No, this blog post isn’t about basketball.
Rather, I’ve decided to challenge myself to reflect and blog every day this month.
I’ve always been someone with a bend towards reflection. However, it was often a bend towards what worked well and how I can do more of it. The last little while, though, has caused me to reflect more on the gaps in my understanding and pedagogy and to make tangible improvements in my practice.
Now to provide some context around one problem I’ve been wrestling with. I teach in a middle school, in a program that is attended by students from all over our school district. That means that many students live outside our immediate neighbourhood and are bussed to school. With the way that busses are scheduled, a large percentage of my students actually leave before the end of the day. The last 10 minutes or so of class have been particularly hard for me, with waning student attendance and confusion as to what the expectation is for students that remain. It was clear that the status quo wasn’t working, so I tried something new today.
One student called it “the committee”.
Instead of our usual limbo time, I brought all the remaining students together at the “board room table” in our classroom and gave the time over to them. They were tasked with sharing their thoughts on how things were running in the classroom and what we can do to make improvements. They gave a huge amount of input around the 20-minute block we have after recess. They mentioned things they noticed were happening (or weren’t happening), and provided suggestions to improve how time is used in that block. It worked beautifully, and I can’t wait to try out some of their ideas next day. There’s still a lot of room to work with around what these little end-of-day sessions will look like, but I am optimistic about how this will evolve.