Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Conversation to Improve

With the suggestion of Mr. Kohn, I set up the classroom early on Monday morning circling all the chairs into the center of the room moving all the tables aside. I opened the class explaining to the class about the past few days: my initial blog, the response from Alfie Kohn and others, and the importance of today’s conversation. I explained my frustrations to the class regarding their work completion, efforts at achieving successes, and reminding them how intelligent I think they all are. Then I talked to them about the three questions I wanted us to discuss for the rest of the class: What is working? What isn’t working? How can WE do better? Here is what they said:

What is working?
· Reading as a group and annotating together- talking through what we are reading
· Food
· Writing topic sentences
· Using technology
· Watching movies
· Editing in class
· Six weeks to redo work
· Redo work allows us to learn more, less pressure, more flexibility, not happy with my grade until work is satisfactory
· Class blog keeps me organized, scribes are extremely helpful
· Skype- nice to have direct contact with you
· No books, nice to have print outs
· You aren’t a hypocrite- you do the work with us
· PLN- helps so much with my writing, I can voice my opinion
· PLN presentations- it is great that we get to pick what we can do and present on
· Like the interactive methods of teaching
· Nice to have time to work on writing paragraphs in school
· Note taking is minimal
· Nice to be able to pick the day you scribe
· Rolly chairs and tables
· Make up days- nice to have the time to make-up work and get caught up; you can prioritize your other classes with the flexibility of this class
· Not strict about talking and behavior

What isn’t working? (we talked about solutions with the problems- those are indicated in parenthesis where we had a solution)

  • Hand writing is hard to read (online comments work best)
  • Annotations: it is really hard to read to understand, make connections and ask questions all at the same time (can we read a bit, then stop and pause to write questions and make comments; reading could be the night before so that we can read for understanding during the night, and then leave annotations for the next day in class; small group reading based off of reading ability)
  • Big assignments (can these be broken down more into a day by day format; or paragraph by paragraph format)
  • Annotating in the format you suggest doesn’t work for me (don’t worry about the literary devices, move on and ask big questions, make big connections)
  • Don’t like downloading programs such as Picasa and Google Earth (?)
  • Homework can be overwhelming (?)
  • Hard to get used to blogging and homework (?)
  • Structure paragraphs (go over paragraph structures again and again, go over different parts of the paragraph to redo; breakdown each paragraph and give work time to finish)
  • Assign rough drafts (next day could be a work day, edit, and then edit again, and then final draft)
  • Show examples of what you mean, don’t just tell

How can WE do better?


  • Bring in work the next day when it is assigned
  • Get homework in on time
  • Turn in work on time so you get time to redo the work
  • Work in smaller groups based on how fast we work
  • Hold us accountable when we don’t do what we are supposed to
  • When we do good things, can you bake for us? YES!
  • If we all do good things, can we all get rewards?
  • Be more specific with online comments
  • Have more group projects
  • Hold one another accountable
  • Slow down
  • Take time with our annotating
  • Talk about our PLN’s and maybe do one together
  • Read in circles more often
  • Put questions up- expand on what questions need to be about


1 comment:

Phil said...

Wonderful! I look forward to seeing how this turns out. At least you now have something to work with and the mystery has been lifted to some degree.

Thanks for sharing, I really appreciate how willing you are to talk about your journey.