I have said before that the beginning of a new school year is one of my favorite times as a teacher. It also marks the time of year that I am particularly alert to how my kids learn. We do a lot of assessments at the beginning of the year to get a ‘snapshot’ of where students are at in their understanding, but I am more interested in how my students learn and what I can do to help them move on from where they are at.
Our first unit of the year is “Who We Are” and we will be looking at ourselves as learners and what helps us to and hinders us from, learning. I am looking forward to learning more about my students through this unit. In addition, I hope to learn more about myself as a teacher and the types of interventions I can put in place based on the behaviors I observe in my classroom.
At a recent faculty meeting, we were given a document titled Level 1 Interventions for Teachers. It was from the Palo Alto Unified School District in Palo Alto, California. The document describes typical behaviors that you might see in your class under different headings: behaviors to indicate visual perception problems, auditory perception problems, lack of self-control etc. Each of these bullet point lists is paired with a complementary strategies list: things that you can do in your class as soon as you see these behaviors popping up in your room. Here is an example:
What I like about the lists is that they give really solid ideas on what you can do quickly and efficiently in your room in order to help a child become a little more successful in their learning. The lists are long and there is a lot to them. As teachers, we might even find ourselves referring to these lists daily as we work with our student and look for ways to provide a learning environment that best helps them learn. This is a lot of work! Changing the way we do things in order to best meet our kids needs? Observing our kids and making changes to our lesson delivery – yes, a lot of work, but totally worth it because: