For my first 8 day cycle want to focus on mentoring which will play a huge part for students to feel connected and be part of the community whether they are on campus or a learning at home.
- Building community
- creating a safe space
- building trust
- use zoom to have face-to-face interaction with students
- Record zoom sessions for students unable to attend due to time zone issues
- endeavor to connect with students outside of Beijing time zones and create opportunities for face-to-face interaction via zoom
- screencasts will not be necessary for this section as we are using familiar technology and the majority of our work will be face-to-face or independent/small group
- students will have the opportunity to contribute to the planning of lessons
- students will have the opportunity to create a unique personalize check in for our group
- students will have the opportunity to share their personal experiences
- check in activities
- individual conversations
- formative feedback through DX
- students will have the opportunity to interact as a large group as well as in small groups in breakout rooms on zoom
- students will engage in a variety of teacher-lead and student-lead games and activities in the classroom and on Zoom
- each student will have the opportunity to participate, contribute, and feel valued during zoom sessions
- students will have the opportunity to work individually or in small groups
- Student interest will drive the planning of activities/games
- discussion, polls, DX threads & individual/group conversations
I strongly believe that care is something that needs to be the primary focus at the beginning of the school year. Many students have been out of school for many months and are feeling disconnected both with their learning and socially. It is important as teachers for us to create community. Students need a place to connect to you whether they are at school or still learning from home. students need the opportunity to build trusting relationships with their teachers and to reconnect and build new friendships with their peers. It is up to us as teachers to create these opportunities. Maya Angelou’s quote has been floated around a lot lately. It is important for us to be focusing on curriculum, but it is essential that we consider how our students are feeling.
As a learning support teacher currently outside of Beijing I think the five C’s of online learning should be at the forefront of all planning sessions. I plan to work closely with my team to collaborate with lesson planning, assist in creating captivating lessons to capture the imagination and curiosity of our students and to make sure the care continues to be a major focus of all of our interactions with both students and colleagues.
Looking at my fall survey results my immediate reaction was hmmm that’s a significant improvement from last year’s survey. Before giving myself a big pat on the back I feel that it would be wise to dig a little deeper. What is the reason for this improvement? How much is related to my professional growth and how much is related to how my students perceive me in my new role as a learning support teacher vs. last year as a math teacher? How much does the subject one teaches and students’ feelings about that subject affect survey results? For example, a student who is strong in math or who does a lot of outside tutoring might not feel as challenged in math as they do when they are playing a new piece of music in orchestra. I guess this could lead into conversations about personalized learning and ensuring all students are appropriately challenged.
Before I get back to my survey results, another thought I had regarding the difference in my results from last year to this year is the personality of the class. A class obviously is composed of individuals, but in my experience classes develop a collective personality. These differences can range from subtle to significant and can, and should (especially through the lens of personalized learning) be reflected in the planning process. Tripod says that the number of surveys, surveying multiple classes, doesn’t affect the results, but this seems to directly contradict accepted practice in math and science. But I’m getting off topic.
My goal for this year was care and I will continue with that. Despite being predominantly “in the green”, there were a number of negative responses suggesting that some students are slipping through the cracks. This definitely suggests that further diligence could lead to improvement, especially for the experiences of those particular students. I understand the need for these surveys to be anonymous, but in this instance it would be nice to know which students are feeling less cared for.
Another area that I will be taking note of is under consolidate. There is indications from the survey that I need to do a better job wrapping up the learning process and insuring understanding. This is definitely something I will be mindful of moving from forward.
My professional goal this year will focus on care. I strongly believe that by developing strong relationships with my students it will allow them to feel more comfortable taking risks, extending their thinking and challenging themselves while learning. Last year, during my experience in the pilot group, my results in Care were “medium” in both fall and spring and the overall score dropped slightly over the course of the year. This is something that I am looking to improve.
My non-7C goal for this year will focus on balance. I want to find the best balance for my learning support students of in-class support and building the skills that will allow them to reduce their need for support, increase their independence and build self-efficacy for the future.
I received the results of the spring survey that I had 1 of my 4 7th grade math classes complete. Again, like the fall, most results were “medium”. I’m not sure if this is the language of the survey, or just the nature of working with middle school students, but the term medium suggests to me that my performance in the classroom is not at the level I would like it to be and significant professional growth is required. As we move forward with this student feedback and new professional growth process I would like to see opportunity for students to make anecdotal comments to clarify why they chose to rate me in a particular way. I think this would allow me to be more focused in my efforts to improve my teaching.
