Back To School

Posted: January 8th, 2015 | Author: | | 2 Comments »

Pupil Drawing 2

The 2015 Kenyan school year has begun.

This school year will be the first where Bridge has a cohort old enough to sit for the KCPE high-stakes exam in November. That’s the test which determines high school access.

Our team did a big overhaul of curriculum. Early in the school year, we organize a ton of observational visits and talk to a double ton of teachers, try to gauge reaction on “how is this new stuff doing?” As the year goes on, we increasingly use data to answer that question.

Today my colleague Priscilla was observing a first grade lesson. She writes an evaluation and sends it to Annie, who is

building the lessons. Annie also gets a video clip so she can watch it herself.

Priscilla writes:

Today’s lesson was the new “read aloud interspersed with questions” template. It was a good balance of storytelling/listening and interactive comprehension. What made it work (in my opinion) was Regina’s delivery as the teacher, and interspersed question, which were the “right level.” (Q: What would you do with trash if you found it on the ground? A: “Say sorry to the earth.” “Pick it.” “Sweep the ground.” “Pick it and burn it.”). This not only showed pupil comprehension but that they were ready/naturally going in the applied-direction.

Turn and talks seem valuable to pupil confidence/participation and teacher attention. Pupils definitely grew more comfortable with the turn and talks by the time the last one came around. I’m still not convinced that kids are having conversations about their answers where they actually listen, but I’m definitely convinced in the value added of turn and talks so that teachers can pick out pupil thought processes. TR noted, “I like turn and talks because they let kids enlarge their thoughts. It makes them more active and I understand how to help each pupil better instead of calling on a low or high pupil.”

Drawing brought out some ridiculously excited and creative pupils. I’ve never seen a drawing lesson where pupils are allowed this much flexibility. More importantly, it felt like a level-appropriate reward for pupils who had been extremely attentive and participatory throughout a lesson (without a textbook). Here are two of the pupils.

Pupil Drawing 1

2 Comments on “Back To School”

  1. 1: Sarah Tantillo said at 6:54 am on January 9th, 2015:

    Hi, Mike–Thanks for another fascinating post. Regarding the question of how to ensure that students actually listen to one another during Turn and Talk, I’ve found that you can tee students up by prefacing the T and T with this: “I’m going to ask you what YOUR PARTNER said, so make sure you’re ready to report on that.” This is one of a dozen strategies for training students to listen described in The Literacy Cookbook (chapter 4). Cheers, SarahT.

  2. 2: Michael Goldstein said at 12:46 pm on January 11th, 2015:

    Thanks Sarah!

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