This post is a reflection on my strategies for student learning (Domain 5) for the American School Foundation of Monterrey Track 1 project.
|DOMAIN 5: STUDENT LEARNING
|5a. Interpreting Assessments to Modify Instruction
|I analyse assessment tools and lesson effectiveness to refine lessons and increase student achievement.
|5b. Using Student Self Assessment to Improve Learning
|I use a few self assessment tools for students to reflect and monitor their own growth.
|5c. Developing Life Long Learning Skills and Values Education
|I model continuous life-long learning and take advantage of teachable moments.
This has been my most difficult reflection to write, and I admit that when I first perused at the reflection questions (on student work data, self and peer assessment, life-long learning skills, and values education) my reaction was that I don’t do those things–there’s no time in a math classroom! However, after a couple days of reflection and a dig through my files for the year, I in fact have used strategies such as self-assessment and modeling life-long learning skills. I will highlight examples of these in this reflection.
One thing that I certainly do as a math teacher is collect data–formative and summative–from my students and use this to guide my instruction. I cover this pretty well in my Assessment (domain 4) reflection: using exit tickets via socrative, homework, diagnostic and MAP tests, unit quizzes and tests, I construct a decent picture of the students’ progress to ensure they have achieved the essential learning and modify my plan of attack.
Using self and peer assessment is a strategy I have used less often; however I have a few examples that have worked, and I will be gradually expanding these as I get more skilled at working with the data they provide. At the start of Semester 2, I asked my Grade 11 classes to write down two goals for math class; a month later I surveyed the class on their progress towards their goals. I am hopeful that this made a positive impact on their effort and thus learning throughout the semester, and next year plan to continue checking in on student goals on a monthly basis. For peer assessment, this year I asked the review lesson teams to give me feedback on their team via Socrative, and have surveyed the class informally after each formative presentation in order to get feedback from them for the team. Next year, I am planning a more systematic peer review process which also helps students keep busy during review presentations.
I also upon reflection discovered that I am promoting life-long learning skills. I model responsible work practices, for example by handing back work within a week after it is handed in and being personally prepared for each class. I promote individual responsibility by ensuring that the great majority of a student’s grade comes through individual assignments, while also promoting collaboration by encouraging students to work together on homework, assigning some group projects, and having students present in groups for the review presentations. One example of collaboration that I used with my students in Semester 1 was a jigsaw group activity where students taught each other transformations of various functions, thus not only learning the material but also learning how to work together on a team to learn something together.
Values education is another type of learning that I do not focus on in math class–and which tends to come up less due to the nature of our material compared to humanities classes–but which does come up occasionally through teachable moments. I always try to respond to teachable moments by helping students understand what ethical behaviour might look like–for example, discussing with two students that I overheard using a gay slur why this was offensive and what language they could use instead.
Overall, I have made several valuable forays into student learning outside the traditional math curriculum, including self and peer assessment, life long learning and values education, and I believe that I meet the standards that ASFM expects of its teachers in this regard. Of course, I believe I can always improve in this area and have a few ideas to implement, especially in the area of self and peer evaluation.