Thursday, September 17, 2015

What do you want students to learn?

What do you want students to learn?
Think about the learning desired and then the tools 

Courtesy: CollegeDegrees 360 "Learning"  Courtesy: CollegeDegrees 360 "Student"

    
"What do you want students to learn?"

    This question is what I like to begin with any discussion I have with a teacher when we start a planning session for an activity or lesson.  Why start with this question?  I think it should be obvious, but if you do not start with what the intended learning outcome is, all other planning on activities and  resources is futile.  Having the intended learning identified helps teacher(s) develop a plan that effectively supports and encourages the learner to work with resources that lead to the targeted result.  
    As a Technology Learning Coach I hope that all strategies or tools I share with teachers will be used and implemented after identifying the learning desired.  I do not want teachers to try and make learning "fit" to a tool they want to use.  Fitting learning to an activity or tool will accomplish completion and sometimes engaging experiences but in the end does not maximize student learning as much as it can be when the goal is identified first.  My posts this year along with Teacher spotlights and student spotlights will hopefully make clear that learning and student success is of the utmost importance.

How I Start

1)  Get to know my colleague - This is paramount to building a collaborative relationship with a teacher.  My first questions when I meet with a teacher are "How are you as a person?"  Their answer to this tells me a lot about them and shows them I am interested in them as a person, not just a person to practice Peer Coaching with."

2) Set Expectations - I make it clear to the collaborator that this relationship is driven by them.  I am their support and want to help them meet whatever goals they lay out.  To do that I make sure protections are set up for both them and myself so meeting times are respectful and the needs of each are clear so that work is efficiently completed. 

3) Identify the Goals - This can be a short term goal or the teacher may be thinking across the entire year.  From this identification, we then begin the process of determing what is the "student learning" desired and work backwards to make an action plan to meet this learning.  It is not until we have identified learning goals that we even discuss tech tools or even teaching strategies.  Taking these steps do take time but going in this order makes the work we need to do together much clearer.  

4) Designate Future Work and Next Meeting Time - At the end of any peer coaching meeting I always ask "What is work or help you need from me before we meet again?"  Along with my work we establish "What is work the Collaborating Teacher needs to have done?"  With these items identified both have homework and clear goal of what is needed to be successful in the next meeting.

It's Your Turn

How do you begin planning for activities or lessons in your classroom or with colleagues?  

What protocols do you use?  (I find resources like Les Foltos' work on Peer Coaching is a great start.)

How has Peer Coaching or Collaborative Planning enhanced student learning in your classroom?  

Please share or tweet me @TylerAbernathy1 



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Make Common Sense Common (MCSC) by Tyler Abernathy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.