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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Attention to Detail Leads the Learning/Teaching Path

As I think about the the days after Thanksgiving holiday,  I am thinking about the ways I want to focus more on attention to detail--attention to detail with regard to student service, logistics, daily lessons, and teamwork. It's not about the big picture right now as that work has received considerable thought--it's about the details.

To make that visible, I want to revisit service delivery maps, administrative work organization, collegiality, teamwork, and lesson planning and response. The goal in the end is to provide the best possible service to students, families, and colleagues as a learning/teaching team member. Being faithful to weekly meetings, needed planning time, extra help sessions, and family conferences/meetings is a good way to make this work visible. Similarly making that one hour or so a day for the administrative paperwork that goes with the job helps too.

Overall it's been a good year, and I'd like to continue pushing in with the details above to continue to better my practice as expected and desired. Onward.

Knowing Your Class

A class of children is full of surprises. As you move through the year, you learn more and more about them. What some children enjoy, others don't enjoy. What some classes gravitate towards, others don't show interest in.

Today the students surprised us with their incredible creativity with the Turkey-in-Disguise persuasive essay and project--the students work was amazing. Similarly I was surprised to see who really enjoyed our class films and who did not. Further, I'm recognizing that I have some good fix-it students who can recognize where problems exist and how to fix them.

Over the holiday, I want to think about the class's individual and collective personality as I plan ahead--what they enjoy, the questions they ask, and the needs they have will dictate how we approach the topics we'll cover in the days ahead. Overall I enjoy this time of the year when we have developed good relationships with students and families, and now we begin to deepen the work we do for optimal learning and teaching.

Math Education: The Advantage of One-to-One Support

There were a handful of students who did not perform as expected on a recent assessment. I want to understand deeply why this happened so in the next few weeks I'll make the time to let those students take the test again one-to-one with me. As they take the test, I want to watch and listen for the following:

  • How do these children read the problems? Do they read carefully, highlighting main words and questions or do they rush the reading?
  • How do students interpret the questions and make sense of them? Do they draw a picture to support their understanding, and do they stop to think if their answers make sense?
  • How do they calculate? Do they check their work? Do they write down their numbers carefully?
  • How do they sustain stamina throughout the test so that they are giving the start of the task the same energy as the end of the task?
In each of these cases, the students have demonstrated good understanding in class, yet their test performance did not match their class performance. I believe that taking the test one-to-one with me will help me to teach these students how to take tests better, and it will also give me great insights as to how to teach these students.

Sometimes the time we set aside to work with a child one-to-one reaps great insights and advantage that empower the teaching/learning program going forward. That's my aim with this approach.