Teaching Standard 1: Demonstrates ability to enhance academic performance and support for implementation of the school district's student achievement goals.
One way I have worked to enhance academic performance, is to be more deliberate when I reteach material. In order to insure student improvement, students reflect on their own performance allowing them to focus on their own academic strengths and weaknesses. When grading assessments, or reviewing work, I look for common mistakes in order to differentiate instruction as we move forward. By tracking student performance, students and I both have a clear understating of our improvement. By tracking student data, I don't have to guess or assume that students are understanding material. When students can see their growth, and by being very explicit about why we are working on a certain skill, or reviewing certain material, it eliminate the guess work for students as well.
In a recent letter, sent home with parents at parent teacher conferences, I provided instructions for parents to navigate our class blog and interact with students. Parents are encouraged to read their child's work and leave a comment for them.
Teaching Standard 2: Demonstrates competence in content knowledge appropriate to the teaching position.
Students are working on their Bloom Ball over "The Outsiders." This 12 step task allows students to demonstrate their understanding of the book, as well as their knowledge of Iowa Core Standards. Each step of the Bloom ball aligns with our Core curriculum and represents one of the 6 levels of Blooms Taxonomy of learning.
Before beginning each unit, a Unit Pre-test is given to each student. The pre-test is used to measure student understandings of each of the unit objectives.
The results of the student pre-tests are then used to guide instruction. The results tell me what objectives need to be taught to the whole class, and which ones need to be taught to smaller groups.
Teaching Standard 4: Uses strategies to deliver instruction that meet the multiple learning needs of students.
No two students learn the same way so it is important to use a variety of methods for delivering instruction. It is my job to teach students various strategies they can use when tackling assignments.
Students struggle with organizing thoughts and ideas for longer pieces of writing. For this particular assignment, students were to write a five-paragraph essay on how Suzanne Collins uses imagery in her novel The Hunger Games. After modeling how to use a variety of organizers, students could then pick which one worked best for them. Students may have approached the task differently, but every one of them was able to complete the task I put on them.
This year I have worked very hard to find new ways to monitor student learning. One of the tools that proves to be the most effective is for students to monitor their own progress. In order to do this, I must make sure the learning goals and targets are clearly laid out for students. When students know what is expected ahead of time, they are more likely to put in more effort because they do not have to guess as to what makes their work proficient. I have also discovered that when students self-monitor and are given timely feedback, they are more likely to correct their mistakes or redo assignments in order to earn a higher score. One of my favorite teaching moments occurred while students were working on their Bloom Ball projects during our unit on story elements. Students needed to complete 12 tasks, 7 of which received an SRG score. Students submitted individual tasks as they were completed. The tasks were scored, using a preset rubric. Students tracked their own scores and were able to use the rubric and written feedback in order to correct and resubmit assignments. I found that the majority of students were willing to correct mistakes or redo work, because they had a clear understanding of what was expected. Students not only monitored their own work, but I would regularly overhear students discussing what was expected and they soon begin to self-assess before assignments were turned in.
District test scores, such as Benchmark Tests, and the Scholastic Reading Inventory, are used to monitor student growth. Prior to students taking the winter SRI, I met with each student and we talked about their fall scores. I we discussed where each student was at individually and talked about where they would like to be on their winter test. After taking the test a second time, I had students reflect on their progress.
As a member of Hoyt's Building Leadership Team, I participated in creating the building's RIT/MTSS plan. As a member, I have gained an understanding and an appreciation for our school's academic and social climate growth. In creating the MTSS I have attended professional development that has allowed me to gain a deeper understand of the Tiered instruction approach and therefore have a deeper understanding of my responsibilities as a teacher that reach far beyond the walls of my classroom.
In twelve years of teaching, Writing to Learn strategies, and John Collins writing techniques have had the most impact on the way I teach. Students write everyday in my classroom in order to demonstrate their understandings, apply what they've learned to new situations, and to reflect on their learning. By reflecting on the writing assignments I have my students complete, I can make changes on how I teach in the future.
In an effort to fulfill professional responsibilities, I was assigned to lead a group as part of our building-wide technology professional development. Having experience using blogger in my classroom for several years, I provided instruction to my colleges on how to set up a student blog to use in the classroom. Throughout the year, I lead several group sessions and assisted individual teachers with setting up a blog to use in their classrooms.
It is important that my classroom expectations are clear for my students. A list of expectations is posted at the front of the room, to serve as a reminder to my students, and myself, of what is expected each and every day. Students are regularly given verbal reminders of the expectations, in order to maintain a safe and orderly environment.
If a student needs more than a verbal reminder of expectations, we have a "regroup" section located at the side of the room. This gives students a chance to remove themselves from the classroom setting and reflect on their behavior and the choices they are making. In the "Regroup" section, students write a reflection over the choice they have just made. These reflections follow our school-weide John Collins writing program. Students write a Type 3 reflection that explains how their actions do not adhere to Hoyt's SOAR (safety, order, achievement, and respect) behavior expectations.