When working with kids, one of the first things I establish is the importance of their honest feedback. I’m especially interested in creating a language to discuss the difficulty level of a lesson or specific task. A numbered rating scale, once defined and practiced, is a useful means of eliciting immediate feedback. While it’s also important to gauge understanding, I can usually assess that without as much direct student feedback. On the other hand, the levels of effort, discomfort or anxiety, and interest can be masked by compliance and a good working relationship.
Feedback on mental effort is especially crucial for twice exceptional students (2e). These are the kids whose giftedness camouflages the energy drain of a lesson. 2e kiddos also enjoy a scale with a broad range of possibilities, so 1 through 10 is often preferable to 1 through 5. It’s worth letting them take the time to adjust the numbers precisely (I got an 8.5 level of difficulty yesterday, which is pretty high). The harder part can be helping them verbalize what features of the task made it so onerous. Just as these students can struggle to differentiate main ideas and details, they may also paint the assignment with a broad brush. Follow-up questioning elicits those details which then change my instructional materials or techniques. Providing kids routine opportunities to evaluate instructional tasks not only validates their efforts but improves their ability to analyze and self-monitor their learning. For me, it’s equally vital for improving my own skills as a teacher. Win-win!
The groom’s cake from a romantic wedding at Chateau Elan near Atlanta. The wedding cake was enormous and gorgeous, but who could resist this mahogany chocolate?
The room was silent as kids waited for me to burn my fingers or set fire to the house. Or both. Birthday parties bring out the child arsonist in me. A long time ago, I created all kinds of colorful fires with my chemistry kit (while my family slept). I enjoyed tossing every chemical I had into my little bunsen burner. What colorful flames! No wonder I love this blogging challenge.
Oh, magenta. Right. The balloon.
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Here is a link to a powerful post written by a mom as she watches her son struggle with anorexia. It is worth reading. Mental illness has such a stigma, such shame associated with it. This mom’s writing helps to demystify her son’s condition and provides hope that they will make it through this very hard journey. I appreciate her willingness to share their struggle.
I’m inching my way back to sanity after a hectic week. It’s such a treat to find time for reading through others’ blogs. I’d be inching the other way if I read every blog that interests me. An old (2013) stat says there are 152+ million blogs out there! Golly! My blog’s stats suggest that 152+ million folks don’t even know I’m here. I do have nearly that many spam comments, so does that count? Back to the business at hand. Here are my responses to Cee’s weekly questions. You should try her challenges! All 152+ million of you.
What chore do I absolutely hate doing? Hmm, I love any kind of cleaning but discarding teacher stuff is hard for me. I have stacks of papers and materials which are gathering cobwebs, waiting for me to cull and organize.
What was the last URL I bookmarked? That would be Zaption so I can access and edit my teaching videos quickly.
Close my eyes. Listen to my body. What part of my body is seeking attention? What is it telling me? I’m currently taking antibiotics so my digestive system is whining. I am giving it probiotics but a time out is in order if it doesn’t stop fussing.
Would I rather have a two-bedroom apartment in a big city of my choosing or a mansion in the countryside in the state or country where I currently live? I guess a mansion, so I’d have more room for my unculled stacks of teacher junk.