Monday, July 25, 2016

Making Teaching/Learning Goals Explicit

Too often goal setting doesn't result in good work. This is often true because the goal setting does not identify the success criteria and tracking processes upfront.

To set a goal and move towards that goal with careful thought and attention is an amazing process. To honestly identify the goal's movement from start to finish provides information that helps us to reach the goal with strength, and reaching a goal with strength means that we're doing the work we set out to do.

As I think about my teaching/learning goals, goals that are mandated by the Massachusetts' Educator Evaluation system, I want to clearly identify the success criteria and tracking process.

Student Learning Goal
Students will progress in the following areas:
  • Identified fifth grade math standards
  • Identified learning-to-learn mindsets and behavior with a focus on collaboration, character, perseverance, organization, empathy, confidence, self-awareness, and self-advocacy
Success Criteria/Tracking
Formal and informal formative and summative assessments will demonstrate growth. Assessments will include the following:
  • Math Progress: Content, Concept, Skill Assessments, Project Work, and Oral/Written Reflections.
  • Learning-to-Learn Mindsets and Behavior Assessments: Observation, conversation, reflection, project work.
  • With acknowledgement of new ESSA requirements, tracking will identify growth for all students including the categories of economically disadvantaged, English Language Learners, Special Needs, and Historically Underserved Cultural/Racial Groups.
Teaching/Learning Path
The path to meet these goals will include the following elements:
  • Explicit introduction, discussion, and goal setting related to each goal.
  • Transparent, inclusive student-teacher project work, practice, reflection, revision, and assessments as part of the overall learning/teaching process
  • Open, honest communication with the learning team related to teach goal and the activity related to that goal
  • Regular parent/student meetings and communication related to individual coaching for each goal. 
  • Extra support where needed to support children's needs related to the goals above. 
I look forward to explicitly sharing the goals, success criteria, and tracking processes above with students as we learn. I will not explicitly discuss the ESSA goal categories with the whole class to avoid any kind of judgement, prejudice, or name calling. However, I will pay attention to those categories as I teach and look for ways that I can build greater cultural proficiency to make good growth for all students including those specifically identified by ESSA. 

A tight focus as noted makes the teaching/learning year more interesting and focused on what I can do for and with children. We know that good progress mostly depends on the relationships we make with students and the time and attention we invest in each child. Our good work matters in this regard.