Nelson's Notes

January 15, 2016

The Importance of Self-Reflection

As we dive deep into our MOY student data (Semester Assessments & MAP), I can’t help but think about the emotions we experience. MOY data can often be exciting and stressful. Exciting, because it can reveal the growth our students are making. Stressful, because there is still much to do. These are valid emotions that should lead us to examine our craft as a response to how our students are performing.


Have you ever taken a moment to step back and think, “Why did I just do that?”

Self-reflection is a simple way to dig deeper into your feelings and find out why you were doing something or feeling a certain way.With a profession as challenging as teaching, self-reflection offers teachers an opportunity to think about what works and what doesn’t in their classroom. We teachers can use reflective teaching as a way to analyze and evaluate our own practices so we can focus on what works.


Why is Self-Reflection So Important?

Effective teachers are first to admit that no matter how good a lesson is, our teaching strategies can always be improved—oftentimes it’s why we seek out our colleagues’ opinions. Self-reflection is important because it’s a process that makes you collect, record, and analyze everything that happened in the lesson so you can make improvements in your teaching strategies where necessary.


The Process of Reflection

Connecting self-reflection to effective teaching is a process. The first step is to figure out what you want to reflect upon—are you looking at a particular feature of your teaching or is this reflection in response to a specific problem in your classroom? Whatever the case may be, you should start by collecting information.


Here are a few ways that you can do this:

Self-Reflective Journal

Video Recording

Student Observation

Peer Observation

Questions to Ask Yourself


Whether you’re using a self-reflective journal or trying to get feedback from your students and peers, perhaps the hardest part is actually coming up with the right questions to ask. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:


Lesson Objectives

Was the lesson too easy or too difficult for the students?

Did the students understand what was being taught?

What problems arose?


Materials

Did the materials keep the students engaged in the lesson?

What materials did we use that worked in the lesson?

What materials did we use that didn’t work in the lesson?

Are there any resources or techniques that you’d like to see used instead?


Students

Were students on task?

With what parts of the lesson did the students seem most engaged?

With what parts of the lesson did students seem least engaged with?


Classroom Management

Where my instructions clear?

Was the lesson taught at a reasonable pace?

Did all students participate in the lesson?


Teacher

How effective was the overall lesson?

How can I do it better next time?

Did I meet all of my objectives?

How did I deal with any problems that came up during instruction?

Was I perceptive and sensitive to each of my students’ needs?

How was my overall attitude and delivery throughout class?


Analyze and Implement Effective Techniques

Now that you have collected the information, it’s time to analyze it. The first thing you should look for is any recurring patterns. If you video recorded your lesson, did you find anything that kept happening over and over? Look at your student feedback forms. Is there anything that students kept talking about?


Now that you have figured out what needs to be changed, the easy part is finding a solution. The ultimate goal of self-reflection is to improve the way you teach. Through the findings you gather, you may gain the insight you need to take your instruction to the proverbial next level, or you may find that you’re already doing a stellar job. In either case, self-reflection is a technique that can gauge your standing honestly and you should strive to implement it throughout the year. By the time the next new class rolls around, you’ll have a much better wider toolkit to pull from when it’s time to teach that lesson once again.


Article: Teaching Strategies: The Value of Self-Reflection By: Janelle Cox

Power Hour

Every teacher should be providing small group instruction during Power Hour. All teachers should be working with students – general ed and GT. Please be prepared to start andend Power Hour at your scheduled time (see Master Schedule). If you need any assistance with planning and/or scheduling, please do not hesitate to ask.

Staff Elementary School Pics Needed

We will be creating a bulletin board near the library highlighting pictures of our staff from "back in the day."


If you would like to be included on this bulletin board:


  • Please submit a 4x6 picture on photo paper - no originals, please.
  • Write your name and age/grade level on the back of the picture.
  • Place pictures in my school mailbox.


This is going to be so much fun!

Calendar

(Info also located on Staff Outlook Calendar)


1/18

MLK Holiday - No School


1/19

Digital Resources Carnival at 6 pm


1/20

District Spelling Bee

PTA Birthday Treat Day (Lounge)


1/21

Fun Food Day (Sign-up in the lounge.)


1/22

Dennis Lee Assembly, 8:15 (3-5) & 9:15 am (K-2)


1/25

Explorer/Extended Day Begins

PTA Volunteer Mtg, 8:00 am


1/26

Buffalo Wild Wings Spirit Night


1/27

Class Picture Day


1/28

Supt Breakfast, 7:00-7:45 am

Kinder Program


2/3

Waffle Wednesday, 7:00-8:15 am

SLT Meeting, 3:30 pm


2/4

School Board Appreciation Luncheon, 11:30-1:00 (Library)

Disaster Relief Committee Meeting, 3:30 pm


2/5

GISD Go Red Day - Wear Red

iTeam at Training, 8:00-12:00 (No Power Hour)

PTA Father-Daugher Dance, 6:30 p.m.

Reminders

  • Grades 1-2, Fluency Progress Monitoring, January 11-22
  • Grades K-5, ISIP Reading & Math Assessment Window, January 5-18

UIL Volunteers Needed

Below is the link to our volunteer signup. Each campus is required to bring 10-12 volunteers. It’s going to be a great event, we have 24 schools participating with just over 1800 students competing. Even if you’ve never done this before it’s easy to become involved. Please join us!


February 20, 2016

http://www.signupgenius.com/go/70a0c4dabad2fa57-uilaacademics

Most Valuable Knight

Be sure to give a great big shout out to Shaunise Robinson, 5th grade teacher, and this week’s MVK! Let’s read what you all had to say about Sassy Shaunise...


Mrs. Robinson is like an energizer bunny! She keeps going and going! You can always count on her to brainstorm and share ideas even with colleagues across grade levels. She demonstrates her love for the students in all that she does. I love to see her in the hallways interacting with her students. Shaunise ALWAYS has a HUGE smile on her face and is often the first to say "hello" passing in the hallways. It's evident that she loves her job and her students.

All in Learning

Thank you for embracing All in Learning! If you haven't used the program, please talk to colleague to see just how easy it is!


Please remember to label your assessement/quiz with your Name, Grade Level, Subject & Concept(s).

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