Sunday, November 18, 2012

November 19, 2012

I have had some opportunities to meet with teams and individual teachers these last couple weeks.  As always, I learn about (and am reminded of) parent demands on your time, energy, and planning.  Recently, I have been strategizing with teachers about setting limits and keeping boundaries with parents in terms of meeting times, communication, and other demands.  If I can be helpful to you, your department, or your team with strategies for communicating with or meeting the suggestions/demands of parents, please let me know.  

As for this week, we can do three days confidently, successfully, for sure! I hope your Thanksgiving break provides you time to get perspective of the many things for which you might be grateful.

Faculty Meeting: November 26, 2012

The topic of our 11/26 meeting with Design Question 2: "What will I do to help students effectively interact with new knowledge?" from The Art and Science of Teaching.  Please take an opportunity before then to read, skim, or at the very least review the action steps in chapter two.

Flipping through the slides of this PowerPoint will help prepare you for some of the thinking and activities of the faculty meeting as well. Click here to view this quick (11 slides) presentation.

In addition, this protocol (click here), albeit simple, may be helpful in thinking through each strategy specifically in terms of how you will plan to use them.

Focus Groups

Last  Monday, department chairs surfaced some highlights from the report generated from the focus groups conducted last month. Here are some highlights from the student group:

  • Students cite the teachers, electives, friends, and the SRO as some of the top things about Hixson, and those in the focus group rated 40% of our teachers as excellent and 50% as average.
  • Students feel that their experiences vary largely by team and teacher.
  • Students want more hands-on and more interesting work and less lecture.
  • Based on what they know, students felt prepared for 7th and 8th grades and anticipate being prepared for high school.

If you are interested in reading the entire report, click here.

It's always gratifying to learn that students value their teachers so much and feel prepared by the work they do in class.  Obviously we migh expect some variety among teams and teachers; however, the range of experiences was, in some ways, indicative of inconsistencies rather than by other, more subjective observations.  Our work toward consistent expectations for teams, Discovery, and departments and our study of the The Art and Science of Teaching will, in many ways, even out some of these incosistencies over time.  The next three chapters of The Art and Science of Teaching will remind and/or reinforice the value of a variety of teaching strategies beyond the teacher talk that students mention.


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