Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Changing Grades: School Year 2014-2015

Positive actions and intent focus for any grade.
As the result of an elementary school reconfiguration, I will change grades.  There are many teachers changing grades and/or schools as we extend grades k-4 throughout three schools.  Early in the year I made a commitment that if the process was thoughtful, I would not complain about any change. Hence, I'm not complaining as I do think the process was thoughtful; the reconfiguration will result in more space for teaching and learning, and the greater space will be helpful as we work to meet every child's needs.

I'll move from fourth grade to fifth grade.  I've taught fifth grade before, but this time I'll focus on mainly science and math.  It is an exciting time to focus on both those studies as the integration of technology gives us terrific new potential to inspire, educate, and respond to all students with regard to both topics.

I'll also join a new team, a team similar to my current team in that they're dedicated and skilled at what they do.

Summer study will find me immersing myself in the two main topics in the following ways:
  • Taking a Massachusetts Department of Education course in proportional thinking and math. 
  • Completing the grade 5 Khan Academy course of study to refresh my skills in that area.
  • Continuing to add to the newly revised class math website
  • Reading the the new standards and the MA standards related to science.
  • Reviewing the many science standards at grade 5 and updating the science website
  • Thinking of ways to create a math/science-friendly environment.
50% of this year's students will follow me as I'll work in a cluster of two teachers and approximately 50 students.  I'll talk to my students about that today, and ask for their advice on what's important for a teacher who is moving up with a grade.  I'll be interested in their thoughts, ideas, and questions.  I find that this transparency really helps with any transition.

I'll continue to work on the move-up letter prior to teacher announcements.  I'll add a parent survey portion so parents will have a voice as to next year's program and effort to best meet their child's needs. I'll take their comments and thoughts seriously as I plan the year ahead. I'll also confer with next year's team, and add the points, information, and supplies they feel are integral to a successful fifth grade year. 

The learning curve in the last couple weeks has been steep, but not without good merit for my future teaching/learning work.  The journey continues always with an element of ease and predictability and an element of challenge, surprise, and change.