Sunday, December 08, 2013

2 Stars & a Wish: Week 14

     This past week represented my shortest teaching week this year as I was away both Tuesday and Wednesday at a math conference. While I enjoyed the PD opportunity, and learnt a lot of effective strategies, it is a lot of work to be away from your classroom for so long. I came back to what felt like chaos since my room was no longer organized to my expectations (I may be a tad OCD) and not all of my students behaved the way they do while I am present. I had several students deviate from routines and fail to hand-in assignments to the substitute. With that in mind, however, two things that I think went well this week are:

1 ) Students Applying Their New Skills Independently
- Over the past few weeks we have been discussing drawing
  techniques in Grade 8 Art. We've explored different
  shading techniques, light sources, and 3D images through
  group and individual assignments.
- Late this week students began their independent assignments
  where they design their own assignment for the unit. I was
  pleasantly surprised to see my students seamlessly incorporating
  all of these strategies into their project choices without any
  reminders! It was good to know that our lessons have stuck
  with them and that they are ensuring to incorporate their
  new skills as they progress.

2 ) Student-Lead Discussion on Study Strategies
- My Grade 7 Science class is writing a unit test on Monday.
  To prepare them, I scheduled review/study classes on both
  Thursday and Friday. Thursday was more of a large-group
  review with discussion on the test format. On Friday I
  announced that it would be a study period so they needed
  to find a study strategy that would work for them.
- What followed was a great student-lead discussion on
  different study techniques such as:
     - re-reading notes
     - re-writing important information
     - creating flashcards
     - asking questions with a peer
     - creating your own study questions
     - creating acronyms or jingles to assist in memory
- I was really happy to see how aware they were of these
  different strategies! Furthermore, when I walked around
  the room, students were able to tell me WHY that strategy
  worked for them. Yay for metacognition!

     One thing I want to work on this week, however, is planning effective instructional time with my Grade 10 math class. I currently have students at approximately three different stages in this class. One group has completed everything I have assigned on time, one group is one assignment behind and one group is several assignments behind (despite clear due dates). This has resulted in instructional "lectures" getting really confusing because not all students are ready for that portion and they are getting confused and frustrated. I would really like to have as many students as possible at the same place before we go into the Christmas break.

Week 13 Update:

     Last week I shared that I wanted to work on creating effective substitute plans as I was away for two days this week. I received some good feedback from my sub that she really liked my substitute teacher binder and how organized my resources were! Since she is not in our school all the time I don't really have any more feedback than this but I am pleased that she found the resources I left helpful and clear.

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