Monday, January 4, 2016

SMART Goals Abound! What Now?

Today we celebrated our return from the holiday break by learning how working memory helps us meet our immediate goals.  You are probably wondering why I chose the topic of working memory to kick off the new year rather than have the students set resolutions or write about their favorite holiday activity right?  I know my students well.  Monday is not their favorite day of the week, and they are very quiet and subdued.  Any activity requiring them to share feelings or set new goals would have failed.  Spending a great deal of time getting to know my students does pay off many times throughout the school year!  I chose working memory as the topic because I wanted them to have a better understanding of how their brains work before I launch them into a revisit and revision of current SMART goals.  I will save that discussion for later this week!

So we started by viewing the TEDEd video entitled, "How Your Working Memory Makes Sense of the World, by P. Doolittle.

I then asked the students to partner up and answer the following questions:
1.  What surprised you the most about working memory?
2.  What made the most sense about working memory?
3.  What evidence of the strategies listed by Mr. Doolittle are evident at school?  Or which strategies should be evident?

While sharing responses I created an anchor chart to show our harvest.  We even went back and re-watched parts to ensure we fully understood the message.

I then asked students to complete the following:  Working memory is like a ___________, because...

During the rest of the week, while I meet with small groups and individuals to review SMART goals, I will refer back to today's discussion while we debrief.  I know some students currently refuse to use graphic organizers during the writing process and this does impact the final outcome.  I know some students refuse to try different organizational tools and this impacts final outcomes.  I predict a much different dialogue now that we have discussed this video on working memory, can't you?  Instead of me critiquing student progress or lack thereof, students will be better able to design strategies for success based on video evidence.  Instead of students relying on others to identify moments of success, each student now has the background knowledge to identify their own successes.  My being open to personalizing the learning environment means I can involve students in the learning process. As per Peter Doolittle from the TEDEd video, "What we process, we learn".

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