Reflective Teaching Day #19 – Student Reflection

Day 19:  @TeachThough  30 Day Reflective Teaching Challenge  

Name three powerful ways students can reflect on their learning, then discuss closely the one you use most often.

Student reflection is a key part of learning, maybe one of the most important parts of the process. Ways students can reflect:

1. Student Blogging or learning journals where students reflect on what and how they learned.

2, Learning Portfolios- Showing student growth from start of year to end of year. Year to year

3. Learning dialogues – Class discussions about how and what is learned.

ALL three are very powerful!

I use learning dialogues most in my classroom right now. After learning, we dedicate class time to discuss how we learn the content. What was easy, what was hard, how we connected to the content, how we can use the knowledge moving forward and why it is important to know. This is valuable for students for they see others strengths and struggles. Often the discussions leads to sharing about how the most recently learning process was different or similar to the last. This has helped promote a growth mindset in my classroom. Students realize that they all have different strengths and weaknesses.

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Reflective Teaching Day 18 – Philosophy

Day 18- @TeachThough  30 Day Reflective Teaching Challenge  

Create a metaphor/simile/analogy that describes your teaching philosophy. For example, a “teacher is a ________…”

Similes for teaching are running rampant in book tiles these days. Teach like a pirate, teach like you hair is on fire, teach like a champion. (All great reads)

My philosophy of teaching is like sailing a boat. You never know how the winds will be blowing or which direction will be the best tack. Keeping one eye on the sails and the other on the wind, constantly monitoring both. Making sure you are heading in the right direction to make it to port on time. Keep you boat level in the water moving ahead, make sure you don’t turn into the wind and in up stuck in irons.

Pirates are champion sailors with their hair on fire.

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Reflective Teaching Day 17- Challenge

Day 17- @TeachThough  30 Day Reflective Teaching Challenge 

What do you think is the most challenging issue in education today?

There are countless issues challenging education today. From attracting high quality teachers to evaluating teaching ,public perception of school and poverty one could argue that any one of these issues is the MOST challenging. For me the most challenging is EQUITY!

How can teachers, schools and society create equitable environments where everyone can succeed? How can we fund schools with equity? This is a huge challenge! If equity can be achieved, all students will have equal chances to succeed in life. Right now many students have limited paths to success. From poverty to home environment students often have many strikes against them before they walk into a school. How can we create equity and give each child what they need? This is my daily struggle.

We currently have a lack of equity in schools. Some schools have beautiful campuses with 1:1 technology (Often where students have own devices0 and other schools with aging infrastructure and limited technology tools (mostly lower social economic districts). Many students walk into a poorer district feeling that the world is against them. How can we get them EQUITY? They need to feel that they can see over the fence even if the fence is a mile high!

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Reflective Teacher Day 16 – Teaching Superpower!

Day 16- @TeachThough 30 day reflective teaching challenge 

If you could have one superpower to use in the classroom, what would it be and how would it help?

All highly effective teachers I have observed have super powers. From be ultra organized to managing a class full of energetic youth. This reflective challenge gives me unlimited possibilities from ending poverty and bullying to exposing students to all the wonders of the world! So what would be the ultimate SUPER power for a teacher?

The ability to clone or duplicate self to be available for ALL students all the time. With class sizes on the rise and students arriving in the classroom with broad ranges of abilities and skills it would be nice to take the time to work with each student individually. Imagine meeting every child where they are and helping them grow? It would help with relationships, allowing all those in need to get the specific help they deserve in the classroom in a timely manner. Students would not be able to slide through the cracks.

Imagine one to one teacher to student ratio! OH the places we could go! We would climb every mountain, reaching our goals together!

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Reflective Teaching Day 15- Strenghts

Day 15- @TeachThough 30 day reflective teaching blog challenge 

Name three strengths you have as an educator.

My 3 strengths:

1. Flexibility- You have to be flexible as a teacher. I am willing and able to go with the flow that is middle school. I know how to punt when the lesson plans aren’t flowing or we encounter an unforeseen change in our daily routine.

2. I listen and relate. I feel I do a good job listening and relating with my students. This helps me make the valuable relationships. Students know I care and I hear their thoughts and concerns.

3. Adaption of content: I feel I can adapt the content so my students can relate to it. So often texts make teachers jobs harder. They add in ideas and facts that confuse the students and inhibit learning. I feel I can take the content down to the bare bones and make students see the WHY in the need to learn. Without knowing the WHY students often fail to have the desire to learn ideas.

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Reflective Teacher Challenge Day 14- Feedback

Day 14- @TeachThough 30 day reflective teaching blog challenge 

What is feedback for learning, and how well do you give it to students?

Feedback on learning is giving each individual student specific and timely information about where they are in their learning in relation to the student learning objectives. Feedback is a vital part of the educational process. Teachers give students learning objectives, feedback allows students to know where they are on the path to reaching the their objectives.

How well do I give it to students?

I feel I give a variety of feedback to my students. I do okay here. Of course I could improve the timeliness of my feedback. I strive to give students feedback that they can use in their learning In teaching middle school students, I have to take the time to have individual conversations with students about where they are in reaching learning targets. This takes time. Grades don’t grades aren’t constructive to middle school students. Most students see them as an end point (fixed mindset.) I spend as much time as I possibly can to talk to my students about their learning and help mold a growth mindset. I am always looking for better ways to give students timely feedback. I can always get better with feedback!

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Reflective Teaching Challenge Day 13- Tech

Day 13 –  @TeachThough 30 day reflective teaching blog challenge 

Name the top edtech tools that you use on a consistent basis in the classroom, and rank them in terms of their perceived (by you) effectiveness.

This is a hard challenge for me, as I have already stated Edtech tools are NOT a predominate feature in my classroom. Our district does not have the resources to have tons of tech tools at our hand. I do use a projector and computer daily, sadly they are not in the hands of my students as frequently. Here are the tools I use the most in the order of effectiveness and value to my instruction and student learning.

1. Class Blog: I use this daily. Post my learning target, assignments, and videos. This is the entry point to my instruction. It is designed to keep the students and parents informed of what is happening in my classroom. If a student is absent, everything they missed is explained on the blog. Key resource for my students.

2. Remind: I use remind to help bridge the home to school gap. I send home a Monday message with the weekly vocabulary list, and learning target for the week. Thursday, I send a study guide and quiz reminder. Study guides for test an other reminders are regularly sent. Great tool to use to help connect home to school.

3. YouTube:As I tell my students, YouTube is the single most powerful learning tool around today. I use videos to introduce concepts, provide examples and hook my students. I can find so many wonderful video for anything I need to engage my students. I wonder what I did without access to YouTube just a few year ago (it was blocked). I try to model that if you don’t understand anything you can find a video to explain it.

These are my top 3. I do use more tools just not regularly. I have my students blog using Kidsblog, but not as often as I would like. I use Quizlet to help my students review vocabulary. I love the PhET interactive simulations. It would be nice if I could use them regularly. Access for my students is a huge issue. We are trying some BYOD this year so it might improve.

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