Chapter Reflection Questions
1. After reading the list of common mistakes, the most glaring one that I make is being inconsistent. When I think about it, I really set up my classroom to fail. When I look back at some of the trouble I had over the past two years, it was always when I wanted the students to sit still and quiet while I talked/demonstrated for 15+ minutes. I know that they should be able to do this, but I have to admit sometimes my lessons were boring as hell! So, my biggie no-no, is that I would let a little misbehavior slide, because if I could just "get through" this example or explanation I could let the good kids get to work and THEN I could handle the trouble makers! As the kids say SMH!
I slowly learned by the end of the year that it doesn't work for me or for them. If I look back, the last month or two, I was pretty much having them do "flip class" work without any instruction or real structure at all. Given those two points, the last two months were joyful and productive and I loved going to class everyday. I am so excited to see what happens when I add the videos and structure to make it even more meaningful.
2. I have always thought that I was clear about communicating my high expectations and that students understood them, which is why when they didn't act like they did, both of us were confused.
One of the many ways I am changing my class this year is how I grade. Each unit will have a point system and the students will choose how they earn those points. Since our school motto is "Failure is not an option" I am removing the F grade completely from the points, the lowest they will get is a D. I think that is going to have a huge impact on my kids. I will ask them "what could you do if you knew you could not fail?" I think that by them knowing exactly what I expect from them and giving them control of it will take away any doubt of my confidence that they can be successful.
3. I haven't figured out all of the details yet, but this year I am definitely getting the students involved with creating the discipline plan. The two things that I will not budge on though is that disrespect of any kind will not be tolerated and parental contact will always be involved. I plan on recording my students teach and model the rules and procedures and keep that video accessible. We can even review it after long breaks.
Based on my reflections these are things I need to do before Sept:
Create first units activities and points
Make lists of procedures
Decide how to I will have students create the rules of the class