Monday, July 13, 2015

Happy Data

In asking students to complete evaluations of me and my class, I am ultimately collecting what I now deem as a four-letter Now this isn't your usual kind of data, although I will share some pie charts (pretty impressive, huh?), but some of the data is narrative and not easily put into a chart. The data I will be focusing on today is the stuff that is the hardest to focus on...the positives. When one receives feedback, the positive comments make you feel good for about a second because, sadly, the negatives are much louder to our sensitive ears. I would say that the positive feedback students gave me far outweighed the negatives, but notice yesterday I chose to write about some of the more critical feedback first. So today, I would like to try something that I often cringe at. I am going to share the positives and pat myself on the back.

Below is a word cloud I generated using Tagul. This represents my students' answers to the question:
In ONE word, describe Mrs. Fanning.
If you have never generated a word cloud before, any word you add more than once gets bigger in size. So for anyone thinking that I decided which words to emphasize, I assure you, I did not.  My students did, inadvertently, by choosing the same word to describe me. When I let my eyes focus on the larger words, I get pretty overwhelmed. There is nothing in my professional evaluation that can compare to it. And if you can look at the many smaller words, I get equally overwhelmed at all the really great ways my students chose to describe me. Whether or not I get deemed as Effective or even Developing in the fall (I won't know until then because of how long it takes for the test scores to be calculated, which end up determining my "teacher score", and while I have been deemed both Effective and Developing in the past two years, I know I won't be Highly Effective because administration tells us not to expect such a lofty goal), I know that the majority of my students left 7th grade with a positive experience, and that is all I truly care about.

The next word cloud reflects students' answers to the question:
In ONE word, describe 7th grade language arts.
Below are a few of the fancy pie charts created based on the multiple-choice answers I offered to students for each question.  I chose to include the really positive ones keeping with the purpose of my post. The evaluation students complete is created using Google Forms. Once you have your results, you can open the form, click Responses in the toolbar and choose Summary of Responses to see your data summarized for you.
While the questions on my evaluation are not designed to mirror those on my professional evaluation, there is some overlap, such as the examples above. More than likely I only received an Effective in those areas. One could argue this data suggests otherwise.

Lastly, I give kids room to elaborate on what they thought of my class and ask them to freely express how they feel.  I tell them that this is the most important part of my evaluation as their responses serve as a place for me to learn and grow from as I prepare for next year.  Their responses to this question are the scariest to read as they reveal some hard truths for what the year was like for some students. But today, I am focusing on the happy, so here are some that I would like to hold on to and remember whenever I feel like I'm having a Stuart Smalley moment and need to be reminded that I am good enough, smart enough and doggone it, my students like me: 

I felt that LA this year was the most I have learned in this topic. This topic is my worst and MRS. Fanning made it easy for me to learn and boosted me up skill wise. I thought she did a perfect job teaching. I also like how she incorporated the Chromebooks into the lessons.

I like language arts because most of the time it gives me the opportunity to share my feelings and how my life has been, what I like to do and also it gave me the opportunity to have such a great language arts teacher. 

I think language arts was a very good class to take. It taught me the basic understanding of reading and writing. I feel that my English language has improved drastically over this year. Mrs. Fanning was an amazing teacher. She made class fun, while also taught us very well. She knew how to motivate us and she knew how to properly teach each individual student. Thank you, Mrs. Fanning.  

Mrs.fanning thanks for being our l.a teacher. when ever i walk in your room i always have a smile on my face. I'm really going to miss you.

I loved language arts this year. It was filled with laughs and Mrs. Fanning made it fun for all of us! Mrs. Fanning made it really fun to learn and I have always looked forward to going to her class, especially when we were reading 'A Monster Calls.' All of the projects that we did in her class were fun. Without a doubt I will miss her and her class next year.

I think that Language Arts could be my favorite class of the seventh grade year. Mrs.Fanning is a great teacher to have for this subject. She always listens to what you have to say and will help you in any way possible. I love how she lets us write in our own way about things that we get to choose throughout the year. I wish I could have her for 8th Grade!

This year alone I feel that I have grown so much as a reader and writer because of all the projects we did (The Giver, Truth Piece, etc.), the amount of focus my wonderful LA teacher gave me (thank you Mrs. Fanning), and the ideas of all my peers (parents, friends, etc.) I just hope that next year it will only be better but I will have a hard time enjoying 8th grade LA like it was 7th grade LA because of all the new experiences given to me this year (blog, website,etc.). So I would just like to thank you Mrs. Fanning for giving me a wonderful year at Farnsworth middle school and that no other teacher could teach me as much as you did and no teacher could teach me the way you did. I will remember you because of what you have done for me. Thank you.

I started the year really not liking language arts class. I thought it was a waste of a core block. When I came to this class Mrs. Fanning really showed me how much fun it is to write and how important languages arts was. Mrs. Fanning made everything fun or tried her hardest to make everything fun. I would definitely stay in this 7th grade class if I could.

Mrs. Fanning was a wonderful teacher. I appreciated the way she handled herself as a person and as a teacher. One thing that really stuck out to me was when she was home she video chatted with us so we didn't have to miss a day. I was very impressed with her effort to help her students in the best way possible even though it might not be as convenient to her. I liked how our year was set up. I thought that our curriculum was well thought out and planned.

I think that language arts was a class I had to work very hard in. It was difficult but not impossible, that's what I like. Mrs. Fanning was a very excellent teacher that was able to explain things well and also demonstrate them. I think that Mrs. Fanning gave a lot of useful assignments like the fish bowl and the writing prompt. Student next year will do just fine with Mrs. Fanning. :)

This year in language arts I thought was one of the best and hardest. I was pushed to think outside the box and creatively. Mrs. Fanning always helped me when I needed it and would always make sure that I was doing okay. When I was at my weakest and thought I could do nothing she let me know that she was there for me. That was all I needed to feel better. I needed to know that someone was there for me when I needed them; and she let me know that there was always someone there. Without Mrs. Fanning I would have failed seventh grade and would have felt like no one cared about me. Mrs. Fanning was one of the best teachers I could ever ask for. I loved how she made language arts interesting and fun. She had the right amount of discipline and fun for me to look forward to my class.

Language arts this year was an interesting class for me. I never would've thought that PSAs could be included in the class, but I still enjoyed making them. At times I kind of didn't want to go to language arts because I never could figure out what we would be doing, and it was one of the classes that I struggled a bit in. I enjoyed having a blog. Being able to write freely just makes me feel good about myself, even though that I'm not really a great writer. Mrs. Fanning was (and still is) an amazing teacher. She responded to every email quickly (and I still wonder how she does it), and she answered so many questions that I had. She listened to every student, and helped to make sure that their work was completed. When something didn't make sense, she explained it in a way that I could understand. She helped students to stay on track when they were fooling around. Mrs. Fanning (it feels weird to not say "you") helped all of us grow this year, and I really have to thank her for that. Although, Mrs. Fanning really needs to blog more. Her last post was from March.

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