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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Rethinking the Program

A large number of new needs surfaced in the past few weeks of school. What's a teacher to do?

This generally happens around midyear. It's a time when you turn a curve in the curriculum, and new needs arise. It can be stressful as you notice needs with greater depth and try to figure out how to meet those needs. Generally children let you know when they need new or different, and then it's your job to respond.

As I stay up into the wee hours of the morning perseverating about school life, I realize that the students need the following.

Time for Team
We've carved out a homeroom day for this kind of effort next week.

New Structure
The elevated academic expectations and pace demand a simpler, and more straightforward structure. There's lots to accomplish and the more students understand the expectations and parameters, the better able I'll be to meet students' needs and interests. So in some ways I'll simplify the routine and make it more predictable in order to carve out more time to meet individual, small group, and whole class needs and interests.

Teaching opportunity is unlimited, however it's important to prioritize and choose. By choosing, you actually make the curriculum more doable and meaningful.

I need to organize the room to match the new priorities. I'll make time for that sooner than later.

I'm fortunate to have considerable teaching help this year, and I'll try to use that help to differentiate as well as possible in order to give as many children as possible lots of positive attention and support.

The addition of new needs and expectations means that other priorities and emphases have to be retired this year. You can't add without taking away.