Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Week 2, 2010 reflection

Had a great couple of weeks thus far: students are working well, keeping out of trouble. My aim this year is to increase the amount of learning that is going on in my classes.

To do this I aim to:
  • increase the amount of direct instruction
  • increase the amount of on-task time
  • reduce the number of behaviour issues
  • promote 'the search for an aha moment' as an enjoyable experience

Thus far things are going swimmingly. I started by randomly seating students, explaining to them that by increasing their circle of friends they were more likely know someone that could help them if they were stuck.

Then I set about increasing the expectation of performance, setting regular homework, giving time limits on completing tasks and setting a pace from the time they entered the room.

I paid special attention to student dynamics in the class, emphasising that performance was required to stay in the class. There is competition to get into this class as a precursor for 2A/2C/3A in upper school, so students need to perform well to remain.

I've talked to students a lot about the need to understand what it takes to learn, digging up my old "huh??!!, Doh!, OH!" model, emphasizing trying and practicing as a pathway to learning and long term retention of information.

I've also worked to modify my often unrealistic expectations and drive kids towards work where they can see real achievement. I've slowed my content delivery pace a lot (students are doing more work with a more limited focus), and it has shown a vast improvement in the general demeanor of this year's class.

I've looked at the class and tried to determine who will form the heart and motor of the room. These kids set the tone, mood and pace of the class. I'm more conscious of when they are behaving abnormally and investigate more quickly. The class picks up on this as an indication that I care about their well being as a whole.

I've set class goals which include rewards for outperforming the 'A' class and ever increasing goals for the class average, daily performance goals tied to the school reward scheme and try and give more incidental verbal acknowledgement of achievement.

I've surveyed the kids to determine their benchmark enjoyment of mathematics and then see how this changes over the year. I've recorded their friendship groups and attempted to identify any isolates.

It's vibrant and fun.

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