Get a Heads Up: Gathering Student Feedback to Improve the Design of a Learning Experience

Get a Heads Up: Gathering Student Feedback to Improve the Design of a Learning Experience

Feedback is a critical component of the teaching and learning process. Teachers are not in short supply of feedback tools to assess student learning. However, there is another purpose for feedback that is underused.  How often is feedback used to improve the design of  a lesson, strategy or structure? In other words, students get an opportunity to evaluate the learning experience not only in terms of what they learned but how they learned, giving a teacher a heads up about what is and isn’t working.   Gathering feedback from learners for…

Nurturing Relationships: How Will You Embody Respect?

Nurturing Relationships: How Will You Embody Respect?

What does respect look and sound like in a classroom? It is easy to define or capture disrespect, but how can we highlight those examples of respect so that they become more prominent? It begins with acknowledging that students need to feel and believe that they are valued in the classroom for who they are and that their unique identities and perspectives are appreciated.  In like manner, understanding and accepting that teachers nurture relationships and build respectful communities in different and unique ways is important. Last week, I walked in a fifth grade classroom where students were reflecting on…

Walk in the Light Wednesday: Dance! Dance! Dance!

Walk in the Light Wednesday: Dance! Dance! Dance!

There are days when I have to remind myself, “Self, don’t be the wallflower at the dance.” Wallflowers watch from a distance as everyone else is dancing, singing and being free. They want to be on that dance floor so badly, but can’t bring themselves to do it.  They spend the majority of the time  thinking about what everyone else is thinking and doing. Each time they hear the beat of a song they love, their heart wants to be more and more on that dance floor, but they stay tied…

We Were Them…Then: A Reflection

We Were Them…Then: A Reflection

My 6- year- old son, Christopher, was just bouncing around the house one day. This particular day was rough, and I was emotionally, mentally and spiritually drained. To make matters worse, Christopher had a marker in his room and it bled through his bed sheets. Frustrated and at my wit’s end, I looked at him and said, “WHY DO YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO MAKE A MESS!” He looked at me with an equal level of frustration and said, “I’M 6, HOW CAN I NOT MAKE A MESS!” That response stopped me in my tracks. I remembered not too long before that day working on a project at my office and getting hot glue all over a table. So, I took a deep breath, picked Christopher up, and he cried in my arms. Now, I am a sucker for this little boy, but I also realized at that moment that we were both just drained.

Student Voice: The Journey Begins on Day 1

Student Voice: The Journey Begins on Day 1

When I was a classroom teacher, I would start getting a little anxious around  mid-August as I anticipated the upcoming school year. Mostly, I  was excited for the opportunity to reinvent myself. I realized today that I pretty much always started the first day of school the same. I spent a big chunk of the day involved in the following activities: Finding adequate space for the abundance of hand sanitizer, tissue boxes and storage bags Helping students organize binders and label already color-coded folders Taping name tags on desks once…

Creating Conditions That Encourage Student Voice

Creating Conditions That Encourage Student Voice

I took my nine year old daughter, Erica Lynn, shopping for school clothes this weekend (ay yi yi).  I heard about the social and emotional changes that begin to occur during this age, but I can’t say I was totally prepared for them. During our all day experience (and I mean all day), there was laughter, tears, compromise, frustration, and at the end of the day there was joy. Erica put her nose up at about 80% of the outfits I had in mind for her, but I realized something…

Big Fish: Ensuring Continuous Growth for all Students

Big Fish: Ensuring Continuous Growth for all Students

One of my favorite movies ever is Big Fish. For me, it was one of those movies that I talked about for hours after I watched it because it was open to different interpretations. My intention is not to provide you with a movie review, but you should check it out.  The movie really zeroes in on this successful, larger than life type of character. We all know someone like that. It doesn’t take long to spot a big fish.  They’re the one with the natural charm. Classroom Connection Who’s…