Reflection and Data

Ideas taken from Duckworth Article;
Learning is explaining! Reading through he article I realized that I do do this in class. I find that when I have students explain, not only their thoughts and ideas but their questions as well there is more engagement with all the students in class. Walking around the class, as I have the students explain their thoughts about an idea before we even begin looking into it blows me away every time! I love how Duckworth uses the observations of the moon and how she had the students write what they saw ,and many also added what they thought of the whole silly moon idea! I am just starting to plan a plant unit for science, and I think I am going to have the students do the same thing, but with a plant in their backyard. It is the perfect time of year for this! This way, I can see what the students already know and where their interests are in learning about plants.

I loved ,loved, loved how Duckworth explains that a teacher is not just a “school teacher” but a teacher is someone who engages learners. I firmly believe in this! As a learner I have always lost interest in a teacher directed lesson, where the teacher talks and I listen and do everything the teacher tells me. Why on earth would I do that to my students? Like Duckworth explains understanding how we learn ourselves reflects me and how I am as a teacher. Learning and understanding my own capacities as an educator will further develop my students’ engagement in their own learning. Engagement does not begin with an attention grabber, but with the students. Knowing and understanding your students’ learning styles, personalities, and backgrounds helps in creating an engaging lesson and most importantly an engaging classroom.

Thoughts on Hobson’s Article;
Our research in the classroom is relevant and real to us. As a teacher we are in it! We need to understand what is going on in the classroom and why? Something I ask myself every moment of the day. What are we doing and why are we doing it? Is it working? Why isn’t it working? I loved how Hobson said that the teacher is a part of the research, we are doing it and we are in it. Thinking about collecting data and research is a little overwhelming for me, so hearing that we are in the research makes me look at it differently. My reflection is a part of the research and it is data. I need to trust my reflections as valid data.
Looking ar reflection as “in action” and as “on action,” helps me better understand how my thoughts are a form of research. I need to remind myself to write or record my reflection in action, as much as I do when I reflect on action. I love the idea of the Double Entry Journal; half the page is th description of my observations and the other side I write what my thoughts and questions are about what I observed. I also liked the idea of reflection split into three; past experinces, present situation and future images. This is a wonderful way to think of what worked, what didn’t work, why, how things can be applied in your present class (we all know that plays a role in lessons) and what we want to see next time and most importantly, what we want to try next time.

Hobson wrote,

” It is the teacher who is at the center of action in the classroom; it is the the teacher who is trying, in real life and real time, to understand what is going on in the classroom and to make a difference.”pg.16.

This clearly connects with Duckworth’s article and it resonates with me in one big way. What we are doing in the classroom needs to mean something to us at a deeper level. When I was trying to think what my inquiry was going to be about, I had a thousand ideas and many outside sources giving me ideas on what to do. BUT, I had one colleague pull me aside and say look, your inquiry must mean something to you. Your passion is what makes your inquiry valid to you. So I had to ask myself what in my learning, my classroom, my growth, my students’ growth is important to me? What drives me to be a better learner and educator?

Looking over Hobson’s ideas on how to put yourself at the center of your inquiry got me thinking about about how I engage students and why I am so passionate about it. I loved the questions he proposed we think about in reflection of ourselves as educators; Who were you best teachers? Your best experiences as a student? Who were my best students and why? What were my best moments as a teacher? What is a good day? Describe myself as a teacher and by far the best one…how would the average students describe me as a teacher? These questions just might help me better understand myself as a teacher and why my inquiry is based on engagement and wondering.


