Saturday, February 21, 2009

Online Assignment # 1 Rebecca Bland

I have throughly enjoyed reading Life Cycle of the Career Teacher. It has given me the oppertunity to reflect on my development as a teacher. Throughout my four years of teaching I was unaware of the stages I was traveling through however in reading about the stages and reflecting on them, it is clear that I spent time in each one. To date, I am in the professional stage. I realized that I was in the professional stage after reading, "the benchmark of the professional teacher is a shift from personal needs to the needs of students." (page 63) My instruction is driven by where students are intellectually and by what learning needs they have. That is, I restructure the curriculum and lessons to meet the students where they are. In some cases that means teaching one lesson over several days and in others it means providing background knowledge so students can understand the why's of the lesson. My goal as a teacher went from teaching the curriculum as a script to altering the currculum to meet the students learning needs.

My three professional growth goals are assessment, family involvement and technology - all within the focus area of math. Steffy points out that, "Professional teachers recongize the importance of refective practice and find ways to work it into their daily rountines." (page 67). We as teachers learn vast amounts from taking time to reflect. I think students can learn also from taking time to reflect on their own work.

Part of my assessment goal is letting students think about and discuss what they have learned and how they have learned it. One way this will be accomplished is before a chapter is taught students will be given a survery to rate how well they understand specific topics. Then they will create a chapter goal. This same survey will be given at the beginning of the chapter test. Students will then compare the two surveys thus being able to see the learning that has taken place and if they met their chapter goal. Regardless of whether their chapter goal was met, students will take time to reflect on what they learned or did not learn. To support technology growth students will also track their chapter learning on bargraphs created on the computer. In addition to recieving surveys, students will also take chapter pre and post tests. These scores will be ploted on a bargraph. Students and families will then be able to clearly see the learning that has taken place throughout a math chapter. To increase family involvement, this process will be shared with students' families. Students will have a math profolio that will contain their surveys, chapter goals and pre/post test bargraphs. Students will share their profolio with their families during each math chapter and during conferences. Discussion questions will be provided to encourage families to discuss the learning that is taking place. Through this process, reflection is encouraged on not only the student but the families as well.

My hope for students, through my professional growth goals and teaching and learning plans, is that students become refective in their learning. Reflection is the key to understanding for meaning, it also helps us take pride and ownership of our new knowledge. As I stated earlier, being a professional teacher means meeting the needs of the students and not the teachers needs. I think student reflection will help me meet students' needs. Students will be better abled to communicate what they have learned and what they do not comprehend. Student reflection will help students internalize their learning but it will also help me understand what learning needs I need to meet.


Kathy Loftus said...

Hey Rebeecca,

Great goals. I think your ideas on getting information to the families is very good. I know that the more you can communicate with the families there is less confusion and more of a team work approach by the families and the students. This will enhance the learning for the student and keep the parent more involved in their child's learning. Most parents seem to rely on the teacher for all of the learning and responsibility of their child, when they are a must needed aspect of these areas.

Having the student share their portfolio with their parents during conference time is by far the best idea. Having the student at the conference and involved in the conference is crucial. This will make the student have to responsible for all of his/her work or lack of. In my own experience of conferences, I have had them with the parent and students together. This style of communication has been the best, as the child sometimes has not been totally clear with their parents and it usually comes out during the conference times. Good luck.

Juli Rangel said...

Hi Rebecca,

We have the common goal of assessment, and I really like some of your ideas below. I have used pretests in the past, but they were primarily used to guide my instruction. Having the children plot their pre and post test scores on a bar graph to demonstrate growth personally and to the parents is easy and worthwhile! My focus area is reading, and your idea got me thinking about other ways my students can plot their growth. For example, they can keep a line graph of their growing 'words per minute' after completing Individual Reading Assessments with me as well as plotting the number of high frequency words they continue to master each month. Also, when working on math fact fluency we can plot our timed test scores every few weeks. Having the children bring home these growth charts periodically will give families much more specific information and guidance on where to help when needed.

Thank you!

Juli Rangel

Darren Hunter said...

Hi Rebecca,

I read your posting and I agree with your remarks regarding student reflection. I believe this is the best way for your students to understand and make the learning their own. Having your students make bar graphs and share with their families will be a great way to bridge the classroom and home while including the parents into their child’s learning.

Making the transition from a teacher driven classroom to a student centered classroom is a huge part of my Professional Growth Plan as well. I would really like to borrow your Positive Discipline book by Jane Nelsen, Ed.D would be greatly appreciated. I enjoyed reading your posting and you have chosen some really strong goals!

Cheers to you as well!


Anonymous said...

Hi Rebecca,

I like your ideas on students being reflective with their learning. I believe you stated in one of your responses that you teach second grade. I think teaching 2nd graders to be reflective in what they learn would be beneficial for them. (It's beneficial for all grade levels!) They can really begin making real-world connections with what they are learning in the classroom. It also will help you so much when you are assessing what they understand from each unit of study.

I found that your ideas for the chapter goals, surveys, and pre/post tests for math were also terrific. The bar graph would be an excellent visual display for students and their parents to really see the learning that is taking place. I might use something similar for my students when we begin our next math unit! Thank you for sharing these wonderful ideas!

With Warm Regards,