Saturday, September 27, 2014

The 5th Grade Learning Continues. . .

Like a story, the school year unfolds.

At the end of the week, I like to focus on the week ahead with the primary objectives. On Monday morning, I'll revisit this list as I implement specific lessons and activities.

School Assembly
Three students will present the number quilt to all students in the school at our weekly assembly.

Landscape Model Project Completion
The room is filled with all kinds of models, supplies, and associated paperwork. The "Favorite Place in Nature Landscape Models" was a messy, but profitable project. Students are putting the finishing touches on their slide show presentation. I'm looking forward to our final share with families and others soon.

Collaboration, Ecosystem Teams, and Observation
We'll make the time to learn about collaboration this week as we assess our skills and discuss the behaviors that lead to positive collaboration. Later students will have a chance to apply those skills as we make our first trip to our 10-yard X 10-yard ecosystem plot of land, a place we'll return to again and again throughout the year as we learn life science standards.

Math: Explicit Instruction, Math Talk, and Practice
Math this week will include considerable explicit instruction, math conversation, debate, and practice as we study coordinate grids and use Khan Academy with greater detail. Students will analyze a number of grid models and list the advantages and disadvantages of each model. Math instruction will also include lots of opportunity to practice the skill, concept, and knowledge related to this standard.

Buddy Time
Students will lead buddies this Friday in an apple tree glyph project.

Good Work Habits and Feedback
On Sunday I'll review students' project slide show and note those who still have work to complete. Then, on Monday we'll make some time to collect homework assignments and review homework routines. While I hate to take students' recess time, I also know that if students' don't complete their homework assignments, they don't achieve as well as others. Therefore this week will also include some catch-up on homework time during recess for a few students. Next year at middle school, students will be expected to complete all assignments on time. Modification and help is always available prior to the due date, so there's no reason not to complete assignments.

Professional Learning
The online Mathematical Thinking course starts this week. That will take about six hours, and I've got some independent study to work on too. Our grade-level team will spend considerable time this week focused on students' ELA assessments, needs, and schedules as well. We'll also continue our routine of publishing a weekly update for students and families, and prep for upcoming conference share.

Students will listen to another story about George Washington Carver and complete their Carver reflections in their STEAM Inspiration books.

Over the past few years, our school community has embraced multiple changes with regard to structures, schedules, and routines. This is the first year that many of those changes are firmly planted, and the resulting positive growth is evident. We have more space, more predictable, student-centered schedules, and greater team.  Change takes time, but thoughtful change leads to a positive difference.

Now it's time to focus on the weekend.