Advanced proficiency level: 5th Grade

Melissa is a second-year teacher.

Support materials:
Video clip #241

Conversation with Observer (Excerpt)

Audio clip #241b_connelly

Overall rating & analysis

Overall rating: Two AP Strands equal an overall AP rating.

Beginning

Advanced

Exemplary

Strand 1: The teacher’s effectiveness in selecting “I can” strategies and messages that will compel students.

Effectively uses the same teacher-centered strategies in all situations to convey generic messages that students can achieve by working hard

Effectively uses student-centered strategies (based on an understanding of students and depending on the situation) to reach a range of students to convey that students can achieve by working hard

Effectively considers individual students and situations when choosing strategies and messages that convey that students can achieve by working hard

Strand 2: The frequency of “I can” strategies and the degree to which they are integrated into the classroom.

Conveys messages and implements strategies occasionally and in isolation

Regularly conveys messages and employs a series of integrated classroom strategies

Monitors individual students’ “I can” investment levels, effectively conveys messages and employs strategies as often as necessary, enables students to empower one another, and initiates effective efforts to shape the larger school context

 

Analysis: Why did the teacher receive these ratings?

Rating: APStrand 1: The teacher’s effectiveness in selecting “I can” strategies and messages that will compel students.

Why AP?

  • The teacher “uses student-centered strategies” to develop students’ rational understanding that they can achieve by working hard.
    • Her primary strategy is to have all students “keep goals journals to track their own fluency” by tracking their progress after an individual assessment each month. Because the students couple their tracking with a reflective conversation with the teacher about how their study habits effect their progress, the message about hard work leading to progress is “student centered.”
    • The teacher also holds individual conversations with students to connect their hard work with achievement. As she says: “The individual tracking has worked really well for some students, but I’ve unfortunately seen it be disheartening to students whose skills are growing more slowly. That’s why I make sure to have individual conversations with students about what they are putting into (and getting out of) our class.”
    • The students also fill out “Hard Work-Sheets” to delineate “about how many hours they spent studying at home, how focused they’ve been in class and how well they’ve participated.” The teacher references these worksheets during the individual conversations to have students make the connection between working hard and achievement.
    • Additionally, the teacher updates an “objective bingo” chart to show students which objectives they have and have not mastered. The teacher’s story about the student who worked hard to master the objective of rounding centimeters reveals that the teacher connects the mastery shown on the chart to hard work. The students recognize that, through hard work, they can fill out the rows on their objective bingo charts.
    • Because she tailors her approach to students at different achievement levels, these strategies are “based on an understanding of the students and depending on the situation” and “reach a range of students.” As she says: “I then point to a specific quiz, homework assignment or class discussion that they performed well in, and ask why that was possible. I guide them towards the conclusion that it was hard work that led them to that excellent performance, and then emphasize that if they keep up that hard work, they’ll be able to do well every single day. It’s really important for all of my students to see the connection between hard work and getting smart, and some just need a little extra push to work hard.”
    • The teacher has employed these strategies “effectively” because students “persist when answering questions.” In the video, the teacher explains that one student “took initiative” to work extra hard to quickly master the objective of measuring lines to the nearest whole centimeter when she didn’t master it the first time.

Why not E?

There is insufficient evidence that the teacher “considers individual students and situations when choosing strategies.” While she does hold individual conferences with each student, either weekly or monthly depending on the students’ needs, and uses their answers to their “Hard Work-sheet” to start the conversations, she does not tailor the messages to individual student needs. In each conversation, she guides “them towards the conclusion that it was hard work that led them to that excellent performance, and then emphasize[s] that if they keep up that hard work, they’ll be able to do well every single day.” However, she does not appear to identify the root cause of each individual student’s lack of motivation, and then tailor her message and strategies to tackle those root causes.

Rating: APStrand 2: The frequency of “I can” strategies and the degree to which they are integrated into the classroom.

Why AP?

  • The teacher “regularly conveys messages” by employing a “series of integrated classroom strategies” that include:
    • her monthly conversations (for students who are achieving at high levels)
    • weekly conversations (for students who progress slowly) and
    • her most integrated strategy of updating the objective bingo chart every day.

Why not E?

There is insufficient evidence that the teacher “monitors individual students’ ‘I can’ investment levels.” She alters the frequency of her individual conversations with students based on their achievement (and thereby monitors their achievement levels), but not based on their motivation.

There is insufficient evidence that she “enables students to empower one another” or “initiates effective efforts to shape the larger school context.”