There were some positive takeaways from the spring survey results. Item 2 under clarify, “If you don’t understand something, my teacher explains it another way,” has improved from low to medium. This was something that I specifically focused on since receiving my fall survey results and it is nice to see that I have been successful improving in this area.
A significant area of concern was in confer. All 3 items here moved from high to medium. This is definitely going to require some reflection as students clearly feel they have less of a voice in my class than they did at the beginning of the year.
An additional area of concern is that students sometimes feel bored, don’t always feel challenged and feel that I accept less than their best work. I recognize that this is partly due to the huge range of math ability in each of my classes, but that really is no excuse. Moving forward my professional goal, if I were continuing as a math teacher, would focus primarily on differentiation and personalized learning. I currently do make efforts to challenge students at their level through optional weekly challenge packets, extension opportunities and a homework menu that allows students to select an appropriate assignment for their level, but clearly there is work to be done in this area. One thing that I need to do a better job at is using formative assessment data to drive instruction. I still rely heavily on whole group instruction, which does potentially lead to boredom for my higher-level kids. This has been an ongoing topic of conversation in our department meetings, and as a department we are working together to try to improve in this area.
As this is likely my final blog posts of the year, I want to say that I am happy that I chose to be part of the pilot project and that I feel this has been a refreshing and valuable new look at professional growth. I have always been reflective of my practice and have sought student feedback through anonymous surveys in the past, but taking the time to write down my thoughts in a blog has allowed me to be more focused and has been a valuable process. I look forward to continuing this next school year.
As we begin trimester 3 I want to reflect on my progress to date. I am a little sad to see this is only my 3rd entry. I had hopes of using this more. Next year…
I completed C6 training in February and there were some valuable takeaways. I have always been focused on having students understand math vocabulary and making sure we are all using common language in class, but after C6 training I am trying to be more concrete and explicit in the way I teach vocabulary to better support emerging bilingual students. I mainly do this through games and online tools like quizlet and Kahoot! I have no quantitative data to support this, but these activities seem to be beneficial. I experimented on our last summative assessment removing some scaffolding from a communication section and overall results were unaffected. I have also continued to focus on content and language objectives in my planning, but I still feel this could be emphasized more throughout the lesson. I have yet to include a cultural objective as I find this challenging in the context of a seventh grade math class without becoming repetitive and losing purpose. Having the mindset that I am a language teacher as well as a math teacher has helped me improve in this area.
Another focus area outside of my goal, based on survey results which indicated that I do not do a good job showing multiple ways to solve problems, is something I have been working on. Since reviewing the survey results this is become a major focus when solving problems in class as I try to model as well as encourage students to attempt multiple ways of solving problems. I am hoping to see an improvement in this area when we complete the second round of surveys this spring.
It was interesting to get student feedback on my performance in the classroom. I’ve used surveys in the past to get student feedback, but they have never been this detailed and they have always been something that I have created. I found it helpful to think of the results through a different lens. Rather than low, medium and high I thought of it as we do in middle school with approaching, meeting and mastering. The majority of my survey results were medium which I took to mean that I was meeting the expectations of my students. There were two particular lows that caught my attention and have caused me to reflect on my teaching practice. Under clarify, there is one item that says, “If I don’t understand something, my teacher explains it another way.” This is something that I’ve always felt was a strength of mine as a math teacher. It seems that it is not coming across that way and it is something that I have focused my attention on since receiving the survey results. I will be curious to see if I improve in this area when we re-survey the kids. The second low that I found interesting was under consolidate. “My teacher takes time to summarize what we learn each day.” This is something else that I do make an effort to do in class, but it seems to be falling short. Since receiving the survey results, I have made an effort to be less rushed at the end of class and to do a better job of consolidating learning. One item that I am particularly proud of is under challenge. “My teacher wants us to use our thinking skills, not just memorize.” This is definitely a priority of my teaching and I was happy to see it rated as a high. Overall I found this process to be a very meaningful for my professional growth. I have definitely had some valuable conversations with administrators following classroom visits, but this, coming directly from the students, feels more authentic.
My professional goal for the 18-19 school year is to improve access to the 7th grade math curriculum for language learners in my classroom. Part of my plan to achieve this goal is to attend SIOP training in February. I feel that my goal aligns with 2 of the 7 C’s.
Care – My goal will help me address the learning needs of my students.
Clarify – My goal will help my students better understand my course content.
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!