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Sunday, February 05, 2017

Developing Your Craft and Service to Students

As I think of good teaching and where I am steering the teaching/learning ship, I'm reminded of the elements of teaching well:
  • Creating a welcoming, inviting, and comfortable learning/teaching space
    • Comfy chairs, hoki stools, stand-up desks, rolling tables, more white boards. I reached out to a curriculum director with my ideas for upgrading the classroom learning space. I never heard back, but I'm hoping that some money that is available can be used for that. Also the PTO supported the purchase of new comfy chairs which the students enjoy. I will consider writing a grant to support this change
    • A "place for everything and everything in its place." We continue to work on this and it has helped lessons. I'll continue this effort with students. 
    • Inspiring signage There's motivational signage. I'd like to work with colleagues to write a grant to support more of this for around the school next year. 
    • Easy-to-access materials and resources: For the most part, this occurs. 
    • One-to-one tech. We're fortunate to have this and it's awesome. 
  • Staying on top of cognitive and content research and information
    • Re-visit Boaler book and website as I think ahead with others to develop the math program with greater collaboration, teamwork, and maker math. I hope to revisit this work over the summer as I prepare for school year 2017-2018. I will need to rely, in part, on systemwide efforts in this regard too. I've advocated for greater systemwide support of this effort and have heard that some are working to make this happen. 
    • Learn more about the integration of coding at elementary school and work with systemwide colleagues to advocate for and promote coding beginning at kindergarten. I reached out to advocate for this and haven't heard back. I will use some summer time to support this. 
    • Continue efforts to learn about and employ culturally proficient practice throughout the curriculum. Our team has many plans in this area, and the next step is to do the leg work, research, and reading related to those plans. Our system also has a number of activities that contribute to this area, activities the students and I can get involved in. 
    • Continue to look for ways to learn about and embed SEL into the curriculum program. I have set aside some time during February vacation to continue this work. This has been a whole-school effort so I will work with colleagues in this regard. 
  • Developing a positive relationship with every student
    • Rethinking our schedule with colleagues to build in more time to develop positive student-student and student-teacher relationships. We've made more time for this during this school year, and are going to meet soon with regard to a new schedule that will potentially build in more of this time next year. 
    • Working with colleagues on the curriculum map, pattern, and programming to build in learning efforts that strengthen knowledge of and relationship with each student. Our team meets regularly and we'll likely start drafting ideas and making plans related to this in the days to come and over the summer. 
    • Establishing check-in/talk/organization time for students who need it. I followed a colleague's lead by establishing "Morning Masters," a time for students to come in early for extra help or to learn what they choose to learn. I'll look for more ways to establish times like this in the schedule. 
  • Continually developing pedagogy so that learning is up-to-date, responsive, engaging, and meaningful.
    • As a team, make sure that we attend and engage in a range of learning events to build our collective knowledge and effort. Target team learning to collectively grow the program. The focus will be math, coding, SEL, and student-centered accommodations. 
    • Make the best possible use of collaborative time using good process to grow our efforts to stay up-to-date and forward a top notch program. Finding ways to employ Hosting Conversations research and efforts will build our collective effort in this regard. 
  • Staying up-to-date and informed with regard to optimal teaching tools and resources
    • Think carefully about good resources and tools to support student learning. Start a list for 2017-2018 school year now. 
    • Continue to use online threads, chats, and connections to stay abreast of new ideas in education. It's important not to miss out on worthy teaching/learning activities. 
  • Working with good collaboration and camaraderie with students, families, and colleagues
    • Continue efforts to communicate well with the learning community including weekly newsletter, responding to emails, sharing the good news, asking for stakeholder ideas. 
    • Develop efforts related to students' showcase portfolios.
    • Develop good ways to support, communicate with, and serve families and students more distanced from the daily teaching and learning efforts. Routines and scheduling that will support this will be a focus of upcoming meetings.