Monthly Archives: June 2019

Experience as a Learner Survey #MTBoS #eduread


My summer reading has started with these two books

both highlighting the importance of an environment that supports risk-taking / academic safety.  Though a bit different discussion – both seem to say how important it is that we create a place – in our actions/words/approach that lets students feel they have access to the learning and eventually willing to engage and take academic risks.  We not only need to build that rapport and trust and safety but it is necessary to protect it once its been developed.

So many great ideas shared by each author – but one last night in our chat #eduread

When reading, this passage really stuck out to me.  Yes teachers care – but the type of caring they exhibit is different and sometimes wrongly interpreted as not caring.  I have been guilty.  Sadly.

But this sentiment shared by @druinok reminded me of a survey I have been giving my students since at least 2014.  It was shared by Grant Wiggins prior to his passing.  I adjusted it to fit my needs.  If you’ve never read any of his posts – take some time and visit – his blog is still up.  I think it was the post Student Engagement and Feedback that eventually lead me to the “Experience as a Learner Survey.”  

Students fill this out completely anonymous.  I do not read the responses until several weeks after they have submitted.  I still have not looked at this past semesters, but plan to in the next week or so.  It gives me some time away from them, but allows me time to reflect on their results and make some adjustments / set some goals for the upcoming year.  I believe it is a fair representation of their view of me and our classroom and I am able to see myself, somewhat, through their eyes.

I have another teacher/course evaluation students fill out that is very specific to our course/learning structures.  With the two combined, I feel I have a good snapshot of our classroom experiences.

What are some resources you use to weigh your perception vs. your students’ perception of you?

Summer Reading 2019 Book 1 #hackingQs


Hacking Questions:  11 Answers That Create a Culture of Inquiry in Your Classroom by Connie Hamilton


What a great read!  So many thoughtful, practical tips that can impact my classroom tomorrow – except, its summer break, so I suppose impact my classroom next fall!

I always enjoy a lighter read to begin my summer learning and a chat with colleagues and friends to reflect on what we’ve read is always a good thing.  You can search up #eduread over that past few weeks for mine and @druinok’s take on this book.

One thing I loved about this book was the quotes to begin each hack.  I am thinking I will make mini posters, highlighting the word/focus: Engage, Think, Reflect, Listen, etc.  @druinok even stated at one point – the quotes alone could lead to some great PLC conversations.

My biggest take-a-way from the entire book is INTENTIONALITY.  There are such good suggestions, but preparation and being intentional with implementation of those ideas is the foundation of creating this culture.  Many of her strategies are simple moves on things a veteran teacher may already do – but why/how it impacts learning is very enlightening to me.  I walk away after each hack, feeling like I can do this.  I can make that work in our classroom.  There was really nothing in the book that overwhelmed me.  I never once felt I had to add to what I was already doing – but simply to adjust / make what I do better with her take on things.

A jot-down for each hack that I made…

  • student feedback with new protocols, what worked, and how could we refine?
  • IDK becomes a rise to action, not an end result.
  • a punctuated lesson models responsibility, time management and goal setting – the student has a plan.
  • teachers and students playing PINK PONG with questions – this gives a false sense of discussion.
  • what impact will my questions have on triggering their thought?
  • content questions alone are not enough – metacognitive…
  • teachers include themselves in student learning – GET OUT of the way!
  • answers are not transferable, logical thinking and reasoning are transferable.
  • most difficult to master (for me) passing the baton back to them – accountability – who’s doing the thinking? “might”
  • Very specific Questions trigger responses that expire.  we cannot without ownership of learning by asking all of the questions.
  • Come to school to enjoy a day with your students.

These are just thoughts from the reading that made me pause or convicted me somehow to make improvements.  There are numerous structures offered within each hack.  I would like to add a few more posts and share my thoughts on how I see things going in my classroom.  The author does a beautiful job of helping us see how to walk in tomorrow and make a small adjustment;  she shares snapshots from real classrooms, offers ways to think about the pushbacks we may encounter and how to overcome them.

I am very appreciative of her sharing of ready to use resources on her website as well.

This book is great for any teacher at any grade level with any level of experience – young and veteran alike.  Get it. Read it. Talk about it.  Reflect on it.

Let me know how your changes impacted your students’ learning!

Summer Reading 2019 #mtbos #literacy #alm


We’ve been out of school for a couple of weeks, but my calendar has been full. Finally a few days to enjoy downtime, sit outback and read.

Just before school ended, I finished reading Where the Crawdads Sing, very much enjoyed. Currently I am reading / listening to Dolphin Island, In Good Faith, All the Light We Cannot See. What in the world does a struggling reader think she is doing with 3 different titles going at once?!? One is print, another on Kindle and the last is in Audible.

As soon as I finish these, I have If You Find Me on my list – two of my friends have both been captivated by this story.

My summers usually help me fill up on professional reading. I am finishing up an informal chat with @druinok on Hacking Questions, by Connie Hamilton. Quick read filled with sensible suggestions and doable strategies. So much of it has me reflecting on my own practice and what small changes I can make to have a bigger impact.

If you are looking for something not over the top, I believe this one is a great place to start. Her structure of chapters offers ideas you can implement tomorrow, ways to overcome pushback. It really pushes me to consider how I can be more intentional in my planning for sure.

This stack is my summer goal:

This box is mostly for a classroom library I was able to receive through a literacy grant. Excited about these as well!

Do, what’s on your summer reading list?