and is still almost the lowest reader in the grade on MAP, and I have to admit that he seems to find it almost impossible to focus on his work. So I’m pretty sure that the girls in that class are annoyed by the immaturity of those boys and voiced this in the survey. This will be an ongoing area to work with that specific group this year, so I’ll continue to work with them and update peripherally.

Goal Setting

The Challenge statements in the guide are:

  • PRESSING FOR RIGOROUS THINKING
  • PRESSING FOR QUALITY WORK
  • PRESSING FOR PERSISTENCE

I am going to refine my goal for this year to be focused on that aspect of “Challenge”. Substrands in my results for the emphasis on thinking skills over memorization, asking for explanations about answers etc. were all high, so I will continue to press for this kind of deep thinking as I have been and do, but I will focus on “Accepting nothing less than full effort” specifically. Steps to achieve this should be:

  • get a clear picture of student ‘can do’ abilities and level (student learning profile)
  • make this student-driven and aware, so that they are a part of their metacognitive assessment of their abilities and ‘can do’ statements
  • providing scaffolded challenges on their level and firmly pushing for their best effort (“differentiates instruction to provide appropriate levels of challenge for students at different skill levels”)
  • have students revise work for highest quality they can achieve
  • support them in this effort

Some efforts towards these goals are already happening and in progress, such as the “student learning profile” that is in development for admissions and general use by our student support services team. I’ve also looked closely at data in a recent team data meeting and made some observations that should inform instruction and student response in the near term, and the Wilson Reading program is a training that we just finished that I can also use as diagnostic information for reading fluency with my students. I also have found an online training module for the WIDA students strengths assessment that looks like it might take a couple of hours to do, so I will set aside time after the long weekend break to do that, and use it to have students build a strengths inventory as described above.

In summary, the results were very high but I will have to work on keeping them there and expect that they will settle in the spring, while I have something substantial to work on in the immediate- pressing students for their best effort.

Fall 2019 Initial Goals

ISB MS Teacher Goal Template – 2019-20

Name and Position: Lloyd Handy Grade 8 EAL

7Cs Professional Growth Goal (to be completed after Professional Growth Self Reflection)

Which of the 7Cs will you work on this year?  Why? 

The Clarify and Challenge areas are where I most want to improve in several areas. As an EAL teacher I have a diverse set of students with widely varying needs and it can be difficult to isolate these at the beginning of the year but in order to best serve them, it would be a benefit to try to do this in earnest and then plan to scaffold accordingly.
“I set challenges that are at the appropriate level for each student’s growth.”
“I scaffold my instruction to support students in rising to the challenges facing them.”
“I am able to anticipate questions by considering what my students will likely find difficult.”
These items all align to that general area for my initial goal.
I also want to focus on giving students meaningful feedback and setting them up for success in regards to their assessments. This is a carryover goal from last year based on student feedback.
“I share clear success criteria for student work and provide specific feedback based on those criteria.”

 

Action Steps:  Resources Needed  Evidence of Completion (deliverable showing completion of action step)  Will be completed by (date) 
Compile records/data for each EAL student Consistent place for data, time to talk with and assess students Records for each student on their capabilities and needs
Update: Comments for quarterly report card should be filled out in some detail based on this information!
Sept 18
Have students make their own strengths inventory -Share with students or have them make their own? Student products Sept 18
Give students feedback and opportunities to practice improving on assessment A choice assessment to focus and build on A second version of an assessment based on feedback Sept 18

 

 

Spring 2019 Reflection

I had predicted that the survey results would go down in the spring compared to the fall (not documented here in my blog, but personally and to some colleagues when talking about this project), so I shouldn’t have been surprised when that did happen. What I will simply have to do is to take the information I have, reflect on why this might be, and make plans for moving forward.

Every single category of the 7 C’s dropped in value from the Fall to the Spring of this school year, such that the total accumulated points went from 324 to 302. While not a drastic drop, and not low overall, the specific ranges of adjustment also fits in to what my prediction was, and I’ll explain why I think I knew this would happen, overall and in some specific areas. In the Fall when I gave the first survey, I had barely instructed in the class, the students who weren’t in my EAL group barely knew me (some even thought I was a TA for quite awhile this year), and I got the feeling that the results I initially got (in the medium to overall high range, almost nothing low) were probably an optimistic and good natured assessment of how the class was going in general, and whatever small part I may have had in that. I  essentially doubt they could really say how they felt about me as a teacher at that point because I did so little instructing, planning, or grading. Now they’ve had much more experience in the class (but still not much more with my instruction or teaching style), and I think students are able to verbalize their persuasions about these different areas better now, and so- the numbers have all dropped into an actually more realistic range.

