4a-Reflecting on Teaching: Reflection is an integral part of growing as a professional and believe it or not, this practice appears frequently throughout Danielson’s FFT! While we discuss this each year as part of the Domain 4 rubric (4a), teacher reflection also appears in Domain 3 (3e: Demonstrating Flexibility & Responsiveness), for example. The question is, what are some ways we can demonstrate this practice and provide artifacts?
First and foremost, is our post-observation reflection form. Before you click submit, ask yourself these two questions: are my reflections accurate, honest & specific, and what artifacts can I provide that demonstrate how reflections have impacted future practice? If you really want to knock it out of the park, enter and submit your reflections BEFORE receiving feedback from the observer! Talk about being authentic & honest…after all, when a teacher’s reflections are exactly the same as the observer’s feedback, we always raise an eyebrow!
Some other ways to demonstrate proficiency in 4a are outlined below:
- Engage in a dialog based on walk through and/or lesson plan feedback.
- Participate in a Chat & Chew to review a formative assessment.
- Maintain a focus on instructional practices & “next steps” during data review meetings.
Feel free to share your “reflections” on 4a via email or social media!
4b-Maintaining Accurate Records: As Danielson says, effective teachers “live in level 3 and vacation in level 4” on the FFT rubric. The good news is that the very nature of our schoolwide routines helps to ensure that this is the case when it comes to 4b (Maintaining Accurate Records). From logging daily attendance, to maintaining our benchmark data spreadsheets, behavior referrals, CAST interventions, etc., Bullock certainly has system for maintaining information on “student completion of assignments, student progress in learning, and non-instructional records that is effective” (YES, that’s right from the rubric!).
What about taking it to the next level? Well, 4b has much in common with Domains 2 & 3 (as does 4c, which we will talk about next). The more students are involved, the higher an artifact will fall on the rubric. In other words, what routines have you established for students to log completion of assignments or for tracking their progress towards learning goals? One EASY way to make this happen: student friendly rubrics/checklists. After all, self-assessment is an essential part of learning and is a focus of 1c, 1f, 3c & 3d!
Feel free to “record” your thoughts on 4b via email or social media!
4c-Communicating with Families: Above, we saw how one little component in Domain 4 (4b: Maintaining Accurate Records) can have overarching affect throughout Danielson’s FFT rubric (impacting 1c, 1f, 3c & 3d). If we work smarter and not harder, we will notice that this is true for 4c as well!
Let’s start by taking those student-friendly rubrics/checklists that we explored above. Once you have established a regular routine for implementation (such as students performing a fluency check after completing each guided reading text)…send home copies! This ensures that students are contributing to what is being sent home. Another way to establish a regular routine for communicating with families can be to send home a weekly reflection/goal setting form that students & families can complete together! Talk about engaging our community!
The bottom line is that when we are look at 4c, our focus needs to be on establishing regular routines for family outreach (which is proactive in nature) rather than communicating as needed or only during conferences (which is reactive in nature). In doing this we ensure that our families have ongoing feedback on their child’s progress & our instructional programming!
Don’t forget to “communicate” your thoughts on 4c via email or social media!
4d-Participating in a Professional Community: The Bulldog Buddies/SEL Committee, Rowan PDS Team, Parent Nights, Grade Level/Team Meetings, Chat & Chews, commenting on Principal’s POV/Curriculum Corner articles…these are all routines that have been established to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to be an active participant in Bullock’s professional learning community! The point is this: In order to continue growing as an educator & to make our school a “community” resource, we have to do more than close our doors and be great teachers (which all of you are!).
There is a quick & easy way to self-evaluate when it comes to 4d, and we don’t have to read through endless narratives to do so! As you read through each bullet below, take a moment to reflect and see what your level of participation is at this point in time.
- Basic (Level 2): A teacher that is rated “basic” is one who follows the contract – nothing more; nothing less. He/she attends required PD, meetings, etc. but doesn’t go beyond that.
- Proficient (Level 3): A teacher that is rated “proficient” is one who volunteers and “actively participates” in building/community projects, making “substantial contributions” to our community.
- Distinguished (Level 4): A teacher that is rated “distinguished” is one who LEADS building/community projects, making “substantial contributions” to our community.
Don’t forget to “participate” by sharing your thoughts on 4d via email or social media!
4e-Growing & Developing Professionally: Before we dive into 4e, think back to our conversations on 4b & 4c, and on how our routines to support these two components impact one another. Components 4d and 4e share a similar relationship…after all, the more you participate in a professional learning community, the more you take on a leadership role in a professional learning community, the more OWNERSHIP you have on your growth as an educator.
That said, let’s forget about Danielson’s FFT & 4e for a moment (WHAT?!?!), because what we’re really talking about here isn’t proficiency on a rubric. What we are talking about is being amazing educators & lifelong learners, and that means focusing on just two things:
- Collaboration: What regular routines have you established to conduct and share research with colleagues, administration, coaches, etc. both in-person and online? Are you taking the time to integrate what is learned and conduct action research on its effectiveness? What artifacts are you collecting to show student growth and to help you turn-key what has been successful?
- Reflection: How do you respond to feedback from parents, peers and administrators? Do you reflect honestly and frequently…or do you cut/paste the recommendations from formal observations? More importantly though, are you turning your reflections into action? What artifacts are you collecting to show student growth and to help you turn-key what has been successful?
Don’t forget to share your thoughts on how continue to “grow & develop” via email or via social media!
4f-Showing Professionalism: One of the overarching themes of Domain 4 (and an essential trait of all proficient educators) is to understand the importance of frequent, honest and actionable reflection. 4a focuses on the role that reflection plays in supporting our students, 4c focuses on the role that reflection plays in our growth as educators, and 4f focuses on the role that reflection plays in supporting one another! As you read through the bullets outlined below, reflect on the role you play within your team and throughout the school/district and ask yourself…
- Do you help to maintain a positive environment for your team/building/district by maintaining integrity, confidentiality & honesty?
- Do you advocate for all students in a proactive manner (especially those who may not have an advocate of their own)?
- Are you open-minded and participate in (or even help LEAD) team/building decision making?
- Do you comply with (or even help to SHAPE) team/building/district protocols?
Don’t forget to show your “professionalism” by sharing your thoughts via email or social media…and always remember, when you’re looking for artifacts & evidence to support Domain 4, focus on the systemic practices we’re already engaged in. This way you’re not adding more to your plate!