The task for Day 3 of the Te@chThought #reflectiveteacher 30 Day Blog Challenge is “Mention 1 ‘observation’ area that you would like to improve on for your teacher evaluation.”
Tomorrow marks my first “informal” observation for the year, so I will probably have several areas of improvement after that observation. Last year, I scored “distinguish” on my formal TESS evaluations, but my principal marked “questioning techniques” as an area of improvement for me. When principal refer to said techniques, what they really mean are “leveled questions,” meaning that the questions that the teacher uses throughout a lesson plan increase in the level of the thinking skills required to answer the questions as the lesson moves along. This type of questioning is hard to do in a language acquisition course, as our goal is to get students to acquire certain target words and phrases. We ask students to repeat us, we ask yes or no questions, we ask either/or questions, and we ask students to describe things in every possible way (who, what, when, where, why, how, how many, of what color/size/shape, etc), all to repeat the target phrases over and over and eventually achieve acquisition of the phrase. This is hard to reconcile with the pedagogical view of an administrator!
Fortunately, my administrators trust me, and even more fortunately, tomorrow my AP Spanish Language and Culture class is being observed! Therefore, I will have a chance to try-out and improve my leveled question techniques.
Our goal for tomorrow is to “examine the artwork of Frida Kahlo, analyze symbols in the artwork, and compare the two historical view present in the piece of art.” The piece of art is entitled Las Dos Fridas.
My leveled questions will somewhat follow this scaffolding process (in the target language):
1. Recall the poem we read yesterday. What symbols did we talk about? What histories were described?
2. Describe the painting. What do you see? What colors, shapes, and possibly other people do you see? Do you recognize any similar histories that were represented in the poem yesterday? (Knowledge/Comprehension/Application)
3. List the symbols that you see in the poem. What do you think they symbolize. (Application)
4. Read and interpret a written analysis of the portrait in Spanish. How do the two “histories” of Frida compare? Write a cultural comparison in the target language. (Synthesis)
5. What is your opinion of the piece of art? Does Frida do a good job of representing the two cultures? What should she have added or taken away? (Evaluation)
What suggestions do you have for leveled questioning?