- Students retain misconceptions after instruction.
- Students do not build true understanding of content.
- Students are not engaged because they don’t see relevance of content.
I told my students on Friday that I wanted them to make their thinking visible. By making their thinking visible, I can support them in their learning more effectively. I also told the students that by thinking intentionally about their learning, they will resolve some of their confusion on their own. Through reflection I hope they discover how to learn for themselves rather than just complete course material because it is required.
What Worked Well
We had just 42 minutes in class due to our pep-rally schedule, but we dove in anyway. I gave them a brief introduction and set them to work. Here’s the good news:
- All 80 students wrote for me.
- They all wrote the suggested “minimum” amount.
- Some students instinctively used their notes from the week for assistance
- Some wrote a decent reflection on the first try.
I am very hopeful for the success of this classroom experiment. I already see that if you ask students to make their thinking visible and “talk with their pens” they will. After one assignment I know many of my students better and in a more meaningful way than I thought possible.
I am discovering that students are aching for someone to see and hear them as individuals. They need to perceive us as teachers that care about them and their education. Notice how I said that – I know we all care or we wouldn’t teach – but the STUDENTS need to perceive that care and concern.
What Needs Improvement
- The majority of students wrote a summary of activities for the week.
- Most students did not use the structure I provided.
- Most students completed what was required as opposed to attempting what I wanted.
Through my ignorance I missed a couple of golden opportunities. On the way to our pep-rally I had several students ask me if I had read their paper yet. Here’s the thing, they were asking me if I had listened to them yet. Had I taken time yet to hear them? It pained me to admit that I hadn’t read their papers yet. I told them that was my homework.
They were ok with that; no permanent damage was done, but I did see I had missed an opportunity. I have my conference last period – I could have begun reading their papers. Instead I chose to do something less demanding.
I am excited about the coming weeks. Assuming 36 weeks of school and allowing for adjustments, we have time for 30 or so reflections. I think the students will grow and develop as learners.
I am reminded that I have a serious responsibility as their teacher. If they trust me, if they open up to me, if they dare to try and truly learn, I must be equal to the task and be there for them. That scares the crap out of me…
I know now why lecturing is so appealing – it’s easy – there’s no risk. Flipping my classroom, student blogging, teaching a growth mindset – I have followed Alice down the rabbit hole. I can’t wait to see what we discover next week together.