Sunday, August 31, 2014

Becoming a Reflective Teacher -Part 4

It's time to get will this revolutionize student achievement?
How will Reflecting on your teaching affect your student's growth? Let's explore....

If you go back and look through the element list you will find many items are linked directly to you and your students, such as "What will I do to establish and maintain effective relationships with students?" To answer this question you will have to be honest and extremely self-aware. Once you answer this question then you must set  some guidelines for yourself...I will focus on students who seem disenfranchised in my class and those with whom I don't have a good rapport yet... When a student does something well, I will compliment them...I will find out information about my students and use that knowledge in my interactions with them...(Marzano, 2012)
These type of rules will help you stay focused, which in turn will help your children stay in the game and want to achieve for you!
Does your class KNOW exactly what you want from them? Post examples (concrete and specific), this will help JUSTIFY their learning.
Are they writing and reflecting about  themselves? If not Blair Turner has some GREAT reflecting tools that will help your students reflect about their leaning through writing, which could lead to better grammar and mechanics in their daily writing.
Reflection not only helps you synthesize and analyze your teaching, but also does the same for your students learning. Can you imagine your class operating on the synthesis level all day long? Your goals will be met in no time!(So will theirs.)
The most important part of student reflection is that teachers give specific FEEDBACK...during conferring time, when you comment to them and when ever you are celebrating success.
Next time we meet, let's talk about all that prepared!

Marzano, R. (2012). Becoming a reflective teacher. Bloomington, IN: Marzano Research Laboratory.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Becoming a Reflective Teacher-Part 3

Why do we use REFLECTIVE teaching?
We NEED to REFLECT on our teaching so we can become better at our craft AND improve student achievement gains!!!
Let's begin by conducting a self-assessment. You need to rate yourself, if you are familiar with Robert Marzano's scales from your teacher evaluations then this is already a part of you!
 You must give yourself either a 4, 3, 2 or 1 ( I don't do 0 because if you are operating at a 0 you need to seriously think about another career choice, sorry to be so blunt but the children need teachers, not people who are not in it to win it!)
A 4 looks like this...
The teacher adapts or CREATES a new version of the strategy or behavior for UNIQUE student needs and situations.
A 3 looks like...
The teacher uses the strategy or behavior and monitors the extent to which it affects student outcomes.
A 2...
the teacher uses the strategy or behavior but does so in a somewhat mechanistic way.
A 1...
The teacher uses the strategy or behavior incorrectly or with parts missing.

Now that you know how to rate yourself, here is your test:
(Think about what, and how you do for each question...)

1. Do you typically provide clear learning goals and scales (rubrics)?
2. How do you track student progress?
3. What do you do to celebrate success?
4. How do I do to establish and maintain classroom rules and procedures?
5. What do I typically do to organize the physical layout of the classroom?

There are 41 questions that match up to the nine design questions. We just explored the Lesson Segments Involving Routine Events. If you would like to view the rest of the questions visit the Marzano Center.

After you have reflected and evaluated yourself, make yourself some GOALS!!!!

I recommend you choose three elements that you are struggling MOST with. Your goals should be attainable, but not too easy nor lofty. Your goals should be clear, such as "By the end of the year, I will raise my score on celebrating success from 1 to 3." (I hope you have that competitive edge, like I do...for me it would have read from 2 to 4.)
In order to be successful you MUST have a MODEL OF EFFECTIVE TEACHING! Find a mentor, be a mentor, READ and RESEARCH best practices, visit other classrooms and take notes. Look up videos on Teacher Tube or YouTube, read awesome teacher blogs...FIND YOUR PERSON! Accept feedback, focused feedback is the best!
I will be back soon with the next installment.


Marzano, R. (2012). Becoming a reflective teacher.Bloomington, IN: Marzano Research Laboratory.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Becoming a Reflective Teacher Part 2

Last post we discussed your why. Why are you teaching, what is the motivation for you to continue being the best teacher ever?
 Your personal why.

