In Baltimore City Schools, teachers assess their skills through the Instructional Framework. This page showcases my work over 2021 in implementing T7 and how I cultivate a supportive learning community for my students. Bolded elements are the instructional effective “look fors” when evaluating my teaching.
Coping Skills & Leadership
One important part of my instruction are routines during the that create space for students to relieve stress, become aware of their emotions, and ground themselves in the present before starting class. In doing so, students demonstrate effective coping strategies or use supports teacher has put in place for coping.
Every Monday we start with sharing how our weekends went, what we did, how we are doing. Students have the option of also private messaging me how they are doing. If we are in an asynchronous class, I have the lesson by filling out a google form to check-in with me, tell me what they need. I also list coping skills for them to try if they are having a bad day.
Meditation Monday and Yoga Fridays are another strategy and structure I implement for coping skills. At the start and end of our week, we take 8 minutes to meditate or stretch, and then share how we feel different after the exercise. I often hear reports from students that they arrive to class upset, sad, angry, or tired, and by the end of the warm-up, they feel more relaxed, calm, and energized. I invite you to try one of the meditation we do for yourself ! (linked directly below). After we do the warm-up, a student leader in the class reads aloud our learning targets, providing a routines that appropriately build student leadership in leading the class.
Support, Affirmation, and Encouragement
At the end of unit, students share their artwork in a critique. The structure that is set up is that the artist is invited to share their artwork and has the option to pass. If they agree, they share a little about the artwork and the rest of the class gives them an opening applause! The positivity as the first response in a critique supports and affirms the student showcasing their work. Many students will unmute and clap, others will react with a celebratory emoji in their zoom windows, while still others will type in the chat, “LOUD CLAPS” lol
We then engage in critique where students students self-assess though a virtual google platform called Jamboard. This platform allows students leave sticky notes with positive comments to show peer support, ask questions or offer suggestions for areas of improvement. Students support one another through affirmation, encouragement, demonstrated empathy, or other supportive actions. I help facilitate the discussion by elevate insightful comments or asking students deeper questions regarding their comments. We end the critique with a final applause.
Redirection with minimal direction
As an effective teacher, when it’s necessary, I appropriately addresses, redirect or de-escalates student misbehavior or disruption, in a manner that solves the issue with minimal disruption to the lesson and student learning. At the start of the year, I asked the students what the preferred method of contact was when they need to be reminded to stay on task. The options included: private message in the zoom chat, a one-on-one conversation after class, verbal reminder, or other. I defer to their chosen methods of communication for the first warning. After that, I escalate my intervention to asking them to stay after class to talk about what is going on. Finally, if the situation is severe, I invite them into a breakout room to discuss what is going on. This 4th option provides the least amount of disruption for all students.