The curriculum I use for math comes with some differentiation of work. There are different worksheets and several versions of tests available. The worksheets work pretty well because for my class because there are usually several for each lesson that fit the needs of my students. What I have found frustrating are the chapter tests. Although there are several versions of a multiple choice and free-response test, they are almost always very text heavy. I don’t feel like they align very well with the worksheets and book work either. I have several students in my class who aren’t able to effectively express what they know in math on these types of assessments. For this reason, I have created my own versions of assessments to better support these students. The assessments I have created have the same content but are less text heavy. Differentiated Math Test is an example of one of these assessments (although it didn’t scan well).
Looking back over the quarter, one of the areas where I have grown the most is with feedback. I wasn’t always comfortable with feedback. I worried that I wouldn’t respond well to what someone was saying, or that I would take it too personally. I’ve come to see feedback as a gift. When someone gives me thoughtful feedback, I see it as a gift of their time and energy. The feedback that I have received from classmates, professors and my Cooperating Teacher, Principal and Field Instructor has been so valuable to me. Gaining insight from these individuals has expanded my thinking, deepened my perspective and allowed me to justify my own position at times. I’ve also been able to take this feedback to set growth goals for myself.
This feedback is part of the larger process of being reflective. I feel that I have become more reflective as I move through this program. I’ve been able to get to know my students better over the past several weeks and a lot of this is due to reflection. Almost everyday after school, my CT and I sit and talk about how the day went, specific students and general plans for the future. We don’t get much down in writing in the plan book, but this reflective process has been so powerful. I’ve been able to use what I’ve uncovered to help plan lessons and differentiate my instruction for specific students.
I look forward to translating this new approach to feedback to benefit my students. I’m planning on building in more opportunities to give my students feedback. I hope they will use this as an opportunity to think more deeply about their own learning and to take more ownership.