Examples for each category of reflective practice on the rubric:
Four (4) Points : The educational blogger demonstrates exemplary evidence of a range of meta-reflective practices and provides examples within the entry.
How do we get kids to work towards quality rather than just completion? I struggled with this for a long time, and this year I finally really and truly get it: AUDIENCE and REFLECTION.
The journey started with a PowerPoint presentation to the class. After each group presented, I asked the audience to share each presentation's strengths and areas that needed improvement. It was slow going at first; I had to remind them time and again that their critiques had to be specific so the presenters would know what to repeat and what to avoid in another situation. I did this process several more times with various pieces of work. My kids developed better on task behavior, became more likely to use the rubric while they were working, and my students' comments were more specific. Better yet, more students were completing projects, and the projects themselves were of higher quality. The only thing I was not happy with was presentation skills; though the kids would point out lack of eye contact, volume, etc. in their critiques, I didn't see the same sort of improvement as in the projects themselves. With the last presentation I had kids work with their partners to score each presentation with the rubric…The kids filled out the rubrics, made comments, then we shared our thoughts in discussions. As a result, I saw more kids actively working on volume, eye contact, enthusiasm, etc. They have become very good evaluators…We've developed a common understanding of what makes quality work, and the kids are judging solely on the work and not [on] who the presenter is. If we don't present something we've done in class, they always want to know why. It is a process.
I did A LOT of modeling, demonstrating the appropriate way to give praise and make suggestions. If a student made a particularly insightful/interesting/appropriate comment, I'd point to their comment as the type we were looking for. I ALWAYS start with the positive, no matter how dreadful the presentation is; we found good things to say about students with one slide out of the required eight, incomplete work, etc. There is always strength, a place to start, and while I had to connect the dots for them at first, they've gotten really good at doing it themselves. Of course, they still really enjoy pointing out the flaws....BUT, they do it in a[n] objective, supportive manner. I wonder if they zero in on the negatives so easily because that's what they've seen modeled for them by their teachers through the years?
As I've thought all of this over today I've realized how important it is to teach kids to become their own evaluators. They came in so dependent on me to tell them what was good and what needed improvement. If I am *really* going to teach them, I need to teach them to evaluate themselves and hold themselves to high standards. In the end, it's not about me, it's about them learning how to recognize and work for quality...for themselves.
Three (3) Points : The educational blogger demonstrates an ability to reflect on his/her work. Concrete examples are provided. There is some evidence of meta-cognition within the entry).
We share a school building with an elementary school. The kids are pretty wild, very loud in the halls, very disruptive. I frequently see teachers walking classes down the halls with the kids shouting, pushing and shoving, and not listening to anything the teacher says. In this school, as in most [city] schools, the children are expected to walk in quiet (silent) double lines down the halls. You can debate the reasonableness of this, but it is the culture of the schools here, something every [city] teacher deals with daily. So, it is alarming to see children acting crazy in the hallways - today I even had to ask a group to quiet down since my children were taking a quiz. The teacher with that class wasn't doing anything, just walking along behind them! I don't like correcting the students from the other school, particularly when they're with a teacher, but in this case the noise really was disturbing my students.
I understand and sympathize when a teacher has a really difficult class and is having trouble with the kids. I've been through it all myself, at the school where I used to teach. But the key is not to give up. I never, never stopped expecting the students to behave and telling them that! You have to try - and these children are little ones, 7, 8 years old. I see these classes out of control in the hallways, and I think to myself: all you have to do is walk them back to where they came from and start over, and do that consistently until they understand that you mean what you say. The kids are so young, I imagine it wouldn't take more than a few times practicing walking quietly before they'd get the picture. Sure, it's no fun for the teacher, and it stinks for those kids who've been doing it right all along, but the bottom line is that in the long run, it's to the teacher's benefit and the benefit of ALL the children to have a safe and orderly school and respect for adults' authority.
Two (2) Points: The educational blogger demonstrates an ability to reflect on his/her work but example(s) provided are minimal.
Good days can happen.
My kids were great today. Attentive, participative and cooperative. Well, they were great until 2:35, when, after summoning their focus to look good for a pop-in visit by my principal and reading coach, they collapsed into a heap of chit-chat. But I was pretty okay with that. The only problem is, I don't know why they were so good!!! Except for our weekly P.E., which I worry was at the core of their good work, I'm going to try and recreate today as best as I can tomorrow.
Even days like today have a dark underbelly. Generally, when the whole class is doing well, problem individuals rise to the surface in spectacular form. F---, my Michael Jackson star, wrote "My life is worthless." on a piece of paper in response to a conversation where I asked him to produce work that he can be proud of. M---, who I have given enormous leeway to in an effort to get him to buy in to my class, is completely losing it, refusing to do work, refusing to not call out, refusing to sit in his seat! I know he's dealing with huge issues (mom in jail, moved to new school, dad had stroke, grandma-figure died this month) but there's only so much I can let him get away with before the other kids start to complain and imitate.
One (1) point : The educational blogger reflects on his/her work and improvement but does not provide examples within the entry.
So let's see what I have accomplished in the past 5 or so hours...emptied (almost) all of my stuff out of the student work desk, but have a bit further to go. My problem is that I stop to read things and lose my "drive". LOL, school hasn't even started yet so I'm not going to worry about it too much. Found 14 calculators with no identifiable marks on them that I have collected through the years--almost a class set. One is a TI-83. It doesn't work, but it probably just needs new batteries. I did put my computer decorations up--those are the critters that sit on top of my iMac. Two plastic rats, a plastic donkey, one stuffed kitty, and an adorable stuffed mouse with cheese. No, I don't have a fondness for rodents. :---)
Zero (0) points : There is no evidence of reflective practice within the entry.
After insisting that I've lost all his homework for this quarter, that I've been unduly hard on her son because I haven't made more than three make-up packets and now she wants to pull him out of my class because I'm demanding a revision of a very shoddily written paper plus he's a genius and how could I stifle his creativity by asking him to - stand back now - proofread his work or put his name on it plus he yells out in class and needs to release his energy by strolling around the room at random you just don't understand his highly intelligent needs Mrs. X yeah yeah sure I want to say you've never run a classroom in your freakin' life have you lady you've got no clue that your kid's lying (hear me I said lying ) about the homework so much easier to blame the teacher but of course I don't answer.
NOTE: With the exception of Entry 1 and Entry 2, which were edited to remove identifying information, these entries have not been edited by the authors.
About the Authors
Beverly B. Ray, Ph. D., is Associate Professor of Instructional Methods and Technology at Idaho State University , Pocatello, Idaho . Her research interests involve reflective practices in electronic environments and best practices in the use of emerging technologies.
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Martha M. Hocutt is Assistant Professor and Chair of the Department of Foundations of Education at the University of West Alabama , Livingston , Alabama . Her research interests include K-12 technology integration and best practices regarding distance education.
Send Correspondence to:
Beverly B. Ray
Campus Box 8059
Idaho State University
Pocatello , ID 83209
Martha M. Hocutt
Campus Station 3
University of West Alabama
Livingston , AL 35470