Google+ Badge

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Teaching/Learning 2017-2018

As this years program rolls out, I see ideas for next year's program including the list below. I'll continue to add to this list as the year continues and next year begins.

The Classroom
The classroom is a cozy learning space. We have comfy chairs, good books, computers, and plenty of supplies. This summer I'll research to see how we might modernize the classroom more to reflect even better Earth friendly (less plastics), student-centered furniture and supplies. I may write a grant to purchase some of those materials early next fall.

Professional Learning
This summer I'll attend the Summer MTA conference. There I'll learn more about my union and gain special education credits for upcoming recertification in 2018. I also have a large number of books to re-read, complete, or read for the first time. So I'd like to do a lot of reading and writing this summer.

Field Studies and Special Events
We'll schedule a few of those field studies and special events this spring and the rest in the late days of summer and early days of the fall. I suspect we'll stick with most of the great events we participated in this year.

Grants and New Efforts
I'll possibly write a grant to make the classroom a better STEAM/math center of learning. I'd also like to explore writing a grant to work with Primary Source in Watertown to support our continued efforts related to cultural proficiency. And one more grant to support inspiring SEL, Cultural Proficiency, and Growth Mindset signage around our school.

Union/DESE Efforts
I hope to continue to to support my local, state, and national union as well as my work on DESE's Teacher Advisory Cabinet.

Summer Recalibration
I've spent most of my days in the past many summers working on school/education efforts. I'll read a lot this summer and attend the MTA conference, and I'll also spend some significant time catching up on personal matters, matters that also affect the work I'm able to do with students. It's been quite a few years since I've been able to do this.

Math Teaching/Learning
The efforts below describe the math teaching/learning efforts I hope to engage in during 2017-2018.

  • Home Study Routines: I've always fluctuated a lot with home study routines as there's not one routine that fits all families and students. Next year I'll continue the weekly packet routine since that seems to support the most students' home lives. I'll assign the packet on Fridays, hand-out on Mondays, and collect the following Monday of school. I'll work to teach students and families the routine early in the year and then make a concerted effort to support students' efforts in this regard.
  • Homework Club/Study: Our team is exploring ways to offer extra support to students both during the school day as well as before and after school. This is important with regard to our students who have little at-home academic support. Others in our system are employing efforts in this regard too. As I think about this, I realize that it will be best to coordinate our efforts and time in this regard.
  • Facts Study/Number Knowledge: It's important to start the fifth grade year with easy to practice and use numbers as students learn new standards and content for the first time. This kind of study lends itself to fact practice and a good warm up for the teaching and learning to come. Students who are not solid with their math facts tend to lag behind their classmates with regard to math progress. There's lots of cognitive rationale for this, and we can work in a parallel fashion to build number sense while also teaching other math concepts, knowledge, and skill.
  • Scope and Sequence: I'd like to see changes in the order of our scope and sequence, and hope that we'll be able to work as a math team across district on this. I've reached out with this request, but have received no response to date so I'm not sure if this will happen.
  • Assessments: I hope we'll shift to less assessments and assessments that match the curriculum focus. Currently we have assessments that match our curriculum and some assessments that don't match the curriculum
  • Maker Math/Writing in Math: I want to continue to build efforts to employ maker math in addition to more writing in math too.
  • Strategic Collaboration and Share: It would be great to have a day-long, well organized, strategic meeting with math teachers across district to hear about the many ways they successfully teach math. I know that we have a dynamic group of math teachers at my grade level and I'd really like to hear about the great work they do. Our efforts to share in the past have not been well organized so the share has been somewhat disjointed and uneven. With a strategic online/offline process, we could make sure that everyone has a chance to share their strengths, ask questions, and develop their craft. This kind of process would develop our "collective genius" in this regard too.
The first steps with regard to planning for next year are to continue to teach well this year and including many of next year's goals into the end of this year so that the year continues to go well. Issues of current attention include the following:
  • Typical Room Clean-Up/Reorganization: In early spring, I'll reset the classroom again to get ready for lots of project work and STEAM study after the Math MCAS tests. Until I'll work with students to gain proficiency with the math standards in meaningful ways.
  • Completion of SEL Study Group Efforts: This has been a meaningful, but demanding project. One I look forward to completing during this February vacation week.
  • Student Showcase Portfolios: When we return to school, students will continue their work on these special books that showcase their learning efforts from this year.
  • Math Standards: Students will continue to focus on fractions, then study many other standards with a deep focus on multi-step problem solving.
  • Field Studies: We need to shore up permission slips and details for upcoming special events and field studies. I'll make a few phone calls over vacation in this regard.
It's been another good year of teaching. I continue to be so grateful for our shared teaching model, a model that is so much better than the old time one-teacher-one-classroom model I taught in for so many years.

