Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Fourth Grade Journey Continues

Multiple/Factor Card Activity
Today we turned the curriculum page as we culminated our place value and persuasive writing units. We cleaned the room, sent home unit assessments, and had some time to learn and explore in relaxed and enjoyable ways.

When Monday arrives, we'll embark on the following units:
I'll begin this new leg of the year with a reminder of what "real learning" is--the kind of learning journey we took with the persuasive writing unit including initial assessments and review, a focus on the goal (standard), and strategizing, adapting, and assessing as we moved towards the goal. 

Today as I passed out the initial, middle, and end assessments for the persuasive unit, I heard students remarking about their growth and pointing out how their first persuasive essays were so short while their final pieces were long and detailed. They also discussed the particulars such as the specific details, language, paragraphs, and reasons--the elements we emphasized throughout the unit. They happily noticed their progress, and demonstrated pride as they held up their work for others to see. I told them that their assessments were also assessments for me demonstrating successful teaching and areas that I still have to work at to teach both standards and students well. I like to share this information as one way to build the understanding that together we are a learning community, a team of learners including students and teachers. 

Next week as I introduce the culture project and multiples/factors unit, I want to enlist the same understanding and investment in the learning cycle from assessment and goal setting to effective learning and mastery. With this in mind, I am reminded of how important the introductory phase of a unit is, and how rushing does not serve the unit teaching and goals well.  Hence, I'll take the time needed for a good start to both units.

Finally, the more I embrace new tools, standards, and strategies, the more I'm enjoying the act of teaching and learning--it is definitely where I want to invest my energy.  Hence, I'll work with care to make a commitment to my classcentric goals, leaving the big picture issues and events to those in that realm.

Step-by-step, strategy-by-strategy, the fourth grade year typically moves quickly.  Even more important than the strategies, standards, and goals is taking the time to hear, respond, and enjoy these young children that I teach and serve each day. Onward.