Yesterday, I met my wonderful teaching partner, Gina Bucciacchio (@_missginab), for lunch. While we thought it would be nice to go out and celebrate a great first week of school, the real reason that we met was to mark together and plan for the coming weeks.
For a while now, “teacher moderation” has been a focus at our school. I’ve done this before this weekend, but yesterday, I really understood the importance of it. When Gina and I met, we decided to start by going through the math homework together. We discussed the questions that we wrote on the work for our students. We looked at the strengths of the students, and we looked at reoccurring difficulties. We discussed options for how we could address these difficulties in the classroom. By talking through what we noticed, and sharing ideas, we were able to develop a plan: one I know will benefit the students.
Then we moved onto the initial assessment that we gave for our first TLCP (Teaching Learning Critical Pathway). We did this assessment on the first day of school, and we are moving into the teaching part of this first focus, so we want to make sure that we address all student needs. Marking these assessments was one of the best learning experiences of my life. First we went through the rubric together and discussed what the sections meant and what we wanted to see in this written work. Then we both read a student work sample, we wrote down what we would give it, and then we passed it to the other person, and discussed the marks. We did this for every single written piece.
Yes, it took a couple of hours to mark the work, but it was well worth the time. The conversations allowed us to clarify our thinking, outline common problems, discuss common areas of strength, and plan for how we would address these various needs. As we were marking together, our discussions evolved, and our approach to our upcoming writing activities changed. Assessment informed teaching practice, and teacher moderation allowed this to happen. Now I get it!
In the past, I may have tried out teacher moderation, but it was always just a matter of something I needed to do. We were told to all look at one piece of writing, evaluate it individually, and then discuss our decisions. It was an activity to do, and yes, in theory I understood the benefit of it, but I never put the time into truly making it work. Gina helped me realize that this was time worth taking. This was time that would benefit our students. This was time I was happy to invest.
So what are your thoughts on teacher moderation? How do you make it work for you? More so, how do you make it work for your students?