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Saturday, February 07, 2015

Imagine the "Home Away from Home" Homeroom

Too often students bring worries, concerns, and other problems to school for a large number of reasons. In big homerooms, this creates havoc because one teacher often can't attend to all of those issues and complete start-of-the-day efforts as well. That's why I think "home away from home" homerooms is a better idea. Also, in large classes, teachers often can't read or write with students enough, and the "home away from home" homeroom can fill that need too.

Here's how it would work.

1. Take the number of students in the school and divide by the total of all or almost all staff to determine the average size of the homeroom. Include coaches, directors, and others in the equation as it's important for all staff to work with students regularly to keep their perspectives current. In some cases perhaps two educators would share a homeroom.

2. Then create homeroom lists dependent on need. Give students of greatest need smaller sized homerooms and more skilled staff and students with less need larger homerooms with a variety of staff. Yet make sure homerooms are balanced and not all the most challenged students are in one homeroom. So if you have a really challenged student, put him/her in a smaller homeroom with students who are not as challenged and perhaps very kind students.

3. Create homeroom spaces including the following items:
  • Cozy seating, spaces.
  • Refrigerators for drinks, food.
  • Hooks and cubbies for equipment, outdoor clothing
4. Establish the homeroom protocols including the following:
  • Greeting: How do we warmly greet our students?
  • Check-in questions:
    • How are you?
    • Do you have a snack?
    • Do you have the clothing needed for outdoor play?
    • Did you eat breakfast?
    • Anything on your mind?
  • Shared/Independent reading routine.
  • Shared/Independent writing routine.
  • Homework check in or follow-up if needed.
5. Determine the amount of time homeroom will take each morning. You may event decide to be creative about when homeroom occurs and for whom. 

6. Determine data protocols.

7. Determine homeroom teacher share, training, support routines. 

I think the implementation of this idea will provide greater support to all students and create a common ground of service to students for all educators in the building.

Also these homeroom groups could stay together for multiple years with the same teacher. They could be multi-age or similar age depending on need. Context will play a big role in how this is carried out. 

Do you think this would work?

What would you add or revise to make the model work for your teaching/learning context?

Let me know.

I also think that PTOs and parent groups can help out by having one family volunteer to be the school conceirge each day. That concierge would greet all children in the morning and help out as needed around the school during the day.