Friday Focus

Bolivar High School

Making learning visible

All around BHS there are great things happening. I get to enjoy seeing more of the great stuff than many because of my flexibility to be in classrooms and move around the building. Of course, it's often just a glance, and I'm off to the next thing.

In the literacy plan, there is language about making learning more visible, especially learning that involves literacy. When we make learning visible it builds our culture. It shows what is valuable and tells our story.

For many of our students, their perception of school is distorted from what we would like it to be. They may see it as a passive experience, something to endure, and just try to get through. The more we can seek to engage the better. The average lesson will be forgotten, but when we create unique experiences, students will remember those much longer, maybe forever.

But once we have engagement, it's important to share that and make it part of our school's story. I think there are many ways we can use our best moments to create more best moments. As you take on the Faculty Challenge in your teams, look for opportunities to post to Twitter (#BHSmatters) a learning experience that tells your classroom story. Of course, there are many other ways to make learning visible, but social media is powerful.

We often lament the hyper-focus on standardized testing and how this data is used to tell our story, almost as if all the other amazing stories are inferior to the 'data story,' If you're not sharing the experiences from your classroom, what's to stop people from listening to the other story-tellers commenting on education?

What are other ways you can make learning visible?
Who should be our audience?
How can we better engage the people who truly matter to BHS?

Coming soon...

We are going to begin scheduling appointments to complete the summative evaluation process and get an update on your personal learning plan. We will continue to work on learning plans in the coming weeks and wrap them up in March/April.

Summative evaluations will be complete by the end of February in time for us to meet the deadline for central office. We will facilitate an activity to share our learning plans in a more formal way. I guess it's a way to make the learning plans visible and tell your story.

Next Wednesday is a whole faculty meeting. We will have more information about the next steps with the learning plans, discussion of this quarter's essential question, and a mini-literacy workshop.

1:1 Thought for the Day: How do you control students getting distracted by all the websites they love to visit while they are avoiding the work at hand?

This is an important conversation that should be had frequently in the early months of 1:1 within and across departments. The more we discuss this, the clearer it becomes is that the best way for teachers to monitor student activities in their classrooms has not changed due to the arrival of more devices in the hands of students. The key is for staff to be active moving around the classroom and use what one colleague calls “the two legs app.” Students have always been distracted and always will, but we need to talk about classroom best practices that can help us in minimizing these distractions.

From: Patrick Larkin (the same guy who inspired my desk in the commons)
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