In an effort to get into more classrooms and try some strategies I have been reading/learning about over the past few weeks (including the idea of active caring versus passive caring, as well as student discourse during the class period), I reached out to some teachers who I felt would be willing to let me join them for a series of three days spread throughout the semester. Today, I was with Ms. Ward, an ambitious teacher who cares immensely for--and about--her students' well-being. The lesson she was planning to teach was a review of supplementary, complementary, and vertical angles, and I was given permission to try something new.
So I did, creating a Desmos Activity Builder that let students explore different angle measures and explain their reasoning, giving them an opportunity to wrestle with the meaning of supplementary, complementary, and vertical angles.
For me, the planning goals were:
- Try the geometry features of Desmos with a teacher who might end up using them again.
- Let students explore and discover content on their own, through minimal guidance
- Get students talking as much as possible about academic material
- Actively care about students
- Be aware of who I was calling on, and how, during the periods
A while back, Kassia Wedekind talked about a research study showing that teachers do not equitably call on students of color, notably black female students. The classroom in which I worked, for the entire day, was a great display of diversity, so it was a fun opportunity to check my own biases and make sure that I was elevating voices from students who don't look like me. While I can easily look back and think that I was fair in who had the floor, this is something I can actively work on, grow from, and strive to be better about.
Today, overall, I had the honor of elevating the voices for students of color, accumulating dozens of fist bumps and smirks of affirmation in a way that no other job can do. Today was a REALLY good day.
Teachers, please do not discount the work that you do on a regular basis to actively care about, and for, your students. In talking with Ms. Ward after the last bell had rung, I was reminded of how many little things go into the day for the teacher who truly, actively, cares for her students. Knowing that this student is struggling because (fill in Maslow-related need here) is paramount to being able to teach them content.
From Geoff's book, and website, here is a graphic that can help:
I am looking to grow even more, and I thank Geoff and Kassia for pushing me to think.
Happy "Working More Angles Than A Geometry Book" Fishing