Also, I've used the chart below for the last few years to organize my efforts beginning in the winter prior to the school year and I'll use this chart again for 2017-2018:



Winter, Spring and Summer 2017 Professional Learning

Summer Study: 
Summer is a good time to study, research, and prepare for the school year ahead.
  • Update Grade Level Curriculum Chart in conjunction with Colleagues (start in summer, complete in fall).  Summer 2017
  • Continue to follow and update the teaching/learning program relative to the new ESSA laws and policies
  • Summer reading:
    • Revisit Boaler, Emdin Books
    • Read Thank you for being late with future of education in mind
  • Review and re-organize math website to support student/family teaching/learning/outreach 
  • Revisit the curriculum night presentation with a focus on Lifelong Learning Competencies Summer/Fall 2017
  • Write Move-Up Letter, Supply list for 2017-2018 class. 
  • Meet with Team sometime in late August to plan year ahead, book field trips.
  • Complete mandated trainings - late August
  • Attend Summer MTA Conference 7/30-8/3 Focus on Special Needs Credit, other areas of professional development.

Continue to Update local union website. Ongoing

Potentially draft a grant to update cultural proficiency efforts possibly with Primary Source and another grant to support an updated STEAM/Math classroom with McAuliffe Center training for fifth grade teachers and other efforts. WPSF grant ideas.

Continue to update and create team website with colleagues. Update and refine other existing curriculum websites. Spring/Summer 2017

Update Learning-to-Learn Website with a focus on student collaboration and team building. Ongoing Link work related to SEL study group too. 

Determine classroom needs, complete order forms, shop for supplies, and keep receipts. The PTO gives us a few hundred dollars for supplies, but we have to turn in receipts to get that. (See STEAM List) . Match with systemwide initiatives

Work with colleagues to determine field study choices and special events. Summer 2017

Complete Mandated Online Trainings: This takes about a half day. Make sure that the trainings are up to date at time of completion. Summer/Fall 2017




Summer Work Just Prior to Start of School

Curriculum Night Presentation Revision (ongoing)
Complete Revision with grade-level colleagues.


Meet with special educator, to review student services and schedules. Review and revise Complete Assessment Form/class chart.

Ordering: Check orders, put away all supplies.


Team Meeting Summer Date(s) : (TBD)


Review, revise, and set up Class Data Chart.
Assess MCAS scores prior to school year.

Incorporate system-wide and school goals into overall year’s plan and efforts. Coordinate teaching of learning to learn curriculum into first six weeks with colleagues. Analyze student standardized scores and make related changes to curriculum program.

First Weeks of School: Use these documents as guides - School Year Plans,  Description of Plans

Work on grade-level schedule and calendar with colleagues
Start of Year: Practice Routines that Matter

9/15 Consider Dot Day: http://www.thedotclub.org/dotday/register
Think about ways to build last year's name effort in a meaningful way that can be shared with family members on Curriculum Night (Last year we successfully implemented the "My Three Words" project/film)

Global Cardboard Challenge Date ______ rain date______ Do we want to coordinate this with team building efforts at start of year?

PLC Start: Establish overall focus, norms, roles, protocols. . . .

Curriculum Night: Establishing the Learning Community
Extended time granted, date established. Consider a culturally proficient introductory project.

Early Year Assessments/Goal Setting,Math SRSD Assessment, Work with colleagues to identify best early year assessments.

Parent surveys: Paper survey worked better than online survey last year.

Early Year Family Meetings (optional) - invitation in first newsletter

Evaluation Professional Learning and Practice Goals:
Update goals to reflect system-wide goals, summer work, review with admin., continue efforts to meet goals.

Learning to Learn Curriculum: Work with team to update and embed into learning.
Classroom Culture:
  • Set norms with students
  • Practice following norms
  • Discuss classroom community.
  • Work to empower student voice, respect, and contribution from start of the year. 
  • Create guiding signage with students Be explicit. Ongoing 

STEAM Workshop: Update STEAM Efforts
Naturalist Study Review and update. Consider system-wide updates.


Math Workshop: Work with team to discuss start.

Professional Learning for School Year 2015-2016

Focus on a Healthy, Earth-Friendly Classroom. Consider related study/grants.

MTA Summer Conference





This poster will continue to lead my work in the year ahead.