Be Proud, Be Persistent

As I pause to reflect on the work we have all put into transforming teaching and learning this year, I am truly appreciative of the efforts of all teachers.  I am inspired by the risks teachers are taking in classrooms and proud of the rewards they, and especially our students, are reaping.  In yesterday’s faculty meeting, we heard from a few teachers some ways teachers are incorporating formative assessment and targeted, small-group instruction, or integration of technology.  In addition to the three teachers who shared their practices yesterday, there are numerous examples from around the building we can share.  Here is just a sampling of some of the practices your colleagues are employing:

  • Cards with clear student-expectations for small-group instruction
  • Targeted small groups based on student responses from previous lesson:  one independent group writing a speech; one group revising responses using feedback from teacher; third group working directly with teacher to further explore effectiveness of rhetorical devices
  • Use of Vokaroo (online voice recorder) to provide students with individual feedback; link to vokaroo comments delivered to individuals via lesson tile
  • Students’ use of One Note to organize materials and share research findings with classmates
  • Student choice in researching types of government and evaluating their effectiveness
  • Use of Nearpod to upload demonstration videos; students can access demonstration and project steps throughout lesson as necessary
  • Kahoot, Quizziz, and Plickers to collect formative assessment data
  • BCPS One Turns-ins, Tests and Quizzes for major and minor assessments
  • Students engaging in like-role discussions to share findings and perspectives before re-engaging with groups for literature circles
  • Instead of asking the teacher, students utilize teacher suggested resources -AND- identify their own resources to share with teacher and classmates
  • Students coaching and explaining percussion concepts to one another; preparing to play as an ensemble
  • Chemistry students in three groups:  one creating equations; one group collaborating to balance equations; one group working with the teacher using manipulatives to balance equations

Be proud of your work so far, but be persistent too.  If you’ve been frustrated by an attempt at small-group instruction or integrating technology, don’t give up.  Do seek the insight of a colleague, Manny, or Tara Corona, resource teacher.  Do revisit your SPP Teacher Actions and consider what you can enhance or work on next:

  1.  Word walls and visuals – Is this an integral part of your classroom and instruction? Do you do it everyday?  Are students empowered to participate in their creation?
  2. Classroom expectations to facilitate small-group instruction – Do your students know what to do/what is expected when you work with individuals or small groups?
  3. Utilize formative assessment to inform instruction – Are you anticipating students’ misconceptions?  Are you prepared to meet students’ needs at varying levels?
  4. Targeted small-group instruction – Do students know why they’re in a specific group and what they need to do to meet with success?
  5. Read/Write/Discuss #OM_HS – Are you reinforcing students’ use of annotation in opportunities to read, write, and discuss?  Is there a clear purpose?
  6. Utilize success criteria for peer and self-assessment – Do students know what mastery or success should look like?

To perpetuate your work, it’s important we work together and not get stuck in a silo.  I encourage you to find a colleague who is working on the same teacher action and find a strategy and plan together; then go see the other teach with strategy/tech and debrief together.  Everyone is making progress, but we can’t rest now.  Be proud!  Be persistent!

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