Another great benefit to my new school is being observed and evaluated again. Wait WHAT?! Did I just say that!? Yes, I did. One of the best parts of growing up as a teacher in the Denver Public Schools, under the leadership of Diana Noonan and Connie Navarro, is that you get VERY used to constant observation and feedback. I LOVE feedback. Tell me what I am doing well and tell me how I can be better! I have a fantastic support system at Bricolage. Caitlin, my coach, observes me and always gives me solid praise and a few “pushes” of where I can improve. One of the simpler pushes for me early in the year was to display more student work. Posting student work can be a real challenge when ALL of your classes are the most novice of novice. I’ve found ways of doing it though, that has actually provided MORE input to my students!
- Sometimes when we do One Word Images, I have a student draw the character. If I do that, I also have a student scripting the story as we tell it (in English at the novice level). After school, I will take a big piece of butcher paper or chart paper and write the story BIG. I do this with a few classes and then hang these in the hall. What happens after is magic. Students during passing period are stopping and reading them. When they line up for my class they’re reading them. At the end of the day during aftercare, they’re walking by with younger classmates (in second grade and below) and they’re reading the stories to them and translating them. When parents come to school for meetings with teachers, they are curious and ask their student about them…Why is there a giant Saint’s hat on the wall with crazy eyes?
- Sarah Breckley presented at Comprehensible Midwest and it was MINDBLOWING. She does something awesome for extra input in the bathrooms of her school. She will post a picture of her students acting and then write up the story to go with it and post it in the bathroom stalls. BRILLIANT! She (of course) had a clever title for this, which I can’t remember now 😦
- After a write and discuss (if you don’t know what a write and discuss is, you MUST read this incredible post by Señora Chase…. she loves it just as much as me!) I will often have students pick their favorite sentences, and add them to a storyboard and then illustrate those sentences to show comprehension. These can be hung in the hall or the classroom.
- In my younger classes, sometimes the process of writing the sentences can take really long time, so I will pre-write the sentences in the storyboard and then have the kids illustrate.
- I love doing card talk with my students when I introduce a new “structure”. For example, a few weeks before my leave, I introduced “s/he wants to travel” to my fifth graders. Students had three minutes to draw on a piece of paper where they wanted to go. They couldn’t write anything at all. Then I went around the room interpreting (sometimes really poorly, but it is part of the humor of class) their drawings. After this, you can provide students with sentence stems and they can write a sentence(s) on their drawing, then you can hang these entertaining card talks, which are also HIGHLY engaging because they’re all what?! PERSONALIZED!
In upper levels the possibilities are endless. There is SO much more to post as students become more proficient and start outputting more! I hope these give you some ideas! What do you post in your classes?
Until next time,
La Maestra Loca