Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Classroom Systems have been established and now it's time for finesse--looking closely at the finer details of each approach and making sure they're working for students.

What does that mean in a fourth grade classroom?

Finesse means:

Reading Workshop
Making sure that everyone has just right text to read each day at home and at school.  Just right text can be ebooks, books on tape, hand-held books, articles, picture books, magazines and other reading materials.  What's important is that it's "just right" text students enjoy and comprehend; they're motivated to read; they're writing about their reading, and they're reading regularly at home and in school.

Writing Workshop
Similar to reading workshop, frequency matters.  Systems have been set up for regular blogging, letter writing, ePortfolio work and other writing tasks, now it's up to me to make sure that the tasks are motivating and everyone's following through.  It's also integral that I make lots of time for one-to-one and group edits to help students further their writing development.

Math Practice and Computation
Learning those facts and reviewing basic math skills requires regular practice for fourth graders. We have a system in place--it's time to ensure that students understand how to use the system well to gain speed and accuracy with respect to this thread of math learning.

Classroom Management
The learning action table and students' responsibility lists are really helping in this regard. These fluid lists give us a point of discussion each week as we review the learning objectives and student responsibilities.  As much as possible, I'm giving students responsibility for running the classroom--it's amazing how good they are at lining students up, managing the line, completing attendance and lunch count, leading our buddy efforts and more.  It's also great to have many minds when it comes to tackling our learning objectives, goals and procedures--it's a team effort.

Now that individual systems have been created for independent learning and regular progress; it's time to shore up my systems of response and review--making sure that I give everyone a fair share of teacher time and conferencing.

After that, we'll begin working more thoughtfully towards greater collaboration and teamwork related to learning tasks and project work.

What does finesse mean to you when it comes to the classroom program?  What systems do you have in place to optimize student learning?  Where are you headed in this regard. Thanks for taking a moment to think about this with me.