Confession: Middle school was a weird time in my life.
I don’t think that it was just me, either. A few weeks ago, my mom and dad came to visit and brought along a half-dozen scrapbooks with the photos from my childhood. Those large books are filled with nerdy glasses, dreadful haircuts, and the many memories ranging from organized sports to science fairs. While this experience left me slightly embarrassed but thankful for how far I’ve come in my ability to arrange a personal wardrobe, I have been able to reminisce on middle school in a much more favorable way thanks to the release of our latest FIP videos. This past winter, we spent a day at Shanahan Middle School, in Olentangy School District. We met Mr. Bob Cline, a passionate and enthusiastic Grade 7 and Grade 8 Math teacher. After hearing that he was finding some very clever and effective ways to get students to take ownership of their learning, the FIP Your School Ohio team wanted to see it firsthand.
Even with an early morning, the students in Mr. Cline’s Grade 7 Math class were eager and ready to learn from the start. In the first few minutes of the class, students stood at the back of the room and looked at the posted learning targets and a series of math problems that they were going to be talking about in class. Students were given time to engage with one another, and to work through the problems before Mr. Cline began.
He then began questioning, looking to collect evidence of student learning and providing opportunities for effective feedback. It was very evident that this helps his students know where they are in their learning. Mr. Cline, along with the rest of the Olentangy school district, is known for a strong commitment to data, which has proved to be a powerful asset for the district as they measure their growth. Mr. Cline shared how he uses data to collect and document evidence of student learning in his classroom.