Making Space for Student Feedback and Voice

 

“My job as a teacher is not to teach the curriculum or even to just teach the students; it is to seek to understand my kids as completely as possible so that I can purposefully bend curriculum to meet them.” – C. Minor

“Creating a collaborative culture is the single most important factor in school improvement for those seeking to enhance the effectiveness of teaching and learning.” – R. DuFour and B. DuFour

The quotes above are on my mind as I celebrate the publication of my second piece, Making Space for Students in PLCs. The processes I describe in the article are built off what we learned from our students and what we learned together as collaborative teams of inquiry.

As always, I look forward to feedback as you read the article!

Speak Up to Call In

One of my school’s goals this year is to engage in Strategic Listening and to lean into Courageous Conversations. We know that the language we use has an impact on students, colleagues, and families. The language we use also reflects our beliefs, and by being intentional on our language choices, we can increase our own self-awareness and shift beliefs. As educators, we must strive to examine our language and beliefs. We must also support each other in this work to help us see our blind spots and to grow as social justice educators; and that happens through conversation. In this post, I want to highlight some ideas from Teaching Tolerance’s Speak Up Guide, in order to synthesize the guide and to share this important resource with others.

“Every moment that bias goes unanswered
is a moment that allows its roots to grow deeper and stronger.
Bias left unanswered is bias tacitly approved.
If you don’t speak up, you are saying, in your silence,
that you condone it.”    – Speak Up Guide

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The Importance of Effective Classroom Talk

The productive hum of students engaged in talking and learning is like hearing a symphony, a favorite song. They are evidence of a teacher intentionally planning for and developing the expectations and strategies of effective talk with their students.

“Children’s speaking and listening lead the way for their reading and writing skills, and together these language skills are the primary tools of the mind for all future learning.” – Roskos, Tabors, & Lenhart, 2009

 

Increased effective discourse between students leads to deeper learning.

“According to John Hattie (2018), teachers can ask between 200 and 300 questions a day – whereas students typically ask clarification questions. Research also indicates that teachers should limit their speaking to 20-30% of the class time and the student talk time should be around 80%.” – Greenwood

 

According to Hattie’s meta-analysis, classroom discussion has an effect size of .82 which is more than twice the average growth in a year! When students talk together, their relationships strengthen, their oral language skills grow, they see each other’s strengths and feel an increasing sense of belonging, and engagement increases! Today I want to bring together some rich resources on classroom discourse, to support the ways that teachers scaffold increasingly complex student talk in their classrooms.

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The Four Pivots, Part Four

This post is the fourth of four based on Shawn Ginwright PhD’s The Four Pivots: Reimagining Justice, Reimagining Ourselves. The Four Pivots include: 
  1. From Lens to Mirror (see The Four Pivots, Part One)
  2. From Transactional to Transformative (see The Four Pivots, Part Two)
  3. From Problem to Possibility (see The Four Pivots, Part Three)
  4. From Hustle to Flow

The themes of From Hustle to Flow include: Flow, Rest, and Wild. They are the focus in today’s post.

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The Four Pivots, Part Three

This post is the third of four based on Shawn Ginwright PhD’s The Four Pivots: Reimagining Justice, Reimagining Ourselves. The Four Pivots include:

  1. From Lens to Mirror (see The Four Pivots, Part One)
  2. From Transactional to Transformative (see The Four Pivots, Part Two)
  3. From Problem to Possibility
  4. From Hustle to Flow

The themes of From Problem to Possibility include: Perspective, Possibility, and Outlook. They are the focus in today’s post.

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The Four Pivots, Part Two

A sense of Belonging is needed for learning to occur, and for one’s humanity to be honored. To be human is to desire Belonging. Belonging is also necessary for transformational change to occur. In order to develop the types of changes needed in our schools, we need transformation, not transactions. When we feel Belonging, we can collaborate in a way that creates richer outcomes which lead to Transformation and Justice. In my last post, I wrote about the first pivot in Shawn Ginwright’s The Four Pivots: Reimagining Justice, Reimagining Ourselves.

The Four Pivots include:

  1. From Lens to Mirror
  2. From Transactional to Transformative
  3. From Problem to Possibility
  4. From Hustle to Flow

In this post, I will introduce and summarize my understanding of the second pivot which includes the themes of:

  • Belonging
  • Care
  • Vulnerability

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The Four Pivots, Part One

The purpose of my writing this blog over time is to synthesize my own learning and to share my learning with others. As I write today, I’m returning to my purpose because I know how important it is to remind myself of my why, especially since today is the day I’ve added a “Subscription” feature to my webpage! I’m extremely excited about the privilege and opportunity to share my writing in a more systematic way with my readers.

In this post, I want to begin a synthesis of The Four Pivots: Reimagining Justice, Reimagining Ourselves, by Shawn Ginwright, PhD. This will be the first in a four part series, each part comprising one of Ginwright’s pivots. As I read the book, I was inspired by the connection between self work and social justice work. The focus on Belonging also stood out to me because it is one of my Core Values and because we know that in order for learning and healing to occur, we need Belonging. Reading the book, I had many take-aways for myself, my leadership moves, and my teaching. I highly recommend reading the text and know many educational leaders and learners will be embracing it over the years to come!

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Embracing Change

At the beginning of the summer, one of my meditations described two kids making a sand castle on a beach. They were in the moment and joyful as they built their castle, only to have it washed away by a wave. One of the kids picked up a shovel and started rebuilding while the other broke into tears, devastated by the erasure of the sand castle. This has been a beautiful metaphor for me with an end of the school year filled with many changes. It has helped me remember the importance of showing up with my full self, being in the moment, and relationship building.

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Joy: I’m a Published Author!

I’ve been writing this blog for two years! Writing is one of the ways I show my creativity and honor my core value of sharing what I have learned with others. One of my dreams has been to be a published author, and that dream came true last week when my first article was published on Edutopia. Today I am celebrating this goal, and looking forward to my upcoming writing projects.

Please check out my article:

Fostering Identity, Joy, and Skill Development

 

My Love of Writing

“Let me live, love, and say it well in good sentences.”
–Sylvia Plath
Writing gives me Joy and teaching writing is one of my favorite parts of being an educator. So yesterday when my first article was published on Edutopia I was ecstatic; this has been one of my Bucket List items forever and especially since I started writing this, my own blog. The article is Fostering Identity, Joy, and Skill DevelopmentThe most amazing part of being published was the sense of community around me, both colleagues and students, who celebrated my accomplishment. It meant the world for me to go into a second grade class yesterday afternoon and show them my final writing as they were working on their own final edits and revisions. Naturally, this morning I woke up wanting to write about writing! In this post I want to list some of the strategies I’ve used in the teaching of writing to empower our youngest writers!

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