Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Little Victories

It is so heartening to see your students making big strides in their learning.

Today, during a writing task I stopped to check over one students work. This student is not the best speller and is quite messy, so I have been giving him little pointers over the past few weeks on ways he might be able to improve. His work has been so bad that I cannot read it at all and he even struggles to interpret for me when reading aloud.

My first goal for him a few weeks ago was to
ensure he uses proper spacing between words so that the reader can tell where one word ends and the next one starts. He showed quickly that he was listening and wanted to improve and I found he followed through with this goal with gusto.

The next goal we worked on together was to sound out any tricky words so that he may be able to spell them better. It has been a hectic few weeks, so I must admit that checking over everyone's writing has not been a priority and maybe it had been just long enough that I noticed almost immediately. I sat down next to him and said "Gee, your spelling has improved amazingly. Can you read me what you have done?". There were still words that were wrong but this time I could actually understand it and see what he was trying to write.

I asked him how he had improved his spelling so much in such a short time period and his answer sounded like it came straight from a text book; "I am remembering to back-up and re-read my writing to check that it makes sense and I am sounding out my words properly and not rushing". This kid took my breath away with his incredible response and willingness to try.

Now, I know it is really hard to spend an extended amount of time one-on-one with any child but today really made me realise the importance of giving immediate feedback. Upon reflection, I recognise that every time I have given feedback to this child, it has been immediate and contextual. This has clearly helped him to retain the information we discussed together so that he can use it in each successive instance thereafter.

This is only one example of little victories in my room but I really wanted to share it. I think this situation in particular has made me realise that I shouldn't be stressing over whether a student gets everything right in their work or that they haven't integrated everything I've taught. It is important that I see a progressive improvement and now that this student is on his way to spelling better, we can work together on what goal might come next. Offering immediate feedback has provided this student with an authentic learning experience that he has been in control of.

My job now is to take what I am reflecting on here and ensure that I am seizing every opportunity to provide that immediate feedback. It is so exciting to be able to sit here and write this post because it makes me feel empowered to celebrate every little victory with my students so that they can see that I truly care about their progress.

Watch this space for more little victories.

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