I demonstrated awareness of and concern for the people in my classroom. I focused on learners as full human beings, this was evident from the first day when I gave out a survey to the students, which I have since religiously studied and learnt a lot about each of my student. I did this mostly by making note-cards with key information about each student and putting them in a box, which I look over routinely. I asked students to share information about themselves and make connections to their life on the blogs. Between the surveys, blog entries and personal conversations with students I feel I have gotten a good idea of student’s lives outside of school. I knew who was obsessed with world of warcraft, know what books the quiet kids like to read (on Wednesdays before first period in our classroom) and which sports students play.
I frequently used the school wide rubrics to assess students work, including language use. I also take notes during in class discussions on students ideas, behavior and language use. I’ve noticed that many students, particularly, in my college prep class are not well prepared organizationally, particularly in regards to taking notes. Therefore I introduced graphic organizers for class note taking and reading comprehension activities outside of class. I collected, corrected and recorded most student work inside and outside of class on igradebook, which was very effective for me since it allows students to immediately see their grades and can track their on progress on turning in homework or other assignments they didn’t do on time. I improved my questioning ability and my ability to really listen to students and help push them to a clearer understanding of their own ideas. I think I have made good progress in this area, particularly through conducting Socratic seminars in class and mini-seminars in the problem solving exercises, and then when I focused the second part of my student teaching time on using questioning and discussion in the classroom.
I checked-in with students about inferences and assumptions they are making in many ways. I did this through classroom discussion, formal or informal, were I could recognize errors in students knowledge, comprehension or logical conclusions. I did this through reading blog entries and other homework assignments such as writing assignments or guided reading questions. I additionally did this through on-demand writing/thinking assignments in class. I could be more consistent about using short on-demand writing in class more often for both being able to check-in with their thought process through reviewing their work after class and to help the students think about, comprehend and connect to the material learnt. While I have done this many times, building in comprehension checks even more frequently into classroom practice will be a goal of mine for my early days of teaching.