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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Teach Children Well: The December Days Ahead

TeamFive, our collective team of educators, students, and family members, are off to a tremendous start. We've had successful field trips, STEAM team activities, projects, and lots of daily learning. Our community is developing with strength and care. As December approaches, I am thinking about what that month will bring to the learning/teaching team.

Academic Development
We're all working a lot on the expected standards these days. Learning routines in each teaching/learning area have been set and almost all of our time together is spent working to develop skill, concept, and knowledge in targeted, engaging ways. With regard to math, there will be a great deal of focus on reaching computational strength and solving math problems. Students will take a couple of assessments, practice, and converse about the deeper meaning of those processes. Ideally I wish I could make the learning more creative and project based, but for now that's not on the agenda, so I'll follow the expected routine.

With regard to reading, I'll continue to support my small Response to Intervention (RTI) group and work with our lead reading teacher to support students' overall efforts in this regard. I'll do the same for writing.

Class Community
It's time to focus a bit more on our homeroom and TeamFive community. With regard to the homeroom, now that we've been together for three months, there's a need to talk about who we are as a community of learners and what we value. On Monday we'll have that conversation so that we can continue to work together to build strong friendships and working relationships.

With regard to TeamFive, we'll also work as a team, and focus a bit on how we might promote a team celebration during December. It's already a busy month including concerts, a field trip, and countless outside-of-school special events.

Professional Learning
I find myself saying no more than yes these days with regard to professional learning since there simply isn't the time to keep up with the potential so I have to be choosy in this regard. I am going to focus in on the areas of ESSA research, local/state Union work related to professional learning/ development and teacher voice/choice, participation in an SEL study/writing group, an NEA role, and research/collaboration as part of the state's Teacher Advisory Cabinet (TAC). At the school level I am working on developing a greater sense of team with the many systemwide committees I work with as well as continuing to develop my efforts to learn about and teach math well. There's tremendous opportunity for educators to get involved and that involvement serves to heighten what you can bring to the classroom. It's important, however, to balance these efforts well with your daily work and personal life as well.