4. I Understand and Analyze the Contextual Variables That Affect Teaching and Learning

KSA 1 - My application of pedagogical knowledge, skills and attributes is based on my ongoing analysis of contextual variables.

The contextual variables going on in any classroom change daily if not hourly.  Whether it being the family pet dying, or lack of classroom internet connection, I am in a constant cycle of analysis and application of differing strategies.

I consider myself an important member in the "village" that raises each one of my students.  Although I am likely the main "coach" when it comes to academics I am only the assistant coach next to their parents and I aim to involve them as much as possible in their child's learning.

I like to try to get ahead of the game by starting off the year with THIS questionnaire for parents. This tunes me into any family background issues, special considerations or prior concerns about individual students.  Read more about me using this questionnaire at my blog post Dear Teacher...7 Things to Tell Your Teacher About Your Child 

Standard procedure in my classroom is that we start off with our Morning Meeting.
In the above picture, you'll see a run down of it and although I won't go in to detail here, through all these interactions (ie. Print in blue: Greetings, Class Creed, Birthdays, Schedule, Jobs, Silly Question, How are you Feeling, Class quiet moment, Class prayer), it allows me to gauge where the students are at and provides insight into how I want to run my lessons.  For example, if, when on the mat greeting each other, the students just can't seem to sit still, I will mentally adjust lessons for the day to be more kinesthetic.  Or, if a student discloses some information such as a family member being sick, I will be much more aware of possible distractions for that particular child.  The morning meetings are an integral part of my ongoing contextual analysis for the class.

I also keep in close contact with my student's caregivers. At the beginning of the year, as a group, we determined that texting was the best way to pass timely information to and from home, so in addition to writing in agendas and paper newsletters, I also keep in touch via text.  This has made it very easy to keep contextual variables that may affect students' learning in the forefront so that both myself and parents can "stay on the same page."  

I am well aware that my experience is limited.  I rely heavily on colleagues (read about some inspiring ones on my "Classroom Treasures" page of my "Having My Cake Blog" or just go directly to here, here and here!).  I also depend on Teachers Pay Teachers for up to date, student-friendly resources, and professional development opportunities such as the Grade 3 SLA marking sessions, division wide grade level meetings, teacher's convention sessions and other SAPDC learning opportunities.

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