Hands up if you stayed so late in your building during your first years of teaching that you closed the school with the custodians?
Yup. I was there. And you will still, to date, find me burning the midnight oil. What changed over the years is the nature of the work that I pore over. New technologies at the tip of our fingers today, make planning a lot more efficient for tomorrow.
I am also learning to learn with and from my students. I am learning to listen to what my students think they get out from our learning experience, learning to ask the right questions to unearth how they’d like to proceed with their learning, learning to design a unit of study based on their interests, and more importantly, I am learning to be flexible in the way I approach planning.
You know what I found that makes all of this super-easier? Google forms.
I started off playing around with the “Exit Slip” template to craft 2-3 questions to promote student reflection. And I don’t only ask my students to think back at the end of our weeks-long units; I also ask in the beginning of a self-paced study for goal setting, at the end of a lesson to plan for next steps, in the middle of an inquiry to check-in,… You get the picture. I get so much information from my students, planning instruction has become that much easier, that much more powerful, and that much more personalized for my learners. And my students now expect to self-reflect, set goals, give and get feedback. They know, in our classroom, they have voice and choice, and more importantly, they know their voices are heard, their choices are valued.
It’s really as easy as 1-2-3. Check out some examples of how used Google Forms to make teaching and learning personalized in our classroom:
- Planning for cycle of work
- Reflecting on end of cycle
- Planning for self-paced study
- Reflecting on self-paced study
- Weekly reflection
I am now focusing on crafting better questions to elicit the kinds of “meaty” feedback to shape teaching and learning in our classroom.
I love how teaching and learning is always ever-evolving, from one day to the next.