Department Reflection

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Last year I wanted to do a task with my department, but I was afraid of what they would think, so I didn’t do it.     I kept running across a screenshot from @tjterryjo’s example. 

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I finally decided, it’s worthwhile, a good brainstorming task and would lend to a part of our teacher planning day before fall break.

It began with teachers brainstorming what they envisioned as the Dream Math Student on sticky notes.

We carouseled around the room to read others’ thoughts.  Some were quite different, but several similar.

I recorded what they shared on chart paper in green.  One idea not shared but I saw it on a sticky was enjoy mathematics. 

We then brainstormed again, what are the actions we can take as teachers to encourage these traits?  What opportunities can we provide?

Again, we carouseled to observe others, then shared and recorded on the chart.

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This snapshot will be emailed to each person.  A colleague is printing color copies for everyone to keep in their room as a reminder.

At our next PLC, we will revisit our chart and dotify with stickers the traits we are seeing in our classrooms and the actions we are taking as teachers.

As a department, we decided to pick a couple of actions we agreed everyone could focus on.  In efforts to help students not to fear failure, we will try specific feedback, purposeful praise.  Acknowledge student process and effort, steps they take in solving problems, rather than the end result, right/wrong answers.

As an attempt to motivate and build confidence, we want to help students set attainable goals.  We use interim benchmarks throughout our courses.  We have recently completed the first one.  It was suggested we prepare graphical reports for ea ch student, share them, explain the end goal, but then allow students to set their own goal for our 2nd round at the end of the semester.  We will meet with each student, helping them decide if their goal is attainable, yet provides a challenge to work for as well.

There will be a shout-out board in our hallway to acknowledge students who 1) reach their goal 2) are progressing toward their goal. 

I have extremely talented colleagues who work hard and want their student’s to experience success.  Yet it can be frustrating when we don’t see progress we would like.  I think this conversation began a cycle of reflection where can can begin trying different strategies and adjust in some of our approaches than may provide better learning experiences for our students, helping them move forward.

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