What am I learning as I finish and assess my data from the mentoring project?
This mentor project was focused on mentoring another teacher in my cohort on using technology to enhance listening comprehension skills. I chose this topic based on the students need to perform listening comprehension skills based on the new Alaska State Standards. Our district has already begun the transition process in our curriculum, which I was able to be a part of. We have aligned our curriculums to the new state standards. As we worked, there were a few areas that needed to be addressed. Listening comprehension was one. We expect our students to be able to listen and comprehend but there has not been any formal training in the schools. In Savoonga one thing affecting this is the difference in expectations in the school and home. The other factor is vocabulary acquisition. The vocabulary factor is already being addressed in our district and as far as the expectations go I have not control over what is expected at home so I chose to address the listening comprehension.
In this project on strategies for teaching listening comprehension, I take a mentoring approach to spread awareness about the strategies available to increase listening comprehension and how they can be used in the classroom. I will be mentoring a 5th grade teacher on implementing bottom-up listening strategies in lessons as well as Voki activites to enhance student listening skills.
Collaboration will occur on Sundays to discuss how the strategies are going and what the cooperating teacher may need help with. Notes will be taken by me during this collaboration to track the areas of need and record feedback on the practices used .
A teacher journal on the mentoring project will be kept by the cooperating teacher. This journal will be reviewed to identify issues that needed to be addressed. They will also be reviewed for student behavior trends or how students are responding to the strategies.
This projects validity will be check through triangulation of the analysis of multiple sources of data including, collaboration notes and the cooperating teacher journal review. While analyzing this data I will be looking for things that I can do next and how I can improve upon my skills.
One results of collaboration has been the implementation of bottom up listening strategies embedded into lesson plans and their delivery. When we collaborated the next week the cooperating teacher expressed ideas for different responses by then students when they hear the key words. As a result students are using different hand signals or taps when they hear the key words. I also found out that the cooperating teacher had never used a clicker quiz. This led us to a quick lesson on the SMART Response system. The next item of concern we collaborated about was how to get the students to use the strategies on their own. I introduced Voki to the cooperating teacher showed her how to set that up and what it is capable of doing. We prepared them for the class. The following collaboration we discussed that the Voki’s spoke faster than our students could process. This was requiring them to listen to the Voki’s several times. We then discussed lowering the grade level comprehension on Voki and finding topics that they had some experience with. Then we want to move them up through the grade levels slowly. Another concern we addressed in collaboration was implementing different strategies. As a result I am researching another strategy from Top-down to implement with the bottom up. The cooperating teacher also expressed that she was running out of ideas for “hooks”. As a result we discussed some of her up coming topics and listed things she could use. I also let her know that my door is always open when she needs it.
When analyzing her teacher journal I found that she was comfortable using the bottom up strategy but does need to collaborate on occasion when planning the “hooks”. The Cooperating teacher also noted that her students really liked the clicker quizzes. Although she is not sure they performed any better when using them she stated that they paid more attention during the quiz and were not as distracted. She also feels confident to create her own quizzes. She likes the idea of Voki but as stated earlier in collaboration she has concern with how fast the characters speak. She also wrote about the concern that the students need to know how to list key words on their own. As a result we began the discussion mentioned above. We discussed lowering the grade level comprehension on Voki and finding topics that they had some experience with. Then we want to move them up through the grade levels slowly.
This mentoring project has been a learning experience. The one concern that was expressed dealing with new strategies is totally valid and one. We need to have more than the one strategy or things will get old and lose their effectiveness. It is not only technology that needs to change and evolve but our delivery as well. One of my favorite days was actually problem solving the issue with Voki speaking too fast for our students. This was a day that collaborations are made for. We had an issue that could have turned a fun computer activity into a stressful thing that made students feel defeated. Then you lose engagement and effort, thus making the exercise ineffective.
The next step I am considering is addressing speaking also. The use of a podcast would require the speaking portion and could be a fun or the students. This strategy was researched in another class this semester. I have been interested in it but not sure what that will look like in my class. I will have to do it after school with a small group to begin with. I would like them to learn it and be able to teach the others that join later how to use it. In doing this, the students could also be responsible for learning how to do the podcasts by searching “how to” videos then following directions. They may reinforce students being able to “learn how to learn”.
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