Sharing our Wonderings

Today we decided to try something a little different. We tried to teach another class about wondering! I decided to show the students a short clip of the Seven Wonders of the World, At first we discussed what it means to wonder and why we have found out why we do it.
While watching the 3-4 minute clip, I realized that there was no way I could keep my students quiet! The began to wonder with each other immediately! It was so awesome, then I noticed the other class. They were confused and not aware what was going on. So I stopped the clip every thirty seconds to discuss what wonders we were having at that moment.
Afterwards, we all found a quiet place to wonder about three wonders we have and would love to find out about. Again, my students wanted to discuss it with their peers. I then had the kids write down their wonders, which proved difficult for some. We then formed circle and shared our wonders. We decided to ask if anyone knew the answers to each of our wonders. It was here where I realized a safe environment is key to wonderers! Many of the new students were not sure if their wonders counted as wonders, soon some realized that yes, they were allowed to wonder aloud.
I must point out when we shared I had separated the groups. My twos stayed with the student teachers while I took the grade ones. I was hoping to have my grade ones guide the new grade ones into their wonderings, it did not work out too well with some.
We then put all our wonderers on chart paper and created a poem, with illustrations. It looks great and the students were left wondering all day. With my class their log topic was their wonders. Reading through them today was so much fun! Some even added to the wonders with their own thoughts!
Today we also did a read aloud to a wordless book. Afterwards I told the students they were going to write a wordless book. They were so excited, especially those students with poor written output. The stories were fantastic and again they all couldn’t wait to read their stories to one another and to me. Some are not quite finished, but wow! They were taking so much time and care with their work. The best part of this lesson…when the kids came back from library…guess what books they signed out?? Yes, wordless books and they want to read them to the class.

Engagement of all Learners…Is this Possible?

This week the students truly amazed me! Our focus was on questioning while we read. I have put in a couple of the Little Bird Tales we did this week, but the first Little Bird Tale is my reflection of the week. I am trying to ensure I do not forget how to use the tools and I am thinking this may be a great way to collect my data.



This Tale ended up being one of the featured Tales on the site!

Here are some excerpts from the students' blogs this week?
Their Blog was on why do good readers ask questions;
Please note we are also learning how to comment to each other, so the spacing of words is a little strange! The students are asked to leave their name when they comment on a fellow student's blog.

Alvin wrote;
It helps you understand the book
I like your idea.archie
Good job.adam

He also wrote;
It helps you know what is going to happin next
Justin I agrre Alvin!

adam I agree

Adam wrote;
Asking questions helps us understand the story better. And to learn new words.
logan cool
alvin good job
Nica- That is right!
good job emme a goodjob from.....................

HeeJae wrote;
becose it help you think in your brain.

supr Heejae patrick

Another student wrote;
Asking question's, help's us make conection's and infer,and understand setensis.

good job emma a

Emily wrote;
Asking questions helps us read because if there was one picture and no word's and you asked a lot of questins you could maybe find out what it means.

good job emma a

Luke wrote;
asking questions hleps you find out more about the story

So is the engagement of all learners possible? This week I really do believe it. During our collaboration time this week the teachers are thinking of our new APL goal for next year. I have heard many of the teachers discuss how to get the students engaged in their own work, to me it should be their own learning. how do we get the students excited and interested in how and what they learn?
All the students this week were truly engaged in what we did in class this week. I have a wonderful student teacher right now, and I was able to have a moment to sit back and observe the students as they were working collaborating on their wonderful and insightful conversations. They were all excited! We had a leprechaun visit and leave a mess in our class this week, so with the student teacher the kids created traps. As they were working on them, I decided to create a Little Bird Tale. The kids presented and explained their traps to the class and then I had them do it again into the microphone. We then shared it with our Buddy class while we created leprechaun for the hallway. The students set up their traps at the end of the day and now I have to go and find some little leprechauns to trap! Any ideas where to find a couple?

Too Much to do in Such Little Time

Okay, I am in the midst of writing report cards, researching my inquiry, and going through some “things” at the school level and I am feeling like there is less and less time to do it!

I see that I am constantly thinking of my inquiry and observing the students interacting.  I have been doing a little research into Project Based Learning and see that it is something that I already implement with the students. I need to delve into the exact research some more to get a true understanding of how it works and how I am already using it in the room.

My first PBL try out will be with a research “project” on animals. I will have the students begin their first piece of non-fiction writing. I will plan to use the article “7 Essentials Project-Based Learning” written by John Larmer and John R. Mergendoller.  They have laid out the seven essential ingredients a good project needs; A Need to Know, A Driving Question, Student Voice and Choice, 21st Century Skills, Inquiry and Innovation, Feedback and Revision, and A Publicly Present Product.

My goal is to create this “project” and begin next week, however I still need to finish up my report cards…