At a team planning meeting this week I walked away feeling inspired. I can't ask for more than that!
The purpose of the meeting was to identify students who need academic monitoring. It could have been a 'create a list' and downward spiral of 'symptoms' type of discussion, instead it was a positive, energetic and uplifting with ideas, possibilities and solutions for all our students. I am lucky to work with an inspiring team of teachers who hold students at the front of their thinking, we have moved from certain students to all students. I am excited!
We are looking at our student data to identify growth and development. What progress have they made from the data we collect? We know our students, we work with them all day every day, some have identified areas of concern but they all have educational needs. This is a start but we need and want more!
It is not ok to say 'Oh X is fine, or Y is doing well' we need to dig deeper. We don't want to catch ourselves saying 'Fine, OK, Doing Well, Good' we want to KNOW how they are progressing, really KNOW. What evidence do we have that shows they are really progressing at the rate we expect? What are we doing with the data we have? Do we have the right Data? How can we use data to build programs and learning opportunities that will support each student to make progress and continue to learn, regardless of their 'level'.
The evidence we need about our students is right in front of us, but the difficulty is often in slowing down and looking. I am not just talking about data being numbers from tests, far from it. What do we know about each student. What are their challenges? What worries them? What are they hoping will happen this year? What do they want to tell you?
We are all busy, no one has enough time, teachers all say they are time poor! We could stay on that merry-go-around as long as we liked and nothing would change. We have decided to 'dig deeper' look for ways to connect, take 2 minutes with an 'extra' student, ask questions, look for opportunities to document more and reflect on what we know so we can plan for ways to really support, inspire and encourage each of our students as if they were our only student!
It won't be easy, but that doesn't mean we won't try.
Vacation time is always approached in different ways; there is the mad scramble to get everything 'checked off' the list, jobs done, bags packed, papers completed, 'stuff' sorted, taking time to check in that all members of the vacation team (my family) are ready and that everyone knows the time the taxi is booked to take us to the airport, no chance of misunderstandings - yes mild chaos!
The lead up to holidays is always busy and filled with thoughts of 'why are we traveling'. I know I should be excited but I am a last minute organiser when it comes to travel. I like it like that, not being booked in advance means I have the option to change my mind at the last minute - and I do (change my mind)!
The fact that I am going on holidays really only hits me in the departure lounge of said airport - I sit back with a smile, I have papers, money and my family we are ready to take on this adventure.
I love traveling with my family, creating stories and adventure, never really knowing what the trip will hold, but knowing one thing for sure the trip will be a chance to connect as a family sharing experiences and opportunities.
This holiday we met with friends who share 3 moments from their day as a reflection and appreciation during their dinner in the evenings. Our Mr.14 thought this was a great idea and has carried it on though our trip (even though we do at night time talk about something in our day we are grateful for ... this, he said was different.) I am amazed how quickly the appreciated moments went from the 'big or cool' events in the day, to moments that made us smile or laugh or grateful in a day.
This has got me thinking . . .
How can I use this idea as a powerful reflection with my students in class each day?
Can I use 5 minutes at the end of the day for them to record 3 or 2 or even 1 moment on their day that they enjoyed, or were grateful for?
Would it help? How could it benefit them?
Well if in three weeks it can make a difference to my family I am guessing it can make a difference to my other family in school as well. As we start back to school tomorrow I will be modelling this strategy as a way to take 5 minutes to reflect and be grateful for small things.
Teaching in an IBPYP school; interests: student agency, technology integration, growth mindset & the continuous cycle of improvement that is the world of education, learning and being!