When I visited my original portfolio, I realized that my SMART goals weren’t as smart as I thought. These were the three originally were:
I’ve reflected on these pieces through the rubrics we already have. My teacher leadership has improved since I last made my portfolio because I have a better understanding of my role as math coach and data specialist. I became a better pedagogue in some critical areas, especially my focus and alignment to curriculum. I built student leadership capacity through the Penny Harvest program here at school, but not as much in my classroom. Yet, if I could revisit these goals, I would have said the following:
In 815, I have four English Language Learners, 15 former ELLs, and 11 students with an individual education plan (IEP). As such, I really had to concentrate on how I delivered instruction while reminding myself of their vocabulary needs. In the math department, I’ve been imploring teachers to incorporate and emphasize vocabulary whenever possible. In my classroom, in the place of a word wall, I used some techniques I saw in other classrooms to assure that kids remembered vocabulary and used it regularly. Every assessment I’ve given this year has emphasized vocabulary in one form or another. Also, during the common planning periods I share, we’ve shared different strategies as well.
Ever since I understood the importance of the Teacher Assessment Notebook, I started to realize how data collection usually stops at collecting sheets and not using it anywhere. With some brainstorming from instructional coaches and administrators, I got the school a Google account and got our data spreadsheets into our Google Docs system. From there, we took multiple data sources and created snapshots for all teachers to upload their grades and interim assessments. From there, we not only made a spreadsheet where teachers could check progress for their individual students, but where teachers can collaborate and see their co-teachers’ throughout the four major content areas. It’s a powerful tool for collaboration, and a simple tool for administrators to also understand what’s happening throughout the school. From what many teachers have said, this has given a glimpse for teachers who’ve used it about trends throughout their classes.
One of the things I picked up this year was my ability to do “on-the-spot” assessments about student learning. Whereas previous classes weren’t afraid to let me know that they didn’t understand, this class of students seemed to have a fear of looking “stupid” in front of others. Disengaging that culture was hard, and one of the ways I stopped that culture was my informally assessing the students. If the students had difficulty with a topic, rather than say it aloud, I would just infer by asking really good questions about the material. I wasn’t just allowing a head-nod, because that’s usually a dangerous sign. During class work time, I would come around and see student progress. If a student looked like they got it, I would ask a deeper question than the curriculum books might ask.
These were much better goals for me, much more measurable, and filled with better evidence. In the artifacts below, you’ll see the evidence of my works throughout the year with small descriptions of what they meant.