Nov. 13th – 17th

  • “This supper is yummy!”
  • “No! I want that sled, this one is no good!”
  • “I loved that movie!”
  • “Hey dad, the snow makes good snowballs, but you have to really squish them.”
Spaghetti squash with meatballs and tomato sauce.

This year we are asking, how do we know, and those four statements were some of the feedback I received this weekend from my kids. It was feedback that I was not intentionally seeking out, but it was information none-the-less. It was then my choice to decide what to do with it. I will try to replicate the meatballs for next time, I will make sure I get the kids to choose the right sled before going to the hill, I will rent Diary of a Wimpy Kid again, and I will make sure to keep an eye on Bobby when he’s making snowballs. When I think about all the feedback I was given this weekend from my kids it makes me think about the way we communicate with each other. We are continually bombarded with information, both spoken and unspoken. A hearty laugh or a pair of crossed arms coupled with a furrowed brow is usually all you need, but sometimes it’s more subtle than that.

I was reflecting on Monday’s staff meeting with Jesse last week, and we discussed the amazing feeling in the room, and I wondered aloud how we could have heard everyone’s voice during the artifact sharing. This wondering lead to Jesse’s idea to capture everyone’s description of their artifact. This is another example of using the feedback we are given. I was excited about the meeting, yet unsatisfied with the fact that I didn’t get to hear everything. Jesse used that information to come up with his idea, and then put it into action. How do you use the feedback you are given on a continual basis to improve the teaching and learning in your room? Elena Aguilar (@artofcoaching1) talks about the questions you can ask your students at the start of the year in her post (found here), however I’d challenge that these questions could be asked at any time of the year, particularly #7, I love that question!

How do I know if he’s having fun?

This week we will be asking the students to give us some feedback through the annual student survey (OurSCHOOL, formerly, Tell Them From Me) that all students in PSSD will be completing. This information is important, however just like our DRA data, or our attendance numbers, or our graduation rates, or our student grades, it is just one of many pieces of information we get to use. While the numbers tell part of the story, there is another side as well, the human side, and it’s one that I overheard in a hallway conversation that I had to stop and join in on. Joanne and Jamie were discussing students staying after school, and Joanne described the change she has noticed this year. I’ve asked her to share a bit of her thinking with us,

I’ve been teaching in Waldheim school for eight years and I’ve always appreciated our school for its level of engagement and compassion.  I could even been accused of taking it for granted. That being said I’ve noticed a difference this year. During the regular day the hallways are filled with more children and noise due to our higher enrollment but the biggest change I’ve noticed is the time after school.  Walking down the hallways the rooms are still buzzing  with activity.  In many of the classrooms there are students and teachers shoulder to shoulder learning.  At 4:00 pm there is a vibrant life in our school of laughter, learning and sharing with students being the core of that rumble. Students are staying to learn and teachers are staying to support that learning.  I believe there is a fresh feeling of us all being a team of engaged teachers and learners supporting one another for growth for all. This feeling may be because I’m more grounded in my own purpose and position but the dedication I see in our young teachers gives me tremendous hope for our school and our students this year and into the future. Us, mature teachers LOL  are constantly in conversation with the young teachers sharing ideas and we hope wisdom while being spurred on ourselves by their enthusiasm and passion.  At the end of the day , I’d probably call the feelings I’m experiencing, the magic of authentic learning mixed with a large portion of genuine caring.

What have you noticed this year?

Here’s what lies ahead for this shortened week:

Monday:

  • stat holiday

Tuesday:

  • OurSCHOOL survey begins (see schedule e-mailed last week)
  • Psychology 20/30 assembly (period 1)

Wednesday:

  • OurSCHOOL survey continues

Thursday:

  • OurSCHOOL survey concludes

Friday:

  • Business as usual

As always, create a great week!

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