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Friday, November 04, 2016

Teaching Forward: Next Steps November 2016

It's been another dynamic week with TeamFive. Day after day our team has met with almost all the families of the grade level to discuss students' good efforts, interests, and needs. Students' own reflections and showcase portfolios have led the conversations. Parents' comments and questions have been very helpful, supportive, and forward thinking. Also, the teaching team has checked in with each other every day exchanging notes, sharing comments, and discussing how we'll embed the new ideas into upcoming teaching and learning events.

Overall parents have been very complimentary about the three-teacher shared teaching model. They like the way students have the chance to learn with more than one teacher, get up and move more often, practice what how they'll learn in Middle School, and profit from the team approach. That's been terrific. Also there's been a thread of needing to provide a bit more support with regard to helping students with responsibility. This is particularly true for students who may have a more complex home-school routine. We're meeting that need by adding another layer of support for these students. On Monday the teaching team will meet again to discuss the conferences, pen our weekly newsletter, and plan for the days ahead in view of this information.

No two days are the same nor are the weeks even though we have a regular pattern to follow. In the days ahead, I'll focus on the following teaching/learning events.

Lit Mix: Reading RTI
I have a terrific small group of readers for this intervention block. I keep saying, "Who's the teacher here?" since they've been teaching me a lot about reading routines, The One Minute Reader app, progress monitoring, and reading good books. The teachers before me have set the stage for success with this group and I look forward to our enthusiastic and productive meetings.

Math RTI
Today we'll create math RTI groups. I prepared the data chart and now it seems that the Math Director and Coaches have a very specific way to carry out this effort so I'll listen to what they say and follow as directed. I'm sure I'll have the chance to work with a great group of mathematicians twice a week.

Math Core Program: Patterns, Order of Operations, and Multiplying with Base Ten Numbers
We'll work as pattern seekers all week to to look for, study, and apply what we've learned as we continue to work with base ten numbers, factors, and multiples.

Some or all of the fifth graders will try out a new assessment, Track My Progress. It's thought that this assessment may be better matched to the state standards than current K-5 systemwide math assessment.

The Election
My colleague, Ms. Leo, has led TeamFive with the study of our United States democracy with specific attention to the branches of government and voting process. She'll lead the fifth graders as they lead the whole school in a mock election. She's put the voting form on a Google doc and formatted it respectfully to show a picture of each candidate and their names in alphabetical order. The fifth graders will run the polling booths by checking off names, inviting students to vote, and giving out "I Voted" stickers. Ms. Leo taught this unit as an "informative" rather than an "opinion" unit which I felt was the right developmental choice. This has been a true example of Teacher Leadership thanks to Ms. Leo.

Room Pride
We'll spend our Open Circle time next week focused on room pride as we clean up desks, arrange materials, and discuss the classroom environment in general--it's time for that kind of effort.

The Weekend
This is the first weekend in a long time where there's been less than more school related work to do and I welcome the reprieve. Onward.