California Educator

August 2016

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Other ways to be a reflective teacher 32 Keep a private journal. 33 Blog — for yourself, or to share with colleagues. 34 Look at test data to see where your students are succeeding and the areas where they need help. 35 Practice repeatedly in an area where you need improvement, and then see if you have better results with students. 36 Take an "unconscious bias" workshop to make sure you are looking at every student as an individual. 37 Watch other educators teaching the same information to assess what works and what doesn't. Michael Whitaker has a sign in her classroom asking students: "How Are We Working? Rate Yourself." She points to the sign when she asks students to reflect on their learning and take responsibility for their actions. Members of her professional learning community do similar soul-searching during their collaboration time at Highlands Elementary School in Pittsburg. "I think teachers automatically reflect on their teaching," says Whitaker, a member of the Pittsburg Education Association. "But whether they have the passion to make changes is also something they need to ask themselves." Having the support of colleagues can be a motivating factor for making pos- itive change, she says, because it's easier to do things collectively than work in isolation. During a recent Educator visit, her group identified what was working well and not so well in Common Core math practices. Then the PLC members shared ideas on what could be done differently to produce better results. "It helps to have these kinds of discussions," says Whitaker. "Reflection is more than just analyzing test scores or data. Conversations with colleagues tend to run much deeper." 31 C O L L A B O R AT E W I T H Y O U R P LC Michael Whitaker turns to her professional learning community to reflect on what's working and what doesn't. At right, she asks students to assess themselves. 27 August 2016

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