I believe that all students can learn—maybe not on the same day or in the same way, but every child has the ability within them. It is my honor and privilege as an educator to work diligently with each student to help them achieve their personal best. As Dr. Harry Chasty, UK psychologist and international consultant on learning abilities, once said: “If a child does not learn the way you teach, teach him/her the way s/he learns.” I couldn’t agree more! Our main goal as educators is just that—to empower each student that passes through our door every single day.
Some ways that I ensure 100% student achievement in my classroom are first, by keeping it a learner-centered environment. Each August, I have parents help their child complete an interest survey at home, which reveals not only the learners’ interests, but also the ways in which they personally learn best. I keep these handy and refer to them frequently throughout the year while crafting my lessons. Second, I use the “notice and adjust” model of teaching—noticing those students who are struggling and making meaningful adjustments to their instruction and assessments. Finding where a student is successful, giving them more chances to do it correctly, and consistently praising them for their achievements are the most effective ways to ensure personalized learning experience–propelling that student towards success.
Assessments are a key component in student achievement, if they are done consistently and feedback is given in a timely manner. In his book, Elements of Grading, Douglas Reeves states, “While annual high-stakes testing leaves students and teachers wondering about their success (‘We’ll know how we’re doing when we see the scores at the end of the year’), a system characterized by effective feedback offers a dramatically different view.” Feedback, including informal assessments, should be done frequently and consistently for each student.
I perform quarterly state and district assessments in reading and math for each of my students, as well as weekly/monthly informal assessments via reading running records, student conferencing and anecdotal notes. These assessments make way for individualized data-driven instruction, including differentiated guided reading, writing, and spelling small groups. For those struggling learners, I utilize Progress Monitoring and Response to Intervention (RtI) strategies, small group lessons, one-on-one conferences, and I regularly meet with my teaching team to discuss student progress.
By incorporating the strategies above, I am able to meet the needs of diverse student populations, learning styles, and readiness levels including Gifted Education, Special Education, ELL/ESL, Title 1, and high mobility.