Teacher Reflection 180: Day 14

Day 14:

Summarize today’s lesson in just one sentence.

When I first started asking this question, it was a way for me to get quick student feedback without it seeming too in-depth for students.  The first few times I ask this exit question, I am just looking for the quick and slick points from the day.  After I get student’s feet wet, I take a little more time at the end of class for this activity.  Much like I do when I work with the 3 Acts lesson, I collect student responses and start writing them on the board.  This allows students to see everyone’s thoughts from the class so they can make further connections to the concept (note: before responses get posted on the board, I always go through a check-in process with students where I read their response and ask questions for further clarification or details).  As a class we then go through all the responses and create one sentence that is a collection of student thoughts.  Typically I will leave these up on the board for a few days for student reference.

Things I think of when I read student responses are:

Do students accurately know the objective of the day?

As many can relate to, students can take a vastly different version of the lesson than what you intend.  I always think of this when I look at student reflections, am I doing a good job creating a learning opportunity that clearly projects the objective I am wanting it to?  If not, what message am I providing?  What changes can I make so that students create the connection I am intending them to?

How well can they describe it?  Do they have a strong or weak understanding of the concept?

Just because students can tell you what we did that day does not mean it sticks with them or that they even understand it.  A classic example is my son.  He will be watching TV while I am talking to him.  When he doesn’t break eye contact with the TV, I will ask him to restate what information I told him.  He can do so without any problems.  When the time comes for him to use that information however, he can’t remember it- or if he does he can’t remember why he needed it or what it was for.  Many of my students have this ability- they remember things very clearly in the short term.  The next day or even the next week however is a totally different matter.  They have not learned how to make connections to their long term memory- which creates “learning gaps” that many in the education field refer to.  When I look at student responses, it becomes fairly clear which students are making either short term or long term connections to the concept.  My next step is to engage student’s brains so that they can make the transition from short to long term memory input and access.  Currently this is where I am working, and hoping that these student reflection are impacting student’s long term memories.

What points do you need to review with the class to strengthen this understanding?

I like reflections, they give me a map to how tomorrow’s lesson should unfold.  I will typically use them to create warm-ups for the next day.  I also typically modify the lesson to reach back into yesterday’s concepts instead of assuming that it is mastered.  If there is a small number of students who are struggling with the concept, I will create a time in class to pull them into small group work where we can remediate and correct misconceptions from the previous day.  I hope that student reflections lead me to this scenario, that means that I am hitting the class as a whole (for the most part) and it allows me to provide quick, easy intervention in a small group instead of having to plan for large group review.

Overall, this is my go-to question for reflection.  It is short and quick but also provides a great basis on which to judge student knowledge of the concept.  I hope it works as well for you.

Teacher Reflection 180: Day 4

What did I learn about my Math Class this week?

What did my students struggle with this week?

What did I do well  this week?

Where do I need to begin with this class next week?


Every class presents a new challenge for the year.  This year I did not know what to expect coming to a new district.  I found the kids to be much better than I anticipated, they are needy but they are willing to work with this strange new teacher on math that appears to be easier than what they expected.  I am still learning the internal pecking order of the kids, who to watch out for with peers, or with me.  I am starting to formulate a seating chart- students are showing me who they can and can’t sit by and productively work.


My students struggled with the transition to school after the summer.  They are re-learning to filter subjects and words in class, and are adapting to being shut inside for a good chunk of the day.  For class the biggest thing is attention spans- although I am pretty crazy the first weeks to grab that and maintain it (while also showing them it’s OK to have wrong answers or reactions- as long as you can appropriately correct them), they are still drifting.  I have a few plans to get that back on track.


My students really are loving the format of class.  Estimation 180 is going well, same with Visual Patterns and Mathshell Tasks.  I am liking the flow and student interaction and am feeling less drained at the end of the day than normal.


Next week I need to refresh classroom procedures and enforce them.. and keep enforcing them.  It’s better to start off hard and give them some slack than to go too easy.  You can never regain ground.