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Saturday, April 08, 2017

Priority: A Happy Team

Yesterday when our PLC met, we discussed the need for promoting a happy team--a team where children learn together happily with care and respect for one another. This discussion grew out of our talk about a number of student needs and the great amount of learning across disciplines students have engaged in over the past many months. As so many educators say today, we have to make time for students' social/emotional needs as well as the content standards.

So, how will we make sure that we end the year with a happy, positive team, and a team that meets the many academic standards set too?

First, I know that I'll slow it down a bit. We've had many assessments and still have many to go in my main teaching area which is math. Once we complete next week's assessment, I'll relax the pace a bit as students focus on more depth than breadth with a number of remaining standards. Then once the MCAS tests pass, we'll focus on learning math in more hands-on ways in conjunction with our STEAM study. I'll try out an idea I have for next year which is an idea that will limit the extensive time we spend on assessments, thus creating more time for joyful teamwork and hands-on learning.

For students who prefer the fast pace and extensive breadth, we're fortunate to have many online programs to support that. I'm encouraging all students who can to complete Khan Academy's Fifth Grade Mission as one way to prepare for MCAS tests. Students are also engaged in a a Fraction Project, Symphony Math, TenMarks, and more. In today's world, there's never a shortage of ways to learn, which leads to the challenge of prioritizing how we use those seemingly limitless resources to teach well.

Also, as we lead into the transition weeks, weeks where students will engage in a number of special learning events and ready for their transition to Middle School, we'll make more time for class meetings, student choice, and play--these ingredients are essential when it comes to fostering a happy team. We'll reach out to families too who have many questions at this time of year too.

I'm looking forward to this final leg of the school year, a time of year when a teacher's thoughtful attention to her students is the most important ingredient of the teaching/learning puzzle. Onward.