For this writing PDU, I feel like I’ve been a bit all over the place in terms of my goals for this – but hey, that is part of the first year of teaching…right? J A few weeks ago, I had a coaching session with Michelle – she came in to see a lesson, and then provided feedback to me regarding the lesson. I think one of the biggest things I have learned through this is something we talked about in the debrief.
To provide some background information, the lesson focused on a PARCC practice writing assignment. The day prior, they read a passage, answered an essay question, answered multiple-choice questions, etc. For the lesson that Michelle observed, I partnered students together and gave them a well-written piece from a student and a not-so-well written piece. In groups, they had to give both “grows” and “glows”, and determine why the one piece did not provide accurate information. After, we discussed this as a whole group, and then together, we looked at a narrative writing rubric and thoroughly went through it, and translated it into kid language. Together, we scored both of the writing pieces – so that they could clearly see where some of the gaps appeared in the rubric so that they know to then revise to fill in the gaps.
I then gave them a copy of the rubric and sent them back to their seats to self-assess their writing piece. I conferred with students throughout this process, and asked them questions to ensure that they knew where they had to go next, and to help them grow. During this time, some students decided to give themselves grows/glows, confer with partners, edit/revise their work, work around the room, etc. During this time, I noticed that they were getting loud every so often (Michelle later told me that it was about every 7 minutes). Even though I was conferring with students throughout this whole process, I assumed that they were off topic due to the noise level and the task at hand.
Once the students left for specials, she asked how I thought the lesson went, and I expressed my disappointment in the end of the lesson. This brings me to my biggest insight/aha moment during this whole PDU. She said to let’s look around to see their work around the room to see if they were indeed off topic. As we meandered around, we noticed that every single kiddo was on task, albeit in their different and glorious ways. Obviously, I was very happy with this J Although this seems like a very simple thing (and it is!), I sometimes become too narrow focused and need to sometimes take a step back and look at the task from a broader lenses. Are they actually off task or do they just need a break? As adults we surely need breaks – and in our debrief, Val B. pointed out that in PLC, us teachers need many breaks and we all work differently! It is important to remind me that kids are definitely the same way – and they need more breaks! I have tried to do this in more of my teaching – not just writing. I inherently know that noise doesn’t necessarily mean they are off topic, and a strategy I can use going forward is to ask them about the noise. Is it positive, good-working noise? If so, great!
I’m very thankful for my time with this J Sorry the post is so late!