Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Classroom Musings: Coaching Central

Today some students met in their STEAM Teams. They considered designs for their biodomes. One class got to hear John Graf, lead engineer at NASA speak about adaptive design for space survival. There was also excitement about the fact that our tadpoles are turning into tiny spadefoot toads. A few such toads proudly stared at us as they sat on the aquarium platform today. Tomorrow they'll leave us to start their journey in the new Drumlin Farm spadefoot habitat in Lincoln, MA.

There's also been a lot of activity with K'nex as girls and boys build a number of vehicles and other structures. Whiteboard drawing and coloring have been popular during read aloud. Recess games like soccer, whiffle ball, and four square dominate while others swing and practice gymnastics on the grassy fields.

It's crunch time for the biography project as students work towards writing about eight questions and answers for their fictional interviews with famous people throughout time--an interview modeled after the Boston Globe Koch Interview column so long ago. Students are also learning about the human life cycle and reproductive system.

The rest of the week will be spent creating biodomes, learning about ways to take care of planet Earth, and more human body systems study and biography project writing and poster making.

There's a lot of coaching involved in this end-of-the-year teaching/learning time. Clearly we have to keep students focused as they complete their projects--projects they'll be proud to share with classmates and family members, and projects that will serve as memorable events with regard to their learning life.

As a critical teacher, I always see room for change and improvement, but now is not the time, now is the time for coaching children well with the good plans and projects in place.

Next week includes multiple celebrations including the band/orchestra concert, a field trip, Field Day, and the Biography Celebration. And the week after that includes more STEAMwork, another field trip, and Move-Up Day. The choreography is integral now to the children's happiness and learning success. Pacing is paramount, and positivity imperative.

We want to end the year with the same enthusiasm and care that we started the year with. Onward.