The second immediate reflection on the data is that I see a picture of what is expressly worded in the questions that go a long the lines of, “In this class…”. This wording seemed interesting to me because the students are in a co-taught classroom, but their experience is still unified in their minds- they look at their grades for instance, and they have a general feeling of their experience in the class despite the survey being specifically intended to get their feedback on my teaching in that class. At this point of the year, I still haven’t done very much instruction in this class, we’ve primarily used the ‘one teach/lead’ co-teaching model and I support EAL students when they are working on tasks, and at most we’ve occasionally switched that model to where I’ve lead an activity in isolation about once per month on average this year. So not a whole lot changed in the way I interacted with this class of students from the beginning of the year to now, other than the EAL students who I worked with outside of the class as a lead teacher in EAL pull-out who have had more experience learning with my direct instruction in a small group environment.

This also leads me to reflect that some of the metrics that students rated lower may have had less to do with my teaching or my priorities as a teacher and more to do with that general experience they have in the class, which I haven’t had much to do with. For example, for the area of Clarify, responses were low for “In this class we learn to correct out mistakes,” and “We get helpful comments to let us know what we did wrong on assignments,” and I immediately thought back about the frustrations I’ve seen EAL students experience when getting assignments back continually at the Approaching level all year long in Humanities and wondering somewhat hopelessly how they can take steps to get better when they feel like they’re up against a wall. My assistance and attempts at scaffolding are sometimes errant if I’m not sure exactly what the final product of their assessments should look like in the small details, or what the criteria for meeting the standard should look like. This is an area for improvement I’ve been trying to work on all year, and will just have to continue on in the future. At one point this year I was made aware of a file folder in the classroom that apparently had all the old graded assessments in it, and I rifled through some of them and saw the same comments repeated on several different papers and started to see why they might feel that way in areas concerning feedback and how to correct mistakes as well. There were a few opportunities this year where I was able to meet with students to give them formative feedback on writing, or on a few Socratic Seminars (because we physically had to split the class to be able to get them all done and graded in the time we had) where I gave grades and comments on a rubric and I was sure to give as much extensive individual feedback in those situations as I could, but I don’t think that was a consistent experience for students.

This situation has made clear, based on the results of my survey, that this is an opportunity for me to try to improve this specific dynamic of feedback in the class for next year. One of the methods I used to use when I was a regular classroom English teacher before this was to return graded and marked assessments and give students time in class to read over them and then require each student to ask at least one question that I would circulate through the room to answer individually. No matter if their question was to clarify the feedback, how to correct mistakes conceptually or practically, or at the very least, banal grammar corrections- every student had to take time to review their individualized feedback, and to furthermore be formatively assessed on that review in the form of a question they generated on their understanding of mistakes and how to improve. Having this data to back up what students in the class are concerned with should support changes to things I’ve found frustrating all year long, and hopefully can be an area that I can get involved in to be of benefit to the students.

To move on to the specifics of the data gleaned from this survey, the top level areas that were lowest by number value were: Consolidate at 268
Challenge at 290
Care and Clarify at 294 each.
The specific answers that were rated low were:
“In this class, we learn to correct our mistakes,”
“My teacher asks questions to be sure we are following along when s/he is teaching,”
“In this class, we learn a lot almost every day,”
“In this class, my teacher accepts nothing less than our full effort,” *(repeat from the first survey, unchanged- as described in a former post, the students clarified for me about this when I asked, that they openly admit they don’t give their best effort because they ‘are lazy’, and choose in all situations to hold back. This is problematic in its own way because it leads me to think that engagement isn’t meeting in the intersection of motivation/challenge in the Zone of Proximal Development, but there are also issues in a mixed ability EAL group, where the needs are quite wide apart and it’s a known challenge to be able to differentiate for all students at their respective levels but one to nonetheless work on…).

As I started to look at the further broken down information of question response percentages, I’m actually starting to be confused about what qualifies as low, medium, and high, since for example in Consolidate the “My teacher takes time to summarize what we learn each day,” (which was one of the single items I worked on doing in class this year, since it was simple and easily executable) was rated as Medium, where the other two in that Consolidate area were Low, even though that one had more Low and Neutral responses than the other two questions, so I’m actually a little confused on how those general rankings and maybe weightings are made now after looking more closely, but I will still use the responses as they are to try to make adjustments for next year.

