Phase 5: Conferencing with Colleagues and Student Study Groups
In Phase 4, I identified a potential problem with my Imagine-IT. How will I build a family community (culturally Relevant classroom) in the classroom in order for Project Based Learning projects to improve student’s interaction, retention and learning of math content.
Before finalizing my plans for implementing my Imagine-It, I had several discussions with Ms. Low and Mrs. Ward two of my colleagues who also teach math in our small K -6th grade building. I explained my Imagine-It and shared the video then I asked if my plan for spending lunch/recess with my students would help to build a culturally relevant environment for learning. Ms. Lowe asked if I had a plan for making sure that the students that really needed to attend would plan to spend lunch/recess with me and the other students and if they didn’t how would I get them to buy in to the idea of a family community. She explained that if I don’t get everyone participate, some students won’t be a part of the family building. Mrs. Ward suggested that maybe I should rotate the students who stayed for the lunch/recess periods. She said that this way I could include a good mixture of the students so they can get to know each other better and learn to respect each other and their differences. Other suggestions were directly related to the types of projects that would engage students. The suggestions about the projects had to do with the length of the project and providing check points to insure that students were working well together and keeping up with the flow of the project. Next, I talked to a focus group of about 10 of my students during one of our lunch/recess periods. We spent the time talking about my Imagine-It and watching the video and discussing what it meant for learning in the classroom. After watching the video and talking about it, I asked students what they thought about my idea. Several students had concerns about students holding them back or making it difficult for them to learn and suggested that we should have something to help rate the level of engagement for everyone. Paul, a shy student who struggles with math, said, “He was worried about others laughing at him if he got something wrong.” Samantha responded to Paul’s concern by asking if that’s what our lunch/recess meeting are suppose the help with. I explained that it was and asked how did they think learning through projects would help to improve their learning. For the most part all the students were in favor of working through project to learn to apply the skill they are learning.
Following the discussions with both my colleagues and student focus group, I’m better prepared to implement my Imagine-It. As suggested by my colleagues, I will allow students to sign up to be a part of the lunch recess group and then also invite some students to attend. This way I can make sure that the community of students are diverse.