Wednesday, December 18, 2013

You Can Jump Right In...

That's it. I am jumping into the deep end of the pool. After some reflection, discussion with colleagues and enough reading about the subject to make my eyes sore, I am turning my classroom into a student-driven classroom after break. Here are my changes:

* I am going to conference with each student individually every week and a half to two weeks. At this time, students will need to demonstrate their understanding of the standards we have covered.

* Conferencing will allow me to really determine if the student understands what they are working on. They will be assessed based on how well they demonstrate that knowledge.

* I will distribute I Can Statements for each chapter. This is so the students know exactly what they are expected to know for the conference.

* I will still allow redoes/retakes, but they must RE-CONFERENCE for this to happen.

* I am hoping the conferences are a preparation for real life: either a job interview, college interview or presentation at work.

* I am wondering how my students who "play school well" will handle this change. Hopefully, they adjust quickly to this new procedure.

* I am hoping by doing this, I will no longer be the hardest working person in the room.

*Many thanks to @mssackstein @barrykid1 @WHSrowe @jsprfox for your constant feedback and support. I know I ask a lot of questions. Thank you for your patience and time.

I hate when I do I am looking forward to January...and we have not yet left for break.


Ross LeBrun said...

Great piece! I wish you the best! I would love to hear your reflections on how this change impacted the groups of students who "play school well".

Jim Cordery said...

Thanks for the feedback, Ross. I am interested to see if it throws any of them for a loop as well. Thanks again.

Justin Aion said...

I love the HELL out of this!! I have my geometry kids working on "I Can" statements, but I think I too will implement the conferences!

Let's keep in touch about this stuff because I'm hoping to move even more towards this when break is over. More for my geometry and LOTS for my math 8.

This is an exciting and terrifying journey! Do you plan to develop a form for the conferences? I'd love to see how you plan that!

Shawn Storm said...

I love the fact that you notice you will no longer be the hardest working person in the room - I learned that a few years back when we moved to sbg. I also remember reading that in Harry Wong's First Days of School - the kids need to leave more tired than us -we should leave with smiles on our faces full of energy!

I'm eager to hear how the students who play school well react - I'm also curious to see how the parents of those kids respond. Did you make the parents aware of your shift?

I use a lot of conferences as well - mostly informa - and they always offer a different perspective and insight into the learner.

Best of luck with this bud! Schools need more teachers willing to take chances and help the kids grow as learners and people.

Jim Cordery said...

Hi, Justin.
Yes, I am envisioning a form of some kind. I want something easy to use and store. I am picturing maybe a Google Form? I will definitely keep in touch. I will need someone to bounce ideas off of. Thanks again for taking the time to read it.

Jim Cordery said...

Thanks, Shawn. I am looking to throw something together over break for the kids to take home and explain the change. Making sure the parents are aware is a great reminder. Thanks again.

Joe Sanfelippo said...

Nice work, Jim! The conferencing piece will be game changing…you are going to do great! Jumping right in…best way to do it. Well done! Good luck and let me know if I can help at all during the transition…love talking conferencing and how it grows knowledge and grit.

David Hochheiser said...

Jim - You're smart to recognize that the conferencing will be a skill in and of itself. Keep that it mind. Maybe have the students practice with each other, do one "live" for the whole class to watch, come up with a "tips for conferences" list that you can start but have the kids add to as they think about each one.

I'm sure you know that a lot of students get nervous when structures change, especially the "game players." Modelling will put them at ease.

Jasper Fox Sr. said...

Great post, Jim! I feel extremely honored to be mentioned in it, I am truly grateful for our conversations and feel lucky to be able to reciprocate when I can! I am really excited to hear your reflections as this progresses. We'll have to compare notes on conferencing before reassessments as I have instituted something similar as well to ensure that students are reflective towards growth. Kudos for "jumping" right in!