My goal is to never be so far removed from the classroom that I forget what it’s like to be a teacher. Over the last few weeks while I’ve been adjusting to my job and new responsibilities, I’ve been running from meeting to meeting, a million miles a minute, task after task, running out of time before I realized time had passed.
I needed a quick reminder of why I am doing what I’m doing, a refocus, if you will. Which led to my totally informal observation in a 7th grade math class at one of our buildings. I know they say you know good teaching when you see it, and today I saw good teaching. Selfishly, I was excited to be around kids again (even if they were awkward middle schoolers); I have missed the interactions, and the teacher was gracious enough to let me talk to the kids while they worked. They were doing a neat activity that got them up and moving around the room through a “Math Scavenger Hunt.” Posted around the room were numbers paired with an equation, exponent, etc. for students to solve. The solution to the equation, exponent, etc. was another number around the room; they would move to that number and answer its associated equation, exponent, etc. Really cool idea.
But what I wanted to share is the awesome work the teacher is doing with formative assessment. I apologize in advance for the picture quality, but my iPad should be in soon :)
First, she had a “Math Map” wall that clearly lists the learning targets in the unit.
Note a couple of things:
- Learning targets are specific and directly connected to the 7th grade standards.
- Learning targets include info about when and how they will be addressed using the textbook.
- These are not daily targets, but represent instead the learning that is to take place.
- The “stop” sign is a planned formative assessment, although she also informally formatively assesses as she goes.
- The ending stop sign is a summative assessment.
- Check out the Lightning McQueen and Mater characters representing current location within the learning.
She gives students the following document at the beginning of the learning, and they indicate dates when they reach each target.
Finally, posted at the front of the room (and I’m assuming making their way around the room) are the learning targets they have already focused on in previous units:
Having read this post, the teacher wanted to relate new learning back to targets they already addressed and/or revisit the learning as they grow. So she uses racecar stickers (very small in the picture) to indicate targets as they revisit them.
It is observing good teaching that makes me feel reinvigorated and excited about being in education. This teacher’s work was awesome!