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Thursday, June 08, 2017

Lead Time and Prioritzing

Our teaching team gets together in the late days of August to map out the school year. Overall we did a good job, however a few unknowns, created some scheduling challenges. As I think of this, I'm wondering how we can try to avoid that in the future as a team, school, and system.

March is a Good Month to Look Ahead
With regard to decisions, issues, summer work and big-idea efforts for the next year, March is a good time. March is a long, somewhat dreary month that lends itself to future think. This is a good time to think about the bigger decisions that connect to the next year.

Pacing the Math Curriculum
I want to re-look at the math curriculum pacing so we don't have so many tests bunched up at the end of the year--tests that positively contribute to students' performance on standardized tests. I also want to re-look at the assessment-time that connects to the math curriculum. Currently the year includes about 25 hours of assessment and 10 hours of online tech efforts which leaves approximately 175 hours total for instruction. I want to think about the time and structure of units in order to get most of the teaching, practice and study in before the tests in May.

Special Events
For years we've had a similar routine of special fifth grade events at the end-of-the-year. We may want to tweak that a bit to make sure that while the end-of-year is celebratory it's also well paced. This will be a team discussion. It could be that we shift a few events from the end-of-the-year to another time in the year.

Field Studies
We have a number of invigorating field studies at the grade level. I think we may be able to schedule those a bit better to make time for weather-postponements. Overall these were well planned and profitable with regard to team building and learning.

Celebrations
I'm going to suggest that my school set two celebration dates early in the year and use those dates to celebrate all the special events that happen to the people on our staff. If we set the dates early in the year, most people will be able to work around them in order to attend.

Room Set-Up
We're entering our third year of the team approach. This consistency gives me good ideas as to how to set up my classroom to support math, STEAM, and teamwork teaching well. One advantage of the shared model is that you have more room in the classroom since you are focused on a few subjects rather than all teaching/learning goals.

Summerwork
As usual, summer is a research, study, and write grants in view of the year ahead and individual/team goals.

In general thinking about important decisions with lead time and prioritizing helps us to make thoughtful decisions that are more inclusive than exclusive. How we use time is a critical component when it comes to teaching and learning well.