Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Details and Big Picture

The quote, "A community is not an abstract ideal," challenges educators in important ways.
The great start to the school year led me to review the initial week's plans and to-do list. We've got some great field experiences planned and special team days too.

Today I'll focus on the room details--lots of putting things where they belong, "everything in its place and a place for everything." When students know where to find materials, they're a lot more independent and satisfied in the classroom.

I'll also focus on the daily routines of signing in, lunch count, copies of the schedule, and student name lists. Even though all the information is on the team website, not everyone has good access to tech still so paper copies of essential information are helpful.

One challenge at the start of the school year is the angst a teacher feels about rushing into the curriculum. In many places, there are tight curriculum maps and lists that hurry us along without providing enough good time at the start of the year to build strong teams and a caring community, the kind of community Ruth Charney supports in her wonderful book, Teaching Children to Care. I'll resist that push in favor of community building as everything I've read and I'm reading now supports what Charney wrote so many years ago which is that the first six weeks of school should be devoted to creating a strong classroom community.

My favorite work is the thinking, planning, responding, and creating with and for students. My least favorite work is all the details of organization, but it's work that has to be done so that's today's order. Onward.