Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Reflecting on my learning goals

Today I'm going to ask some of my students to, as their first task of the second semester, reflect on their learnings and goals from first semester.  I figured today, my only day without grading of the semester, might present a good opportunity for me to do the same.  Heck, maybe some of my students will even read it and help me stay on track. :)

Here's what I came up with:

1. Find audiences and experts beyond our classroom walls. I contacted several people and successfully connected with one enthusiastic participant named Maggi Smith-Dalton at the Salem Historical Society; I was ignored by the other handful.  This semester, I hope to connect with someone in Ireland as my English Literature class begins with Joyce's Dubliners.
2. Choose one class to try scribe posting. Yikes.  I totally blew it with this one.  The only days my Honor class has scribe posts are those when one of my lovely students inquired if she could post because she liked always knowing where her notes were; thanks Kylie! :)  I need to work harder on this.
3. Focus on building classroom culture to create a better learning and working environment. I feel like I did a much better job with this than I usually do, though my most successful efforts transpired in English 9 and I struggled more with this in my other 2 classes where I consistently run short of class time.  I began by asking students to write 3 questions they wanted to know about each other on sticky notes and posted these, then each day we had group or partner work, they would begin by talking about 1 or 2 questions.  I will continue to do this and be sure to ask my students at the semester's end how it made them feel about the classroom and doing group work.
4. Share my reading life. I have done many more book talks with my students this semester and have shared my Goodreads account with at least 1 class. I think this goal is going fairly well.
5. Read out loud more in class rather than assigning so much reading homework.  I did better with this than I have in the past but still not as well as I would like to.  I'm an overzealous planner and need to realize that I never has as much time as I think.

6. Blog once a week. I did better with this than in years past, but still need to work on doing better. 
7. Differentiate based on readiness, interest, and learning profile.  I did well with the "interest" part, but need to consider how to better my focus on the other 2, maybe even reviewing my notes from last summer as my memory of this has since faded.

8. Engage in metacognition and help my students do the same.  My honors class reflected often as did I, but I need to help my other classes do this more.  Particularly, I feel this will benefit my ninth graders, so I feel our start today will be a good one.
9. Explore other ways of giving feedback.  This is the only one I feel I have basically neglected entirely.  Oops.

I'm also adding a couple based on the inspiration of a couple collegues this morning and my own reflections from last semester...
1.  Be a better cheerleader.

2.  Don't forget when I'm good at, particularly my Understanding by Design unit structure that I accidentally moved away from. 

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