Tuesday, May 08, 2012

This Year and Next: Goals

We have about seven weeks left in the school year.  The big plans have been made and now it's time for me to coach the students through our final endeavors including the prep for the math MCAS test which occurs next week, the endangered species project, fiction stories, portfolios and our routine menu of skills work. The days will also be filled with many end-of-the-year celebrations such as our final field trip, field day, classroom project presentations, a picnic and move-up day.

Move-up day signals that it's time to set the stage for next year. What will I prepare for my first time meeting with next year's students to excite and inform them about the year to come?

Hence, I've got one foot in this year and one foot in the next.

This Year
It's been a wonderful year. The students have been amazing learners. We've completed projects and accessed tools that have developed learning in new, efficient and creative ways.  I rarely have to redirect or worry about discipline, and we're on task learning, creating and collaborating all day long.

The primary focus for the end of the year will include the following:
  • Continued practice and development of essential reading, writing and math skills in differentiated, responsive ways.
  • Continued emphasis on coaching social, academic and emotional skills to foster an optimal learning environment for individuals and the whole class.
  • A heavy focus on project base learning and independent learning as students embark on endangered species reading, research, writing, presentations and action projects.
  • End year reflection by adding finishing touches to ePortfolios
For next year, I'll continue some of the practices from this year, and prepare for new learning techniques as well:
  • Continued use of ePals for our global exchange, letter writing emphasis.
  • Continued use of the current classroom communication system:
    • Website as resource center.
    • NING as virtual classroom and communication center.
    • Blogs and websites for focused student study and curriculum.
    • Greater effort to support student and family at-home tech use and access.
    • Twitter, chats, real time/online conferences and unconferences for pd.
    • Continued use of a "learning action list" to guide at-home study efforts.
    • Possible use of Edmodo with entire fourth grade related to our rotations work.
  • I will once again restructure my classroom environment to better support blended learning and RTI in the following ways:
    • More small group work spaces.
    • Better classroom library organization.
    • More quiet spaces for recording and video creation.
    • A mini tech center for storage and access to tech equipment.
    • More posters and classroom reminders of optimal independent learning actions and attitudes.
  • Employment of the helpful efforts of student teacher(s) and possibly volunteers to assist with classroom learning efforts.
  • I will see if we can get the zoo-school partnership project off the ground for next year's students--that will require preplanning this year and summer grant writing. 
  • With colleagues, we'll re-look at our field studies list and make changes if needed.
  • Greater employment of brain-friendly, blended classroom teaching endeavors to foster optimal confidence, growth and happiness. 
This is an intense time in school so I've planned a nice weekend away at the very end to inspire the best of what I can do in the next seven weeks.  Next week, with testing behind us, I'll be able to put all of my efforts into optimal project base learning.  I'm really excited about that work and the learning that the students and I will gain from it.  

Thanks to all who read and comment on my posts.  Know that you've been an integral part of our learning journey this year.  Your tweets, comments, blog posts and in-person conversations have invigorated my work and student learning.  I can't imagine teaching without this support.  And, as always, please let me know if you have ideas or questions related to this post  I want to keep the learning conversation going.