Formal Evaluation

Tomorrow is my formal evaluation as a teacher for the year.  It’s been asked before, but why do we take quarterly inventories, audit our books semi-annually, ask for grades for our kids every two weeks, and yet only review faculty performance once a year?  Why can’t the assessment be ongoing, with regular advice for improvement, and professional development?

I’m nervous.

We have a new head of school.  It’s possible that a lot is riding on this.  He wants new faculty evaluations for the whole staff.  It’s not just me he’s asking for a full formal evaluation on; it’s all of us.  And I can’t blame him.  I’d want to get to know the staff too.  It’s just… he’s not the one doing the evaluation.  Who knows what the results will be?

Mostly I’m just panicky.  I have a lesson plan that I’ve worked on seriously for a couple of days.  The only thing that’s really dismaying is that it still takes me a couple of days to pull together a quality lesson plan that I can show off to others.

So. Here goes:

Learning Objectives: Gather information from short videos, select core data, write

  1. Welcome students, assign homework, collect paper homework, stamp books (3 minutes)
    Homework on board: “Write a paragraph on technology in ancient Greece. Use materials on wiki and worksheet.”
  2. Hand out ‘worksheet’ for notetaking, with tonight’s topic sentence: (1 minute)
    “Some ancient Greek technology was quite advanced, though few had access to the most sophisticated machinery.”
  3. Turn off lights. Show clip of YouTube movie: The Antikythera mechanism (5 minutes)
    Ask students to collect core data as they watch — dates, functions, name of English inventor, when/where device was found, elements of its functions, method of functioning.
    YouTube Video:
  4. Turn on lights.  Ask students to write a sentence using 4 pieces of their core data. (3 minutes)
    After 3 minutes, ask three students to read their sentences aloud.
  5. Lights off: quick slideshow. (5-8 minutes)
    As slideshow runs, ask them to brainstorm off the list what each element was used for…
  6. Turn lights on. Ask them to write another sentence. (5 minutes)
    Walk through the room reading over student shoulders, correcting grammar as needed.
  7. Turn lights off.  Project wiki on wall.  Show list of resources.  Ask students to pair up to review different videos on ancient Greek technology, and build their lists of core data from these videos. (3 minutes)
    Walk through room, making sure students are working through the video clip selections.
    The Automatic Theater described by Heron of Alexandria
    Ancient Trireme, Part I — a discussion of how the ship was reconstructed from archaeology
    Ancient Trireme, Part II — the ram concentrates 65 tons per square foot on an enemy vessel
    The curvature of the Parthenon
    The grid system of ancient Greek towns — Priene
    Bringing water to Samos — The Eupalinos Tunnel
    Acoustics in the Greek Theater
  8. Check for understanding.  Ask each pair of students to report in 30 seconds on what they’ve viewed in the video about Greek technology. (11 students = 5 groups @ 1 min ea, = 5 min.)
    Use these verbal assessments to gauge whether students are prepared to write about technology in a historical context.
  9. Ask students to write for five minutes on technology in ancient Greece, using core data. (5 minutes)
    Read papers over shoulders, ask students to read their papers aloud to their partners. (5 minutes)
  10. Closure: Ask students to name something about Greek technology they hadn’t already known (2 minutes)
    Ask specifically for short answers, 1-2 words designed to spark someone else’s interest.

So. There I am. Comments invited between now and 9:30. Report on results will come later.

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One comment

  1. We have ongoing personalized goal-driven self-evaluation precisely so that it stays on the focus of good teaching and not the dog-and-pony show.

    I also invite my chair to drop in randomly for a full-class observation whenever he wants (and to not let me know when he’ll be there, so that I can’t ‘prepare’ anything for him). I feel like it makes me a better teacher and keeps the classroom vibe authentic.


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