Students talk instruction and assessment at Superintendent’s council meeting

Smiling faces as the Superintendent's Student Council meeting on February 14.

How do teachers “hook” you into a new unit or lesson?

What are your favorite instructional strategies and which ones are overused?

What happens after you take a test in class?

These were just a few of the many questions that Superintendent Kelly Sprinkles and the district leadership team had for student council members on Thursday, February 14.

The students had an opportunity to ponder each question while enjoying a cake in celebration of Valentine’s Day.  District leaders meanwhile enjoyed hearing authentic student voice as they shared their view of what is occurring in Knox County’s classrooms.

Students gave praise that teachers are doing a good job of providing students with cooperative learning activities.  One suggestion, however, was that groups need defined roles such as reporter and facilitator to ensure everyone participates.  Cooperative learning is one of the strategies that Kagan training is built on.  Most teachers in the district have been trained by Kagan, and students were able to articulate “round robin” and other Kagan strategies by name.

Technology is used throughout the day according to students, with websites such as Plicker being used for impromptu and formative assessments.  Quizlet and similar sites provide an opportunity for the students to review for tests.

One question that students had no problem answering was about students asking questions.  “Students need to feel more comfortable to ask questions,” shared many members of the group.  The students said that teachers are providing better wait time for response to their own questions, but students need to ask more questions themselves as they become more involved in their own learning.

The Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council meets throughout the school year to gather input on instruction, policies, and concerns.  The next council meeting will be held in late March.