 In today's post I want to discuss why should we use reflective teaching as a strategy to be a better teacher.  My question for you today is WHAT is Reflective Teaching?
What do you think it is? (Go ahead and think out loud if you must , or write it down on a Post-It note.)
To answer the what is it question, let's dive into the research behind it. Did you know that there is a relationship between your students' achievement, your skill level and using  reflective practice?
It's true, reflective practice has been around a while, in fact Buddha, Socrates, and Plato all encouraged their students to examine their lives. Moving forward in 1983 Donald Schon wrote a book called The Reflective Practitioner , where he applied the concept of reflection to various professions to show that not only do researchers generate professional knowledge, but practitioners such as doctors, TEACHERS, architects, and engineers do as well. He goes on to say that "competent practitioners usually know more than they can say"and calls this "knowing-in-action". (Marzano, 2012) I want you to be one of those teachers, you know who they are, they make teaching look so easy because they are "knowing-in-action". They have it all together, they can answer all your questions and their classroom runs like a dream. If they can do it so can you!
What do you need to do to become a Reflective Teacher? I am glad you asked, let's start small and easy:
Journaling: This is the best way to start individual reflecting. I realized that I have been doing this since I was in 8th grade. I have kept a journal since 1980-something, and it does really help you look back and learn from your mistakes!

Can you do that? Yes? try this...

Reflect with a co-worker: Are you cooperatively planning? Do you have a 'person' at school that you can share your great works as well as your blunders? Find one, you can't do this alone, find a good mentor, a good friend that will tell you the truth and will be a good listener and encourager.

It is easier to reflect with a buddy, it does get a little trickier for the next two, but if you are a go-getter a self starter, then maybe you can be the voice of change where you are.

Reflect with your team: Your grade level team can be a good source of data feedback. Do you have a PLC or an Action research study group? If not START one!

Next one, you might have to talk to your principal. any principal wanting better teachers will totally agree with you!

School-wide Reflection: Committees that focus on specific content area are all the rage this year, get involved!
Stay tuned for the next post on Becoming a Reflective Teacher when we discuss HOW to be a Reflective Teacher!


Marzano, R. (2012). Becoming a reflective teacher. Bloomington, IN: Marzano Research Laboratory.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Becoming a Reflective Teacher-Part One

Welcome back to school!
I am ready! Are you?
Let me start with what has been in my brain all summer long. I was asked to be a part of our school's Professional Development team, along side some really wonderful, smart , knowledgeable educators. Needless to say I was honored.
My group is responsible for  Reflective Teaching Practices. I am so excited about this, because my ultimate goal in teaching is to help other teachers become the BEST teacher they can be. (Sounds like an old Army commercial, I know but it is true!)
So let's start out with the basics. WHY?
Why should we as teachers reflect upon our teaching skills? Many of you say, because it will make me a better teacher, or so I know not to do that lesson again or even who has time to sit and think at the end of the day, please! Today I am going to take you through the WHY process and help you see that once you know why you are doing it, (and believe me YOU are doing it, even if you don't call it reflecting) you will actually realize that your WHY is your driving force. By becoming a Reflective Teacher you will improve your students' achievements, improve your evaluations with your administrator and realize the potential within you to be the BEST!
Why did you become a teacher? We all know it wasn't for the paid vacations, or for that awesome benefits package, and the pay is unreal, (Do you see my eyes rolling?) let's cut to the chase, you are a teacher because you love children, you want to make a difference, you have a PASSION for it, am I right?
Why do you teach the things you teach? Is it the same reason? Or is it because the proverbial "THEY" tells you what to teach?
Take time today and write down your WHY. I believe once you figure that out, then Reflecting will become easier.
I am planning on making this a series of posts on how to become a Reflective Teacher. I am using the book
Becoming a Reflective Teacher by Robert Marzano.
I hope you stick around for a few weeks and discover how to become a better teacher, validating what you are doing right and growing into the BEST teacher you can be!