Thursday, June 23, 2016

Eight: Assess Attitudes, Effort, and Skill

Ruth Charney in her wonderful book, Teaching Children to Care, Classroom Management for Ethical and Academic Growth, points to the need for educators to be explicit about every classroom expectation.

The system I work in explicitly outlines the social skills, work habits, and math effort elements they expect students to reach for throughout the school year. It's important that students and their families understand these expectations explicitly in order to reach the goal of exhibiting and employing these attributes to support successful learning. One way to explicitly relay and quantify these attributes is to present students with a survey to complete at the start, middle, and end of the year.

The initial survey results can be used to inform a teacher and students about his/her student team. The same survey can be used to relay and discuss a student's overall attitude and behavior related to learning with family members and the student during early year conferences.

I plan to use the survey below, a survey that includes the areas our district has decided to target with regard to social skills, work habits, and math effort. I have also added a couple more questions related to knowledge, growth mindset, and math attitude--areas that affect student knowledge and application of the attributes listed.

I will review the survey questions with students before they take the survey. As I review the questions, students and I will discuss each area so that everyone understands the questions. We will also discuss the survey process and how that helps students to learn well and achieve their goals. I'll explain that the survey results will be shared with family members at the first conference too, and I'll urge students to be honest so that as the year moves forward they'll be able to see their growth in this regard.

I've made two copies of the survey, one for students and one for you to try out should you like to see how the survey works and what questions are included. If you have any ideas or thoughts related to this survey, please let me know as I'll likely make a few edits prior to the school year.