You can't teach well by cramming too many projects into a year, but you do teach well by choosing a just right amount of rich, deep projects--the kind of projects that spark students' creativity, curiosity, and learning.
So as I look over countless items, I'm well aware that we're going to have to cut some projects out, and I'm not quite sure which projects we'll retire in order to fit in the new expectations.
This is an important discussion to have with the broader teaching team--what will we keep and what will we take away?
And, before that, we need to assess with the following questions:
- What are our collective priorities?
- Where are we hitting the mark and where do we have work to do?
- Are we revising curriculum priorities to meet changing priorities with regard to the skills, concepts, and knowledge students will need to succeed in their future (not ours)?
- Who is doing what? Where is there redundancy, and where is there vacancy?
- Are we choreographing programs with the right balance, pace, and developmental degree of choice and voice?
As I look around, I realize that there's little I can do on my own as the whole grade-level team has to sit down and decide what is it that we'll do next year and what is it that we'll delete from the fifth grade menu.
As it stands now the program expectations outlast the hours in a year so a conversation is necessary--a conversation my colleagues are eager to engage in.
Good work takes time, and we fool ourselves and cheat our students if we don't recognize this. There is needed practice, repetition, and depth when it comes to good teaching.
We'll do the math this summer and plan an apt year ahead of teaching and learning. In the meantime I'll organize the materials that exist as I await our final decisions.