Saturday, August 26, 2017

Starting the Teaching/Learning Year: Relationship Building and Explicit Teaching

What you do at the start of the year, you tend to live with throughout the teaching/learning year, and that's why how you start is so important.

Fortunately, our team approach of teaching fifth grade helps all of us to remind each other of the many important lessons and activities that make a difference at the start of the year.

There will be a number of team building events such as the spaghetti-marshmallow challenge, note-card challenge, and creating classroom protocols. There will also be a good number of explicit lessons that teach students how to access the many supports and materials available to them, and then how to use those materials. For example, students will learn how to navigate and use the class website, chromebooks, and math materials.

Further, the start of the year will focus on get-to-know-each-other activities such as the selfie project, birthday pictograph, What's Your Number math activity, culture flags, and other types of identity projects. We want every child to feel good about who they are and what they desire, and we want students to know about each other too.

Many would like to fast-forward the school year while the energy is high and enthusiasm great, yet when you do that you miss out on the important building blocks of the year, the foundation of relationship, teamwork, and explicit understanding of the expectations, materials, processes, and supports available for an optimal year of learning and teaching.