By Mark Heintz


I have two main focuses as I write this weekly blog. Two driving questions that I have in my mind while making decisions.  They are:

  • How do I know if my students know? 
  • How do I get them to know if they know?  

Whether that is a skill or content, I want to know if they know it.   I no longer think it is acceptable for me to guess or get a feeling on whether or not they know it. Getting the students to know if they know it is downright hard, but I am really attempting to get to a point where the students can recognize their understandings or progress on their skill levels and content knowledge.  Therefore, the purpose of this year of reflection is to see how I make progress towards these two goals and elicit feedback from staff, students, and hopefully people who follow along on the journey.  You can read how last week went here.

Week Twenty-six: Answer the Question

For this week’s post, I am being more transparent.  If you have been reading the blog, you have gotten glimpses of what the class looks like.  I now would like to offer an opportunity to view an entire period!

A week ago, Linda Ashida Periscoped my classroom to few people in other high schools.  They virtually visited the class and then we had a follow-up meeting to discuss the class and learn together.

I broke the video into three parts.  It is a typical day, in which students are working with documents.  To give more context to the exact process of the class, I wrote a blog post about the class, which you can read here.

Provide Specific Evidence: 

1st Fifteen Minutes

2nd Fifteen Minutes

3rd Fifteen Minutes
Reflection and Impact:

I feel that it is imperative that schools be more transparent with the larger community.  We need to document as much of the learning that takes place in our buildings and make it transparent to all stakeholders.  So much of dialogue around schools and learning takes places without teachers and students in the conversation.  By being transparent, we are brought into the conversation.

Furthermore, we need to shift the narrative of what learning is to provide evidence to the community that children are amazing and learning valuable skills and knowledge along the way.  Hopefully, by opening my classroom, it allows for others to do the same and shift some conversations about what schools towards a positive message about what they are and what we could do.

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