Thursday, April 3, 2014

to talk and to listen

Tee, Gap
Cardigan, Gap Outlet
Coldwater Creek silk scarf, Valentine's Day gift from Mom
petite trouser jeans, Macy's
necklace, Haitian Beads
bracelets, HauteLook and DIY

      TALKING: We went on a field trip to the museum on Monday. I think the students really enjoyed it, and it enhanced their understanding of our social studies curriculum. Fourth grade focuses on Hawaiian society and culture, and I thought it was neat that they got to handle some artifacts that Hawaiians used for fishing and making tools. I've only been to the museum with a class, but I'd like to go back during the summer and browse through Hawaiian Hall at leisure.
      On the way back to school, I was listening to my students chatter away, and I realized how many of them believe that "I talk, therefore I am." That made me wonder: what activity do I believe defines me? I'd have to say reflection, or maybe even the study of aikido. It's an interesting question to ask yourself if you haven't before ...

      LISTENING: Speaking of reflection, having students reflect, self-assess, and give feedback to others has always been an interest of mine. It's a natural interest, I suppose, since whenever I take a multiple intelligences test, one of my dominant intelligences is intrapersonal. I went to a training last week, and the trainer suggested that we ask students to reflect on what the teacher did that they found useful, and what the teacher did that was not useful.
      With that in mind, I had my students respond in writing to that same question after a math lesson. I consider myself a novice when it comes to teaching math, unfortunately - while I've seen big improvements in what I'm doing this year compared to years past, I know I have a long way to go! My self-assessment was confirmed by what my students wrote. While some students are still working on using details in reflection and didn't get beyond "everything you did was helpful," I had others clearly state that they wished I had done more sample problems with the class before having them practice the skill on their own.
        It's tough to realize that your instruction was not as effective as it could have been, but I'm taking their feedback seriously and will make some changes as a result.

      Whew, longer post than usual ... I guess being drop-dead tired this week makes me introspective? Or verbose? And it doesn't help that I've got a weekend full of work ahead, since report cards are due next week.
   How would you complete the phrase "I ________, therefore I am"?


  1. I read, therefore I am.

  2. What a wonderful opportunity gain such honest feedback from your students. Criticism can be tough to receive, but it's going to give you the opportunity to continually improve.

    (If you're interested, I'm giving away a pair of Emma McKinstry earrings valued at $70. Enter here.)

  3. I'm so glad that that there are teachers like you out there. I can recall some of my teachers would've treated that activity as a personal attack on their abilities. As for my answer to your question, I would say "I create, therefore I am." Writing, drawing, taking photos, and collaborating with others brings so much happiness to my life.


  4. Yes! I'm always surprised by people who think reading is a passive activity - it really requires full, imaginative participation by the reader, and each person's experience with the same book can be totally different!

  5. My only regret about asking them for feedback is that I didn't do this earlier! I think it helps give students ownership of their learning and helps them become aware of their learning styles and what works for them.

  6. Creativity is such a great outlet and means to personal satisfaction. I'm still trying to figure out small ways to incorporate creativity into my daily life ... it's something I love to do when time off, but I think it would really help me deal with work stress on a daily basis!

  7. "Food is where culture remains even if everything else disappears." Wow, that could be a post of its own! I agree that cooking is one of the great, essential pleasures of life and a form of personal expression.


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