Thursday, March 06, 2014

Why Change?

Sometimes people wonder why I care so much about change.

Daily I teach a large number of children, and in their hearts, eyes, and actions, I see ways that I can serve those children better. That's why I like change--I like change that makes a positive difference in children's learning.

For example, recently a parent mentioned that a child didn't like school.  This is a bright, capable child who learns with ease and interest.

I know this child craves greater opportunities for hands-on invention and design--lab time work to create, investigate, and explore.

I want to build that time in for the child during the typical school day. I want to personalize those hands-on explorations with wonderful tools, materials, and processes to enliven that child's mind, curiosity, and learning appetite.

We have had the chance for some significant, positive change this year. For example, specialist teachers agreed to sponsor a five-day-a-week numeracy club during the school day.  I watch as the children in  my class jump out of their seats to attend that small-numbers group. I foster similar numeracy play, learning, and development during that time with others in the classroom--a time that gives all children a stronger foundation for the core lesson each day.

We've also had the chance to invigorate our writing efforts with consultant support, release time for planning and share, and lots of in-class time to coach students' writing craft and skill through numerous genre. Students have responded with positive attitudes and growth towards writing.

Today, we'll start a concerted effort towards fluency development. Beginning with a scholarly article, then an expert-led discussion by our reading specialist and ELA Director, and after that a teaching/learning team discussion about how we can better embed fluency efforts and work into our approach.

Further, the RETELL course is pushing me to think about my ELL students with greater attention. Similarly RETELL is developing my awareness towards vocabulary development with all students by fostering new weekly and daily learning habits including the learning list board, strategies and routines that embed vocabulary into the curriculum/home study, and direct vocabulary rehearsal.

I like change, especially change that takes a thoughtful, inclusive, child-centered, learning focused path--change that is choreographed and communicated for best effect.