Monday, October 31, 2016

Lifeline: Direction

The week is so busy that it feels like I'm in a work flood and when it gets busy like this the long term vision serves as a lifeline, a thick rope tied to a tree, that will help me move through the week and get to the other side.

What is woven into this lifeline?

Math Program Development
I'll focus in on math program development by reviewing upcoming units, organizing web pages, sorting and organizing tools, revisiting the math learning schedule and reading the research that supports this work. For November and December, this is the main learning/teaching focus for my work.

Cultural Proficiency
Our team is focused on lifting the levels of cultural proficiency in our team program. As part of this we'll focus on the life of Frederick Douglas and how we can use his life and story to teach biography, reading skills, history, and character. We'll use his life as a model for the spring biography project, and we'll visit a local museum and welcome a living history artist to make this unit come alive. Further we have a host of materials to support greater cultural proficient teaching that we'll use as well as we develop this effort.

I'll listen carefully to parents' thoughts on homework as I continue to work to personalize the homework approach in ways that meet the needs of each student. I am aware of the research related to the impact of homework and will factor that in as parents and I talk about this.

I want to study the new ESSA law with greater depth and think about ways that school structure, roles, and routines can change to empower greater teacher/student voice and choice. My reading and research points to the value of voice and choice when it comes to creating dynamic teaching/learning environments.

Idea Exchange and Effort
When I'm called to speak up, advocate, or share information, I get that knot in my stomach as it's still somewhat daunting to notice opportunities for positive change and to express what you see. Our idea share systems are still somewhat undeveloped and therefore lack clarity or focus with regard to how to share for best effect. I've been schooled in advocacy efforts, but I will still benefit from greater practice in this arena. I see ways that we can continue to think about and possibly effect greater change to make learning more meaningful and successful for all students. These ideas are from my perspective and will benefit from the opportunity to work and think with others. I've written a lot about this since I first heard about the impact of quality idea share systems at a University of Massachusetts' conference years ago.

Balance and The Good Life
It's critical to create balance in life and I'll continue to think and act on that too in the days ahead. For each of us, balance will look differently, but for all of us, striking that balance is essential.