What does my classroom look like?
Well, it depends on the day. I use a variety of authentic instructional methods based solely on DATA and Strategic Planning.
The benefit=My classroom is a place where students are set up for success daily. There is no one-size fits all model, it is truly personalized learning.
The downfall=Time. I am often overwhelmed with my workload. I find myself sacrificing my own life, in order to perform at the level of expectations that I have set for myself.
Things I keep at the core when planning:
Standard-based mastery over grades. (How does a A,B,C,D,F provide effective feedback for my students?)
Ask the question, how can I make sure ALL my students will master this concept?
You can not answer this question without using DATA. All 4 types of data. Develop a strategic mindset by questioning prior to planning.
What kind of students do you have? How do they learn best? (Based on their data) Are there any obstacles to learning that you as the teacher have control over? Can you remove those barriers? Would groups, partners, individual learning, or whole-class be best? Why? If groups, did you strategically plan the groups? Can you involve choice in this unit? Would involving that choice idea increase the learning? What is their prior knowledge on the concept? What is the level of difficulty when learning this concept? Based on reflections, observations, and peer feedback… is data showing that one process (instructional approach) is more efficient on this topic? Why? Is that the same for all students? How can you manage the time of teaching this concept most efficiently? Are there going to be transitions in class? Will they affect the learning? How can my resources make teaching this topic more efficient? How can technology advance the learning? How do you know that? Have you consulted specialists or colleagues? What do the students say, are you gathering their perception data? How can you create an experience to enhance their learning? What do you want your students to remember 40 years from now?
Reflection: Is my thinking correctly based on ACCURATE data? If yes, I am ready to plan. If not, back to analyzing the data and making SMART choices. (Yes, that is a play on SMART goals)
After implementing lesson: Reflect again. Ask for feedback from others. Ask students. Review data. (All 4 types of data)
Did my planning match the outcome? Always plan with your end goal in mind. Was student learning achieved? If so, at what rate? Did all my students master the concept? If not, why? Gather and analyze data again. Now what? Do I offer remediation? How do I do so to make most effective use of my time? What will I do differently next lesson based on data to ensure they will master the concept this time? What am I doing with those who mastered the concept?
Personalized Learning is by far what is needed for students, but how can we as teachers do so with 140 students? I have been finding it unreal to perform to my high standards recently, so I have been reflecting a lot.
My answer right now is Gamification. It can be designed to not just differentiate for students, but to personalize their learning. The Chronicles of History, is designed so that students direct their own learning and assist in the process by analyzing their own data.
Here are a few shots of my classroom. And a sneak pic of my digital format of Chronicles of History, that will launch in room 703 when iPads are deployed. Enjoy and happy planning!