As I reflect on Phase IV and my book of choice, What Should I Do? Confronting Dilemmas of Teaching in Urban Schools, I learned that “my best is enough!” I know that I will not solve all problems that I encounter, but what I can do is manage the dilemmas that I face on a daily basis. The most difficult dilemmas I face is student behaviors. As we approach the middle of the second quarter, I ask myself if I have lowered my expectations of students and have “gotten used to” their behaviors. Have I given up? The answer is “no,” I haven’t! I have come to understand my students, get to know them, know when the right time is to check-in with them, and now that the weather has gotten much colder and we have indoor recess, I have had the opportunity to be with my students during their recess time to talk. I always care for students, but this year’s 8th grade class needs a lot more TLC because there are so many of them. I do my best, and my best is enough!
In Phase V, I had the opportunity to meet with a couple of my colleagues and administrator to discuss my dilemma with student behaviors. I was given two great ideas to help build rapport with the students’ learning community by having social emotional conferencing and meeting with the rest of my 8th grade team to come up with a plan to revisit “Being Respectful” in class as part of our PBIS. I implemented both interventions and had seen improvement with student engagement, motivation, and student self control. With these improvements, I felt confident that my first attempt in implementing my ImagineIT project would be a success. Having professional relations with your colleagues is important for student success.
I also had the opportunity to get student feedback from one of my 8th grade classes on my teaching demonstration of the Vocabulary Memes. They gave me great feedback which I was able to implement. The Memes were a complete success! I understand how important it is to involve the students in their learning. They take ownership of the tasks and give more that 100%.
I have noticed that my students’ discourse has improved with the continuous use of Accountable Talk Moves while incorporating vocabulary. I find myself praising more and more students for the use of vocabulary as they participate in whole group and small group discussions. When students are working in small group, I use ClassDojo points to reward for groups for using the Talk Moves and Vocabulary.
As for the Flipped Classroom approach to prerequisite vocabulary, I am going to have to dig deeper and include procedural concepts that students should know prior to a new unit. I have begun to put on Google Classroom, some notes on our current unit so students can refer to when they need to see more examples.
We did it! Our first Vocabulary project of the year was a success!
Upon completing our first unit in 8th grade, Thinking with Mathematical Models, the students created their Vocabulary Memes for the unit. I had great feedback from the focus group in things I could consider incorporating. The one thing I didn’t incorporate were GIFs for their vocabulary portfolio. I wanted to focus on Memes for this project. GIFS will be done for a future unit’s vocabulary project.
The students had fun and were engaged with the project. Some of their memes were pretty funny and many puns were created. I was able to assess students’ understanding of the vocabulary based on their memes and how the image of the meme resonated with their descriptions.
I am still tinkering with the flipped classroom approach to prerequisite vocabulary. I’m finding myself brainstorming ideas on how to do this and find myself thinking that maybe it’s more than just prerequisite vocabulary, but prerequisite procedural concepts in preparation for the new units...perhaps this, too, can be incorporated with the vocabulary.