Monday, June 20, 2016

A Good Year Next Year

As the school year ends, I want to take a few minutes to think about next year. It will be another great teaching/learning year. A year that includes the following elements:

We've already provided an overview of classroom efforts to families, students, and colleagues via our TeamFive 2016-2017 website. We also posted a survey for parents so that they can provide a bit of information about their contact information and child's needs/priorities. We'll add to that preview by welcoming family members to a parent night early in the year.

Before we leave for the summer, our team will likely schedule a few summer days to prep with regard to the details for the year ahead. We'll need a day to review the curriculum map and a day to review scheduling needs and details. The more we do up front with regard to the details, the better we set the stage for a good year ahead.

Team Building
We'll begin the year by getting to know our students and building team. The Global Cardboard Challenge will be our first big team building event. We may want to focus this event on a particular service theme to mirror the school's wonderful service learning focus. We'll also include many other team building and get-to-know you activities into the first few weeks, and we'll work with students to create classroom "constitutions" that including protocols, policies, and norms for our teaching/learning efforts.

We'll also likely start the year with a number of formal and informal assessments to get a full view of every child. These assessments will help us to set good goals for every child's learning.

The Basics/Interdisciplinary Study
At the start of the year, we'll begin a good pattern of learning that helps us to meet standards and teach the basics of reading, writing, math, science, and social studies in engaging and empowering ways. When possible we'll foster an interdisciplinary mindset and learning by using themes and activities that bridge all curriculum areas.

Social Competency
We'll build in regular mini lessons, interdisciplinary teaching/learning, and open circle lessons to build students' social competency as well as growth mindset, learning-to-learn behaviors/attitudes, and service learning efforts.

We'll likely teach facilitate our STEAM events as a whole team throughout the year. We'll match the events well to other teaching/learning priorities.

Field Studies
We're planning a number of field studies which we'll likely schedule over the summer since we have the luxury of phone time then.

Standardized Tests
Massachusetts is switching to Next Generation MCAS so we'll keep our eyes on that information over the summer. We liked scheduling all the tests at once this year so we'll probably request the same kind of schedule next year.

Fifth Grade Play
I thought the timing for this event was good this year. We will work with the music teacher to prepare for this event next year.

Professional Learning
Our team has been invited to present at one and maybe two events during the school year so we'll plan to see if this works out with scheduling and budgets early in the year or over the summer. We'll also target new professional learning in ways that match curriculum/student objectives.

Professional Learning Community/RTI
These efforts were successful last year and I imagine they will continue in a similar way.

These are the main ingredients to a good year ahead. Now it's time to put the finishing touches on this year--a very good year.