Open-Ended Questions During the Pre-Conference

The estimated reading time for this post is 2 minutes

It was 4pm, after a long day. We were a bit worn thin, to be honest. The 20-day challenge is no joke and has certainly taken a sizable amount of energy to sustain – and we are barely two days in! We sat as a team to discuss a key appointment on tomorrow’s calendar, a visit to a Geometry class that might be a potential source for us to draw inspiration, process and content from for our hybrid Geometry course. I had sent a message on Voxer to Jessica and Bryan that we’d convene in the office at 4pm for a pre-conference. My goal for the pre-conference was to clarify Jessica as the lead on the visit tomorrow, and to help refine and clarify the vision for the outcome of our visit. My thought: “If this is a successful visit for our department, what does that look like?” Bryan and I were bringing a few lightweight cameras and would be ready to capture sounds and images that might be formative in our initial steps to shape a hybrid Geometry course.  We were the crew and Jessica, the director.
I set the stage for the pre-conference by stating that since we’d likely make other visits to classrooms and we wanted to be intentional about refining our own processes for efficiency’s sake. During the pre-conference, I asked Jessica a series of open-ended questions about the nature of what we were expecting to walk into during the math classroom visit.
  • “What do you think tomorrow will look like?”
  • “What might we see the teacher do?”
  • “What might we see the students do?”
And then, I shifted the questions a bit to ask Jessica what elements she would prioritize as high value for her as the lead of the hybrid geometry course development project. After several minutes of questions and identifying some important themes for Jessica that we should attend to during the visit, I asked Jessica to address three questions: 1) if the visit tomorrow is a success for her, what will we walk away with? 2) if the visit tomorrow is a success for the teacher, what will that look like to the teacher? and 3) if the visit tomorrow is a success for Bryan and me, what will that look like?
I asked Jessica to take a minute to collect her thoughts and then asked her to think of herself as a film director, and to prepare a speech, or an address, to set the vision for Bryan and I, to guide and motivate us as her crew. Bryan and I left the room to set up some BreakoutEdu kits for Santa Ana Valley High School to borrow. When we returned, Jessica was ready.
Within the first few words of her speech, I stopped her and said, “Wait, let me get this on camera.” She laughed and I set the action camera up quickly and pressed record.  She delivered her vision.
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wes

wes

Coordinating 21st Century Learning in Santa Ana & beyond. I practice art through photography. I raise funds for clean water with Team World Vision.
wes

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wes

wes

Coordinating 21st Century Learning in Santa Ana & beyond. I practice art through photography. I raise funds for clean water with Team World Vision.

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