Thursday, July 31, 2014

A New Year: Teaching 2014-2015

In his post, How Life Works, Greg Richardson writes, "We harvest what we plant. Long before the summer growing season, we sow the seeds that determine the crops we will produce. We put our values into practice, and our lives bear fruit."

When we use these words to think about the school year, I wonder what seeds I will plant and grow, what values will I practice, and what fruits will I produce in the new school year?

The school year is the growing season for educators and students, it's when we invest our energy and time into growing minds, learning communities, skills, concept, and knowledge.

Each year is a new year, and that is one of the great advantages of our jobs as educators--in a sense, we get to start anew bringing forth the best of the old (the heirloom seeds) and planting new seeds that we've learned about, created, or discovered.

As school year 2014-2015 begins, what do you hope to harvest by the spring?

The list for me remains similar to the past yet there is more depth with regard to classroom efforts and less depth with regard to whole school efforts as I want to invest myself into serving the children well--what will they need, what will they call me to be, where will I take them, and where will they lead me?

The plan is to first set the stage with an inviting, student-centered learning environment, and then to begin the year with curriculum that will entice them, invigorate their minds, and make them confident about their readiness and ability to learn.  After that we'll dig in to the standards, units, and lessons that exist, areas of study that will be fitted to my learners' needs and interest through assessment, revision, and enrichment.

Step-by-step students, colleagues, and I will nurture the learning with our eyes on the main areas of focus:
  • Confident readiness for learning.
  • Self discipline, hard work, collaboration, and care.
  • A solid foundation related to fifth-grade math skill, concept, and knowledge as outlined in the standards.
  • A solid foundation of fifth grade science skill, concept, and knowledge as outlined in the standards.
  • Continued development of reading comprehension and responsive writing skills related to the biographies of STEAM stars and notable leaders in multiple disciplines.

At the start of the year, we'll establish the patterns, focus on mindsets and disposition, create protocols, and learn to coach one another so that everyone has a successful, fulfilling year.

As Greg reminds us in his post, the seeds we sow well in advance of the harvest matter, and the way we nurture those seeds through diligence, care, and attention makes a difference.  What seeds will you sow and nurture in the school year ahead? Giving this some thought in the quiet days of summer will support the school year growth and development you seek.

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