Teacher Spotlight: Caitlin Rugaber

Setting High GO Expectations

To see a great example of students discussing and debating Global Outcomes in literature, visit Mrs. Rugaber's 3rd grade classroom. She has found a way to make Global Outcomes part of every day 3rd grade life.

The elementary has adopted a new literacy curriculum this year, and there are different texts that correspond with the standard that students are learning. I walked in just as students were gathering on the carpet and pairing with their "making meaning" partner. Making Meaning is one part of the Collaborative Classroom curriculum that focuses on students collaborating and communicating with each other to understand the text they are reading. The students just finished reading two different functional text; one book was about creating paper airplanes, and the other was about creating origami.

The first question that Mrs. Rugaber presented to her class was, "What is a functional text and how would you describe it to someone?" She gave them a moment to share with their partners. Then she asked for students to share with the group. All hands in the room shot up and students were eager to share and confident that what they discussed with their partner was a good answer.

Mrs. Rugaber called on the first student and he shared. She pointed out how one of the students turned his whole body to face his classmate when he spoke and she explained how that is a really good communication skill, which is one of our 7 Global Outcomes. When she called on the next student to participate, all of the students turned their bodies to face that student, immediately implementing what Mrs. Rugaber had just said.

This was my favorite moment. It is a great example of providing success criteria, having high expectations, and explicitly teaching students what this looks like, and then giving them a chance to show it.

Global Outcome Discussions

After letting students express their ideas, Mrs. Rugaber brought up a picture of the first book about paper airplanes. On the board, she had the title of each GO posted and next to each GO were pictures of the books the class decided together best fits with each GO. She asked students to share with each other what GO this book should pair with and why. Then students began sharing and providing evidence for the GO they were defending. One students shared, "I think perseverance is where we should put this book because many of us really struggled to make the airplane, and a lot of us wanted to stop but didn't." Another student shared, "I think problem solving and critical thinking because it was hard to fix if you messed up and go back and figure out what to do." This went on with several more students presenting arguments to defend a GO they felt the book best fit with. After all students presented their ideas, it was time for a class vote. Students decided that creativity was the best fit for this text and Ms. Rugaber handed the picture to a student to place on the board.
The students went through the same process for the second book about origami. One student shared, "I think it best fits with global awareness and compassion because we didn't really know about Japan before reading this book and now we know a lot more." The majority of his classmates agreed with him when it came to vote for consensus and he put the picture under the GO for Global Awareness and Compassion.
This is common practice in Mrs. Rugaber's classroom for all the content students study. Students discuss how what they are learning will prepare them for the Global Outcomes they need for success after high school.

Thank you Mrs. Rugaber!

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