Friday, April 11, 2014

Next Year's Evaluation: Wisdom Request

So I had time to sit down and evaluate myself using the EVSC Teacher Evaluation Rubric.

I gave myself a lot of threes.  It's on a scale of one, three, or five if you haven't looked at it yet.  While it does bother me a little on the inside to get all of those 3s, I get it. Three is proficient.  What hurt more- I had to give myself a one on something :( 

It was in a category that seems to be a completely necessary skill for a proficient teacher to master.  Help me!  I would love to hear advice from you on one or all of the following areas. 

2.4 Questioning Strategies:

My deficiency area #1:  "Teacher mostly calls on volunteers or high ability students."  I often get the same few volunteers all the time and just go with it.  Many times, students call out answers instead of raising hands.  This means students who are not comfortable with speaking or don't know the answer usually do not get the chance to answer out loud.

Give me wisdom!!  How do you call on non-volunteers and low-ability students in a non-threatening way? Do you have students raise hands to talk?  Do they simply call out answers without raising their hands?  Do you call on random students all the time?  Do you have a strategy when deciding who to call on next?

My deficiency area #2:   "Teacher rarely asks questions that are varied, high quality, and provide a balance of question types (ie. knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, creation, and evaluation.)"  If I do ask good questions, it is on accident.   On classwork assignments, I do think carefully about questions I ask and do nicely with asking varied level questions.   However, during lectures, I find that verbal questions I ask seem to be on very basic understanding of content. Much of what I ask verbally is sort of on accident but with my lesson's goal in mind.

Give me wisdom!! Do you write out questions you are going to ask the students during lecture in advance? How do you remember to ask them? Do you have some sort of system to ensure you are asking questions of varied levels? Have you read a really interesting book, article, or have examples of great question styles? If it's relating to the Chemistry 1 standards - bonus points.

My deficiency area #3:   "Teacher rarely uses questions that require active responses (i.e. whole class signals, choral response, group answers).  I try this occassionally.  Students don't always respond!  I'm wondering if I made a habit of this if things would change.  

Give me wisdom!! Which 'active whole-class response' strategy works for you? How did you introduce it? How often do you use it?  What do you do if a student doesn't participate

Please share in the comments below! :)  If you are a student reading this, let me know your thoughts! Thank you! 


  1. Michelle - There are a number of web-based sites designed to collect question data (formative assessment) from the entire class using netbooks or even other mobile devices. I would be glad to do some PD on it if you think it would be valuable. Just email me some good times and I'll come one over!

  2. Thanks for the response, Bill. I'll be in touch, I may try to recruit others. I've heard of some web-based sites for whole-class responses and have even used before.

    To give you an idea of where I'm at, my strength is finding the tools and learning how they work. My weakness is knowing what questions to ask with the tools (specific applications) and how they fit within the flow of a lesson. I'm always concerned that I'm going to be slowed down so I'm interested in seeing ways other teachers use it seamlessly within their lectures, how students respond to it, and what happens after the results come in. I also wonder if there are teachers out there who use it just sometimes with success or if it is one of those web tools that go over better if they are used daily.

  3. Michelle - I think you're doing very well. It takes a good teacher to know where she needs to improve. My strategies are always changing. For encouraging volunteer answers, you might try the stand-up game. Tell all students to stand up during the Q&A portion. Once they have answered a question, they may sit down. I only have to play stand-up once a quarter or so, and they remember to volunteer the rest of the time.

    For higher-level questions, keep a list of Bloom's Taxonomy Verbs on hand. I have mine in a sheet protector. I can glance at it as I start to ask questions, and reword what I was going to say to start with one of the higher level words. Instead of "What would the reaction be?" or "What byproducts would be created?" after providing an equation, ask "Design an experiment that would produce..." or "Distinguish between these two equations - what differences would you see in the byproducts?" Here is a helpful website:

    I use thumbs up and thumbs down (in Latin of course) for my whole-class response. Perhaps you can use "yttrium einsteinium" and "nobelium."

  4. "yttrium einsteinium" and "nobelium." LOVE IT! Thanks so much for the response. I will try ALL of these. I saw your name on the eRev attendee list! :) I'll be looking for you!