September 25, 2011

Week 7 Focus: Structured Participation

This past week's focus was structured participation. I am lucky enough to have a handful of students who are always participating and volunteering to share their work on the whiteboard for the class. However, I noticed that I am doing a poor job of checking for understanding with my more reserved students. My solution: call on every student in each of my classes. Enter my focus.

How does one keep track of participation? I decided to make a copy of my seating chart and put it in a page protector. In one class period, I was able to check off every student's name (that means everyone answered one of my questions). Great! Except, I now see that the real battle will be getting each student to come up to the whiteboard. So after one day, I turned my attention to the boardwork. I think it's easy for me to call on every student to answer questions, but I find it harder to get each student up to the whiteboard. For now, I will continue to use my seating chart to track participation.

How do other teachers track participation? And maybe I am digressing a little, but what are some different ways you check for understanding?

What is TIP?

As a first year teacher, the district provides me a teacher mentor. Each week I spend two hours with my mentor. We spend one hour conferencing where I decide a focus for my week. During the second hour, my mentor visits my classroom later in the week to observe how I am doing with my focus.

My goal here is to reflect on how I did with my focus, as well as seek advice from fellow educators regarding my focuses.