Need to Improve: Engagement, Connection, and Persona

Reflections on Teaching 8/27

I need to learn my students names.  I cannot interact with them effectively if I do not know their names.  I think I made a mistake jumping into a fun semi-science related activity on the first day without doing a name game.  I think it would be valuable to do a name game for as much as half the first period so I can get to know them and their names.  In the future I think I’ll spend the whole first day on name and getting to know the students.  Maybe I should have had them make name tags for me to use over the first week or two.

I need to engage the students more.  Equity cards will help make sure all of the students are participating but I want engagement, not just participation.  How can I tap into the natural curiosity of young people to make them feel safe to ask questions and blur the lines between random questions and questions that are on topic about physics?  I want to have more students engaged at once.  I want students to have fun.  Using the cards to call people up to work helped me to learn some names but I still need to learn a lot more.

My third period class was out of control again and I had to stop and just get two minutes of silence while they thought about what to contribute next.  It probably took at least 5-8 minutes to get those two minutes of quiet but I think it might have helped and been worth it.  The back on track forms seem to help keep people on track better because it seems firmer than just a warning or acknowledgement of misbehavior.  Hopefully I can use them to see who is off track often and can follow up with them individually.  I would like to figure out some better strategies to keep is class on task and build the respect for when other students are participating.

I think involving students in the “lecture” portion of the day helped get more people involved and allowed me to sit at the loud table, which definitely helped quiet them down and focus their attention towards the board.  I think this will be worth doing so the students can get more autonomous and take some control over the classroom and their learning.  However, only two people up there still means many students sitting unengaged.  I would like to get most of the students doing something active throughout the lesson.

I need to get my room better organized and colorful.  I need a place to put the days assignments so that absent students can catch up and collect what they need on their own to help make them take ownership of their work.  My walls are mostly bare and that needs to change.  Once I get words on my word wall that area will start to look nicer.  Hopefully my advisory students will bring things in for their board to add some personality and pride. The Sienna flags will help too.

I need to plan more for tomorrow and this week to make my class more enjoyable and assist with student learning.  I’m excited to see how tomorrow’s discussion will turn out, but I am worried that the students currently are not that engaged when other students are presenting.  I need to find a way to work on this or my lesson structures will not be successful.

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