AVID, Classroom Strategies

Metacognition Hyperdoc

This year I’m doing something entirely crazy with my AVID class–I’m going (mostly) gradeless! It’s a bit scary, seeing as I have to report grades each six weeks. So, my solution is to have students keep a portfolio, then reflect on their progress and effort each six weeks. It’s not perfect, but we’re all in it together.

That leads me to ask, how do I get a group of squirrely and wonderful 8th graders, and teach them how to reflect on and assess their own learning?

Teach them about metacognition!

I started the school year by having my students learn about their learning through this Metacognition Hyperdoc. Huge shoutout to Hyperdocs for the rad template! I appreciate these templates; they’re a great starting point to plan our learning journey.

I guided my students through the Hyperdoc, and scaffolded quite a bit of work, especially their time management.

Learning to Think about our Thinking

Metacognition Hyperdoc

During the Explore phase, I put up a timer for 15 minutes, just for exploring the linked resources. Then, I put up another timer for 5 minutes to allow them to synthesize what they learned into their own definition.

Together, we moved onto the Explain phase, and read the article Metacognition: The Gift That Keeps Giving together. Before we read, we brainstormed strategies that good readers do, then used those strategies when working. Students came up with things like: skim the text to see the structure, including headings and pictures; highlight main ideas; write notes in the margins.

When we read the article, we “talked to the text” (learn more here), as it seemed like our best strategy for practicing metacognition. It felt very natural for us to practice this as we read! I modeled the first few paragraphs, students worked in partners for a couple more paragraphs, then finished by talking to the text on their own, and sharing their notes with another partner.

Go, Learn a Thing!

Finally, we introduced their project in the Apply phase. Students committed to spend a few days learning something completely new to them, and reflecting on their learning process. I borrowed this idea from my friend, Doug Robertson, who does a lengthy Learn a Thing project with his students (scroll through his Twitter & Instagram for pics and info). Together, we created the rubric and set of criteria they would use evaluate their peers’ project.

Students had a blast finding something new to learn! A couple chose to learn magic tricks, one wanted to learn different knot types, and many chose to learn a new language. Our goal wasn’t mastery, but more to feel the feelings of trying something brand-new, and how our brains react to the excitement and challenge.

We all agreed this could be a much longer project! After our short two days, students presented their learning journey (not final result) to a group of 3 peers. Their small audience filled out a peer evaluation (read more here) after the presentation.

I’m grateful we started our school year off talking about metacognition, as it has been an anchor for many of our discussions, goals, and projects throughout the semester!

[And, we were having SO much fun with this, I didn’t get a chance to take any pictures of us in action!]

 

 

 

Classroom Strategies

Be an Ally!

September 24-28, 2018 was an incredibly important week, and I didn’t see much in the EduTwitter world about it — it was GLSEN’s Ally Week!

According to GLSEN, “an ally is a member of a privileged group who advocates against oppression. An ally works to create social change rather than participate in oppressive actions.”

Being an ally

Part of being an ally means speaking up and standing with the oppressed group, but not speaking for them. We recognize that each individual’s experience is unique, and part of a complex web of intersecting identities (including age, race, religion, culture, region of the world/country, etc.).

As a cisgendered heterosexual individual, I have not experienced oppression based on my gender expression and sexual orientation. (Cisgendered = my biological sex and gender identity match; heterosexual = attraction to opposite gender)

How can we, as educators, be allies to our LGBTQ+ students?

  1. Use inclusive language. Examples: “y’all” “friends” “students” (instead of “you guys” “girls” “boys”)
  2. Respect preferred gender pronouns (read more about pronouns here)
  3. Confront anti-LGBTQ+ behavior, bullying, and language. For example, if a student says “that’s so gay,” respond by asking them what exactly is bothering them, and help them pick a different description word, such as “that’s so boring.”
  4. Post a safe space sticker and/or poster in your classroom, office, or workspace. Download yours here!
Screen Shot 2018-09-12 at 6.19.56 PM
Inclusive question on a recent school-wide form. Categories brainstormed by our GSA members.

Awareness is our first step, and is always a growth process. Little things, such as making inclusive and non-gender-binary questions on forms go a long way for supporting our students!

Remember, if a student shares information with you, it’s confidential. I know I have students who are more open about one or more of their identities at school, but cannot safely tell their families outside of school.

Celebrating Ally Week at school

My school was on Fall Break for Ally Week this year, so our GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) had our Ally Week celebration early, during our weekly lunch meeting. Thanks to the support of a GLSEN San Diego friend and recent grad of our local high school, we had some teacher resources, stickers, buttons, and ideas to plan our party. Students brought an ally friend, and my co-advisor and I brought snacks. We defined allies and how we can be upstanders at our school, then enjoyed spending time together!

Our Ally Week celebration!

The next day, with teachers we hosted a similar lunch club with snacks! After discussing how to be an ally, we went through some gender and sexual orientation vocabulary, including playing a vocab matching game from the GLSEN teacher guide. Overwhelmingly, our teachers appreciated this learning opportunity, and are already asking when we’ll host the next one!

For both groups, we used these slides to share some basics and lead our discussion.

This is one of those times where I know I’m not the expert in the room, yet I’m not going to let that hold me back from supporting my students, colleagues, and friends. Because that’s what an ally does: we advocate, support, listen, ask questions, and unconditionally love. I am constantly going back to the GLSEN Teacher Resources to make sure I’m using the correct language, and making my classroom an inclusive and safe space.

If you are a GSA advisor or work with LGBTQ+ youth, I’d love to connect via Twitter & email!