I often describe this part of the school year as the part of the year with training wheels on. Typically, I all the metaphorical training wheels to stay on through the first semester so that the kiddos are ready to ride autonomously 2nd semester. But, that was in a kingdom far far away known as Non-Vanguardia. Under the rule of Vanguardia, the training wheels have to come off much quicker and at different times depending on the learner.
So who we are and what we are workin’ with...
Classes-- 90% freshman, 10% refried upper classmen. ALL classes consist of a combination of these learners---On level, co-teach, in-class support, resource, g/t, pre-ap overflow, 504, and ESL beginner, intermediate, and advanced level.
Our digital tools and resources---15 chromebooks, 2 netbooks, 4 ipads, student cell phones, ItsLearning, Google Drive, Inigma QR Code Reader, and Socrative.
So the 1st 6 weeks...
Formative assessment was the theme.
Our norms-- Daily 6 minute ‘think and writes’, daily share outs via volunteers and random selection, partner and/or independent work, content knowledge acquired from digital resources, and small group instruction provided as needed.
The pedagogical verbs--self-paced note taking, student choice, student self pacing, metacognitive reflection, and daily writing.
My City Project-- The formative and summative assessment purpose of this project was to test student ability to apply and demonstrate understanding the information from their self-paced notes without teacher explanation or lecture as well as observe how they approached the task of doing a “project”.
Tic Tac Toe Menu-- This was lighter version of what I would do in the spring, but in the interest of fast tracking training wheel removal I decided to experiment with student choice this 1st 6 weeks.
After both learning activities, student’s wrote reflections on the process. Although many of the reflections were very "I am writing what I think the teacher wants to hear" (training wheels), there were 1st 6 weeks glimmers of breakthrough and authentic metacognition.