Posted: December 2, 2019

Plot – Evan

In our first two chapters of HOPE & JOY we focused on setting and characters.  With this next round we’re going to get into the plot of what happens in our classrooms each day.  For this week’s HOPE & JOY I talked with Evan about his 3rd grade class at Woodburn Elementary Veteran’s Day week.

How have things been going?

It’s hard to believe we’re about a third of the way through the school year.  November is kind of different month.  We had a great week of parent teacher conferences, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, it feels like each week is a little different.  Coming into this week I really felt like I was ready.  With the three day weekend I felt good about my planning and then it’s been kind of a struggle this week.  It’s taken us until Thursday to kind of find our way.

We’re getting into multiplication, developing student concepts related to doubling.  It’s felt like it’s taken us too long as a class to get to the learning I wanted.  It seems like we’ve been right on the edge of breaking through, but not quite there.  

How do you know when you get there?

Well for one thing, students are still needing my help.  One of my mentors told me that you know that scaffolding really works for students when the teacher doesn’t need to be there for the learning to happen.  This week, anytime we’ve tried to move towards independent work, the students are flocking back to me with questions.  That’s telling me we’re not there yet.  

So what do you do about that?

Well, I check in with my PLC team and ask them if they’re experiencing the same thing.  The conversation with them is always helpful in working through it.  You know I want students to be stretched, to have to struggle a bit, but this clearly wasn’t working for them.  

Were there other signs of it not working?  

Big eyes.  I have a student who really has been great about pushing herself through the struggle.  She’s been a persistent learner and I checked in on her and she looked at me with big eyes that said I need some help with this.  Sometimes one student can help you read the room for all.  She helped me with that.  

So what did you do?

I think one of the most powerful things I can do as a teacher is to reflect with my students.  I just try to be vulnerable and talk with them about this might not really be working for us.  We talk about what we want learning to look like and I get ideas from them about what will help them with the learning experience.  We had a great day today.  We stepped back, took the foot off the gas a bit and students really responded.  I realized I needed to give them a little more flexibility in the process and realize it’s not necessarily about mastery right now.  

Framework Links:

Reflection Questions – Plot

  • How do students give you feedback about lessons?
  • How do you know when to push the gas or pump the brakes during learning experiences?
  • Who helps support you in being a reflective teacher?