In summary, the results dropped across the board pretty much as I expected, giving me a more realistic look at students’ experience in the class but also giving me more more clear objectives to work on in the future than what I did throughout this year after the first survey and goal setting. My goal now is to see how I can spend my time and effort in the class to make adjustments that will benefit the students in the areas that they have felt unsupported in the end, and to try to bring these to my co-teacher to get their thoughts, input, and ultimately support, to figure out how this might look next year in the same class. So moving forward, my areas for improvement will be feedback and differentiating for the purpose of engagement and best effort…

Showcase

The main area that I wanted to work on in my teaching was ‘summarizing at the end of lessons’ and at intermittent times I have done that but here is a record of one in particular. Today, I’m sharing a small showcase example that should connect to an activity I’ll be leading on tomorrow.
I simply summarized at the end of the lesson that students had a) reviewed the first five chapters of events in the novel we are reading, Animal Farm, by making scene tableaus and b) that they had started their independent research on the events of the Russian Revolution from 1917-1924. The emphasis that I left them with though, was that they need to be reading that information through the lens of ‘what happens to your character though this time period’.
Earlier projects in this unit involved their writing of a historical fiction style journal with a character they created living through the events leading up to the Russian Revolution. The final assessment in this unit will be using their character in a talkshow style spoken assessment, which I will be leading an introduction and guide to with videos guiding how this kind of discussion should look and sound.
By summarizing at the end of the lesson I was able to give them advice on framing their homework reading that will help support them in the next activity. In this way, a summary at the end of the lesson is not only valuable for reflecting on the work that they did, but also in framing what is going to be coming next and setting them up for success in that.

Survey Results

The initial Fall survey results are interesting and really heartening. I generally expected lower ratings based on my small presence as a co-teacher only intermittently delivering instruction to most of the students in the class that aren’t in my EAL group. However, the results put me at a average to high rating for all individual fields except two, and this was really interesting and encouraging to see.

The positives include a high point in the categories of “Class Management” and “Confer”. Within class management was a prevailing indication that the behavior in the class is excellent in the opinion of most of the students, so this must mean that they feel they can learn effectively in their environment. The confer category indicates that students feel that they have a lot of opportunity to express and explain their ideas in class, which is a wonderful metric to indicate to me the balance of student centeredness.

The areas for growth fell under the two categories of “Consolidate” and “Challenge” with the specific line items of “My teacher takes the time to summarize what we learn each day” (from Consolidate) and “In this class, my teacher accepts nothing less than our full effort” (from Challenge). In the Consolidate section there were medium scores in all other categories and in Challenge,  medium and high for emphasis of thinking skills over memorization.

This is really appreciable feedback for a few reasons. When I look at the low point in Consolidate, it very easily and simply tells me that lesson structure just needs to conclude with reflection and summary more often. This reminds me of a concept I learned in SIOP of the bell curve lesson design, where the difficulty ramps up to the middle and then slackens to the end of the class with some relaxed reflection and summary. This is an easily actionable item and I also like that it gives me a potential role in the co-taught classroom. I will suggest to my co-teacher that I occasionally lead an end of class reflection and summarize the content and skills covered in the class for the day.

For the Challenge aspect (accepting best effort) this is really interesting and denotes a few possibilities. It could be at face value, that my level of acceptance of student work could be raised to a higher standard in general- to simply demand higher quality output from all students. It could also possibly be an indication that they are volunteering the information that they don’t give their best effort on assignments, to or unto my knowledge. A potential problem with this item (it lacks the simplicity of the other confer item) is that the range of student capability is wide, especially within my EAL group of students compared to native speakers in the English classroom, so the practical ability is actually different and wide ranging for the students in this group. Another issue is how to engage them if they are just admitting that they don’t voluntarily give their best effort. Either way, I can see a few courses of action to improve on this area.

I need to get more familiar with, and gather evidence for, student ‘best-effort’ capability. From the Dilt’s model, we know that capacity comes before performance/behavior, so this is a solid reason to pursue that. Next, raise standards and challenge students to put their individual best effort into every task. Another errant thought I have about this is that the idea of ‘effort’ might tie into behavior and focus. I do spend time every class, as we all do, redirecting students to get themselves on task and use their time effectively. If that is another possible indicator for this item, it’s yet a little more complex…
Maybe the thing to do will be to put it back onto the students and hear from them on this item?

So! The results are good food for thought and I have some clear next steps. If you’re still reading, thanks for stopping by! Drop a comment below if you know of any good tips for any of these areas of growth that I’m going to be looking at soon or any other thoughts in general.

New Goals

In better alignment with the 7C’s framework that this module is dedicated to, I’m revising my initial goals to where they fit into this system, and it won’t be an extreme stretch to fit them there so it’s not a reductive adjustment.
The area that I see the core of my goal fitting in to is the “Clarify” area. My goal of tracking student work and giving meaningful feedback might be the best way to achieve measurable and data driven progress. Towards this goal I will begin to do a bi-weekly reading fluency according to the AIMS testing procedure and be able to consistently track progress on specific standards of their reading fluency. I will also introduce the 7C framework to my class so that they are familiar with the goals that I will be working towards. The results of the reading fluency tracking and general tracking will be informally shared here in reflections.

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