Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Teaching Tip #179

Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #179

To earn the WEM award, I had to answer several questions in essay format.  Here is one of them that I found particularly interesting.

As a teacher, what is your misson?

3. One of my missions is to catch students doing something right every day.  Then I capture it and share it with their parents (and the community). I want to show the parents how amazing their kids are. During class I will snap a picture of a student giving a presentation or working on a project.  I publish it to Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, tagging their parents in the post.  
In College Comp II, we read Carmine Gallo’s Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds.  At the end, students must deliver their own TED Talk in front of their peers. Last year I had a student who struggled with depression previously. As a result, she did her TED Talk on overcoming depression.  I visited with her parents during fall conferences how proud I was of her for working so hard and totally blossoming in my class as a senior despite her struggles the pervious year.  So when I saw this student doing an amazing job of honestly sharing her personal battle with depression, I snapped a quick picture and shared it on social media, tagging her parents.  Immediately her peers from other classes and around the area were commenting on her picture.  Before class ended, her parents reached out to thank me for sharing the picture and giving them a little window into their daughter’s amazing talk.
Ultimately, there isn’t an assignment or subject I teach that I’m not trying to reach out to parents or the community.  This can be as simple as having students interview their parents about a subject we are studying.  I do this for our film review unit when we watch Jaws. I have students ask their parents where they were when they first saw Jaws.   Every class I get a couple of great stories.  A student said his parents watched it on their first date.  It rained during the movie, and the student’s mom refused to walk across it to get to the car, so the student’s dad had to actually pick her up right outside the theatre!  Other times I will have students share what they are reading for my classes with their parents.  Last fall I had a student share the book Outliers with her father, who is the CEO of one of our town’s largest business.  He told her that Outliers was one of his favorite books.  I invited him to come in and speak to the class, which he did.
Twice a year, I present to our school board, most of whom have students either in my class or in the district, a sample tech-related lesson from my class.  It is important to offer our school board a window into how the teachers are using technology to improve our teaching since the taxpayers spent so much money in order for us to become a 1:1 district.  I also ask my students once per semester to present projects to the school board.  Again, it is important to show the community the amazing things our students do every day in school.   Our local paper covers every school board meeting.  As a result, there have been several stories published about the student projects in my class.  The latest article, entitled “Students Encouraged to Become Linchpins” was from October when the newspaper editor took pictures of my students’ Linchpin boards at a board meeting and wrote about the assignment and the amazing results.
Finally, at the end of my College Comp 2 class, I have my seniors take their final exam via interview format with the Human Resource department at our largest local business, Digi Key.  Students are interviewed about what they have learned in class.  Then I share with the students, their parents, and our administration the scores and comments from the team.  Again, our principal and superintendent have spoken to me about the immense feedback they get from parents and the Human Resource department at Digi Key about the skills the students are being taught.

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