Monday, March 23, 2015

Teacher Evaluations!


This year the teacher evaluation our county chose to use was created by Charlotte Danielson. (This was only the 4th time they changed it in 4 years!) However, due to funding (and possibly insanity) our county chose to use the 76 indicator model. SEVENTY-SIX INDICATORS!


It was complete madness. Some of what you had to prove were how the students placed the furniture. I mean really??!! Through the piles of pages on 4 domains, I did happen to learn a few things about my teaching practice. I also discovered two areas that I thought were valuable. One of those areas were the students generating higher-level questioning. At first I thought there was no way my second graders could do that, but I was WRONG. My seven and eight-year-olds amazed me with their thinking and their ability to ask questions that really made us all think. A colleague provided us with some great stem questions and it was relatively easy to show the kids how to use these to help themselves really think about text. I think the reason it went so smoothly is that we have been asking and answering higher-level questions for some time. It was exciting to see the students so passionate about thinking and directing their own learning.


The second part of the evaluation that I felt helped me was the area where students help determine their own criteria for evaluations. (I wish they had let us do this!) For several weeks, all the criteria for all assessments, such as exit tickets or graphic organizers, were set up by the students and myself. I have always told the kids what they needed to get to a certain point (whether is is a grade or a performance based grade). However, actually writing it down together really empowered the kids and allowed them to feel as if they are a part of their own success. We came up with several specific expectation charts. I could tell a huge difference in effort and performance based on this work. We had always gone by our general guidelines, but this allowed for student input and was more specific to the given assessment.
So even though I didn't LOVE being evaluated on 76 indicators, I did learn a thing or two. It just goes to show you, we are always learning!