Sunday, March 14, 2010

That Workshop Book: Reflection 5

Our district has adopted Progress Book. It is a transparent, on-line grade book that provides parents constant access to their child's progress at school. It is also meant to provide administrators easy access to the happenings in each classroom and a streamline, consistent recording system for teachers. Needless to say, there has been a GREAT deal of conversation about how to authentically and thoughtfully use this tool in the best interest of our students (particularly primary students).
While reading, That Workshop Book, I immediately thought of Progress Book when Samantha Bennett said, "Many brilliant, amazing teachers, when you ask them how they know what their students know and are able to do, would answer ......they know their students deeply and can tell you stories about them, their lives, their habits as students, their likes and dislikes. But when you ask them "HOW do you know?" they answer, I just see it all like that, you see". Samantha goes on to explain that this is wonderful but we need to be asking ourselves- How do I know all of my students are growing in their skills and understanding reading? How do I help students make "invisible" skills of reading "visible"? What can I do to help my students read better?
Progress book requires us to make these invisible skills visible. We are going to be held accountable by our administrators, parents and colleagues. But after reading and reflecting on this part of That Workshop Book, I was reminded of WHY I chose this amazing occupation and WHO I should keep in mind when using this new tool. It is all about the learners in my classroom. I want to make sure that I stay true to what I believe as an educator/learner, that really knowing your students means knowing their likes/dislikes, their habits and life stories. It also means knowing how to SHOW them their growth as learners. Progress Book is really requiring me to shift my ways of showing my students growth. It is so important that I don't let it change the avenues we use to accomplish this growth. I am hoping to find a way to make Progress Book work for my students and I- that instead of focusing on the scores/points/grades- we should focus on the journey of learning.

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