Tag Archives: reflection

Newly-Ed #blogitbingo #coherentvision


Old. New. Borrowed. Blue.  Commitment.

The past 2 days have filled my brain to overflowing.  I left GRREC both days feeling… alive.  Overwhelmed.  But alive.  That sounds weird, I know.   But I was not surprised, just saddened, with the a statistic shared from Gallup:

Only 31% of our teachers are fully engaged in our schools.

The people who are supposed to be engaging young minds are not engaged themselves.  And I was one of them.

I’m not sure what happened, how I ended up in that place, when it happened.  I”m not even sure I knew I felt that way until yesterday.  My realization began with this question posed on the opening slide of our 2-day venture.

Are Your Best Days Behind You or Ahead of  You?  Chicago Tribune 2002

I left yesterday with a smile on my face, excited to call home and share some of what I learned with someone!  And when I looked so forward to returning to our session “Leading and Sustaining a Coherent Vision for Mathematics Teaching and Learning” – I knew this was a turning point for me.

Defining our vision.


Is our vision coherent?  What we hope to become…but we must be patient because it may take a while to get there.  These are the non-negotiables, our professional duty.  Are we compelled by our vision?

Do we mean it or not?  Do our actions / ways honor it?  Does our instruction / behaviors advance our vision?  We agree to the vision, do we hold each other accountable?

I was reminded of a reflection our department did several years ago, what we wish to see in a dream math student and what actions can we take to support students to reach our dream student?  Here was our poster from 2014…

dept vision dream math student

Like so many other things, I’m not sure we ever had follow-through with this task.  But I wonder how differently our reflection would look if we repeated it today?

Here are a couple of examples of other groups’ work on Monday… They used the acronym DRIVE and SOAR.  Other groups used CARDS (school mascot) and MATH.  He shared one with Math Teachers lend an EAR:  Equity, Assessment and Reflection.

My big takeaway – that we arrive at consensus, an image / tag that we can quickly share / refer to with parents / students / other stakeholders.  Then we make every decision – based on our shared, defined vision.

Within the discussion, Dr. Kanold defined consensus as – everyone’s voice is heard but the will of the group prevails.  If I’m honest, I cringed.  Am I willing to let go of new things I want to try and do?  What if an idea is outnumbered?  What if I never get to try anything new?  So I presented a question on our parking lot.

His response today – we are constantly in action research in education.  Part of the team can try a new idea.  But our agreed upon vision becomes the authority.  IF we want to try something new, we must ask IF it advances our vision?  Does it exceed our opinion?  Why?  Provide evidence / research.  Try it.  Compare.  If it works better for student learning, everyone agrees to use it.  If not, then stick with old way.   In the end, I (we) have to sacrifice my opinion(s) in an effort to advance student learning.

Over the next several days, I plan to revisit my notes and share a summary to reflect / process / plan considering these big ideas from the past couple of days:

  • Instruction / Planning Whole group vs Small group discourse
  • Check for Understanding vs. Formative Assessment
  • Common Assessments & Tools to evaluate quality
  • Homework
  • 4 Critical Questions of a Collaborative Team Culture
  • My Intentions for the upcoming year…

On a 1-5-10 scale of Stinky, Good, Great – I will give our #coherentvision days a 10!


Do you have a successful PLC?  Please share some things that made it work for your team!



Closure Activities for Learner Reflection


Closure is a big area of needed growth for me.  Since I plan to focus on student reflection of their learning, this list may provide some great structures to implement:

22 Powerful Closure Activities

I’m thinking I need to set a reminder timer on my computer to begin the wrap-up for the day.  Or even set up the musical transition cues… 


I need to find a couple of blogs on how to do this…if you have suggestions… please share!

I wonder if I used the #phonespockets these first couple of weeks, in 1 or 2 classes per day, how that would help my plan/implementation?

To-Do List for Next School Year


During the school year, I just don’t have the time I want to read the amazing ideas teachers are sharing through their blogs.  Sure, I can capture a great idea here and there, but time to really immerse myself, processing ideas and working through how I can tweak for my students, nope. A tweet from @burgess_shelley suggested to read blogs from 3 people you follow each day.  So I started at the top of my list and have begun to work through it by reading 3 a day…my hopes are once each week, allow myself some time for reflection, adding to my to-do list for next school year.


In Whiteboarding Wins and Fails @borschtwithanna, it was the last item noted in her fail list.  I love the idea of snapping pics of group whiteboards and posting on class page, assigning reflection as hw…even offering prompts at the beginning of the year:
I liked ____’s strategy because….
Which strategies are most alike/different…
How can we connect the ideas…
One way to improve our strategy…
A question I have for the _____ group is…

Please offer ideas for other relection prompts!

In the comments of the post, Max/Anna discussed allowing students to classify mistakes and offer suggestions for helpful feedback.  Again, another great idea on my to-do list for next year!

@mathequalslove posted Vocabulary Knowledge Survey, a strategy suggested in the book Styles and Strategies for Teaching High School Mathematics.  I appreciated the simplicity of the task, but when used purposefully, in my opinion, can have a great impact on student learning.  Vocabulary and literacy strategies can offer struggles for math teachers, but this is a very reasonable way to a) assess students’ prior knowledge b) opportunities to discuss connections to their prior knowledge c) allow them to self-assess, seeing where they are in their learning d) allow them to track their own progress throughout the unit of study.  Thanks for sharing this, Sarah!

I Shall Never Play a Review Game Again, @nathankraft1 offers his version of Grudge, a fun game of revenge on classmates for those who correctly answer a question.  What’s so great is how students who are out of the game can still participate by taking on a zombie role.  Sounds fun, engaging and I cannot wait to try it out in the fall!