Sunday, November 4, 2012

Two encouraging bits of feedback

On Thursday I had to leave early for an appointment and had one of my teacher friends cover my 5th period class.  She teaches English and I wasn't really expecting much, although my kids are generally pretty good in that class.  I saw her on Friday and asked how it went.  And basically, here's what she said:

"Crystal, what you are doing with your students is amazing.  I mean, I was walking around monitoring, but they were on task, working, having high-level mathematical conversations, helping each other, questioning each other's work, and focused on their work without their 'real' teacher there."
  • Students taking responsibility for their learning
  • Focus of class time on the students and their needs
  • Focus of class time on higher-order thinking skills instead of rote memorization

Isn't that my definition of the flipped class?

And I wasn't even there to guide it, structure it, monitor it, and make sure it happens.


Last week I had my formal observation by my administrator.  Since I only get observed once every two years, nobody has formally seen a whole class period of my "flipped class", just bits and pieces in walk throughs.  I was nervous because he wanted to see my freshmen class and I still think they are a little crazy.

When class was over, I chatted with him real quick before my next class started coming in, and simply asked, "What did you think?"

His response?

"That was amazing."

I chatted with him a few days later for our follow-up and the main things that he noticed were that I had fourteen year olds on task, self-directing their own work, and making decisions about what they needed to do... and that doesn't happen with normal "fourteen year old classrooms".   He was impressed that although I was walking around the whole period, did a small group re-teaching, and some other stuff, it didn't seem like the students needed that constant monitoring.  He noticed that I got to interact with every student and all students had the opportunity to ask questions of each other (student talk) and of me when needed.

My perspective?  I still think my freshmen classes are crazy.  Maybe it's because compared to my Math Analysis Honors classes, they are.  I still feel like they need constant monitoring and I still feel like they waste  A LOT of time in class and have VERY POOR time management skills.  I honestly don't know if that is something that can be taught or if it just something to be emphasized and the students have to figure it out and value it on their own.

Only time will tell...

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