Monday, September 30, 2013

Visualize the Day

Each morning I visualize the day ahead.  I troubleshoot, prep, and anticipate the twists and turns in the school day road. I find that this visualization helps me to be prepared, energized, and successful with intent and delivery. Below is a snapshot of the day's visualization.  Feel free to read if you're thinking about starting or developing this practice or if you're interested in a typical day in a fourth grade classroom.

Monday, September 30 Visualization

The students will start with quiet writing about their weekend.  It will take my encouragement to make sure that everyone takes out their writer's books and focuses.  Positive comments and encouragement helps.  Getting up and moving around the room inspires too.

After that, it will be time for assembly.  Generally everyone is attentive and interested.  A SumDog update with a colorful sign may serve to inspire extra math practice for 4th and 5th graders, hence I'll prep that beforehand.

Then time for a short snack and break, then students will work on creating tables and number models online for a host of numbers that increase with difficulty.  I'll give a short review and then let students get started with friends, working where they want.  They love using the computers and choosing their work friends and places.

Lunch will bring more play and nutrition. After that during a short 15-minute transition we'll sing a host of favorite math songs, then off to gym. While students are at gym, I'll meet with grade level colleagues to discuss upcoming tech projects, The Culture Museum celebration dates and roll-out, the week's schedule, and more.

After gym, I'll attend a data meeting where we'll focus on students' reading progress and need.  A teacher with terrific reading expertise will lead the meeting. Hence, I want to be mindful of her suggestions. I also want to be mindful that I don't promise more than I can deliver as I'm still responsible for large numbers of students at a time.  While I'm at the data meeting, an assistant will lead a lesson in alliteration and the start of reading workshop.  Upon return, students will probably be finishing up their work and reading.

The day will end with our Letters from Rifka read aloud.  I'll start with asking if students have any questions about the story reminding students that asking questions is one strategy that helps us to understand what we're reading well.  Then we'll dive into the book with attention on Rifka's the results of Rifka's thoughts, actions, and language, essentially how does she impact her own story.

At day's end I'll get out and take a short walk, then focus on prepping student folders for upcoming family conferences.

This is the day I expect.  There's always a few unknowns thrown into the mix each day, and I'm prepared to attend to those factors if essential or helpful.  Yet, for the most part, I'll try to stick to the plan created.

Visualizing the day ahead is a helpful practice for educators as it helps us stay focused and ready to teach children well.