Saturday, December 03, 2011

Classroom Microsphere: Targeted Time on Task with Children

If you read my blog, you know I'm reflecting on the microsphere of my teaching--the day-to-day nuts and bolts of what I do.  The big pieces are in place, the vision is there, the tools are working, and now it's time for finesse.

The most challenging work in schools is delivering responsive lessons in child-friendly, effective ways to guide student engagement, empowerment and growth.  It's work that requires thought, attention and reflection. The kind of work that should make up a large fraction of most educators' days.

Where does that take me?

It's leading me in three directions at this moment: Creativity Days (our Fedex Days endeavor), Math Enrichment Program, and the 100 Pennies Project.

My class is ready for a project-based, student-driven creativity days project, and we will participate in that during the three days prior to the holiday vacation.  I'm excited for that project because my students have learned to use countless tools. They've also encountered numerous learning questions and substantial material, and this will give them a chance to synthesize all the fall learning into one meaningful project.

Next, on our last Friday formative assessment, I asked students to write me a letter about the math program.  A number of children asked for greater challenge.  Hence, I'm putting in place another challenge thread in my math program for these students.  I will work with them to make this blended learning thread responsive, challenging and growth producing.

Finally, I am embarking on the 100 Pennies project with one student.  I have been reading about developmental math and thinking about those students who come to fourth grade without a strong foundation of math concept knowledge and skill.  I've also been thinking about one delightful, conscientious student in my class who wants to understand math better.  That student and I will develop math concepts using 100 Pennies.  We will write a book together.

Hence, three new projects for the microsphere in an attempt to target the curriculum for greater student learning.  If you've got any links or ideas for me related to these projects or the microsphere of teaching in general, please share.  I appreciate your support as I journey in this direction.