Creating a Student Response Pattern

MCAS scores are in. As a teacher, I meet the scores with mixed emotions.  I know the scores only reflect one dimension of a child's overall profile and performance, but nevertheless I want all my students to score well demonstrating wonderful growth scores.  Every teacher wants the best for each student.

I make it a goal to teach the standards with as much depth and breadth as time allows, and I try to teach those standards within meaningful contexts, activities and project based learning.  I'm always looking for new and better ways to teach curriculum concepts and skills to best promote students' success.

My grade level team meets twice a week to collaborate and plan for an optimal grade level program.  As a school, we have numerous opportunities for professional development and tech integration.  It's an optimal environment for learning and teaching.

But even in the best of situations, educators are challenged by the limitless possibilities and potential education presents.  You could work all day long and still have more work to do.  Parenting is similar.

Now that the year's routines have been set, it's time to set a reasonable weekly pattern of student response and teaching.  Here's a menu I'll try to follow.

ePortfolio Edits:  I'll make an effort to personally meet with each child once every two weeks to review ePortfolios with care.  Together each student and I will discuss exemplar points as well as strategies and techniques for further writing growth.  On the off week, I'll evaluate and comment on students' ePortfolios online.  ePortfolios include students' weekly reading letters, stories, project work and free writes.

Blog Review:  We'll review the content blogs together, noting optimal comments and examples to further our shared learning of the blog topic/questions.  I'll continue to comment on the NING blog on a regular basis.

Math Problem Solving: We'll problem solve in workshop mode.  We'll start with a focus lesson, then students will break out for independent, partner and small group work.  As students complete their work or face questions, they'll have the chance to check in for edits and help.  In the end, we'll share our experiences, strategies and learning.

Math Skill Work:  Often, we'll use quick-feedback online skill practice sites as the immediate feedback aids in skill acquisition.  Other times, we'll review and check the work together.

Project Based Learning: Similar to math workshop, students will have the chance to check in as needed for edits, assistance and review during project workshops.

Unit Assessments:  We're fortunate not to have grades, so I have the freedom to respond to assessments with notes highlighting information mastered and areas that still need attention.

Student Share and Stories:  Elementary school students look forward to sharing.  Students will have the chance to share their work and stories during our daily tech share and our weekly NING share.  This builds oral language skills too.

Hands-On Learning: Crafts and hands-on activities are embedded into our social studies and science units--students look forward to these activities.

Reading with Students:  During reading workshop, I'll meet with individual students on a regular basis.  As time goes on, I'll begin meeting with small book groups too.  I'll also keep up on students' reading through their weekly reading letter, and target instruction with individuals and small groups as part of our RTI efforts.

Lexia: Lexia offers students online reading skill practice.  When needed, Lexia online reports can be accessed for data to better inform instruction.

Computation Ladders: Students "climb the computation ladder" by practicing and learning basic fourth grade math skills, then testing out of those skills with online tests.  Once every two weeks, students will take the tests in class and I'll look over their work.  Students are also encouraged to practice and take tests on their own at home. They bring in the results for me to see.

It's essential to respond to students' learning efforts and endeavors on a regular basis.  I'll keep an online data file to track student conferences and work reviews. Future lessons and efforts will be based on the results of the collected data.  The chart will also ensure that everyone gets their fair share of teacher response and coaching.

A plan for student response transforms limitless potential into a responsive pattern focused on student engagement and success.

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