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A Project that Makes the Grade

Thursday, June 2, 2016

New signs for each teacher's classroom.

A team of middle school students at William C. Longstreth School in southwest Philadelphia took on a challenging and complex design project this year:  how to give students, as consumers of education, a voice in what transpires in their classrooms.  Of particular interest to the students was giving teachers feedback to help them better understand and respond to student concerns and needs.  The team came up with the idea of students grading teachers and worked through a host of issues like who would be allowed to evaluate teachers, how often evaluations should take place, how to get teachers to buy in to the program, how to share feedback with teachers, and of course what should be evaluated.  In the end the design team chose to focus on the following aspects of teaching and classroom management:  offers encouragement, respects students and their belongings, shows patience, listens well and sees everything, commands attention gently, and makes learning fun.  They rolled out the program for the 8th grade teachers this spring, incorporating suggestions from the teachers as they continue to tinker with what works best.  Among the recent upgrades to the initiative are rewards for teachers (Mr. Joblin shows off his garden gnome below) and an LED display to share shout outs and commendations (sample messages below).  

Mr. Joblin shows off the garden gnome he earned       Sample messages for the LED display