Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Big Picture: Teaching/Learning 2017-2018

When challenge occurs, I analyze it in multiple ways on my own and with others to make it better. I like to tear challenge apart to find the "promise in the problem" and foster improvement. An unexpected end-of-day event created a re-look at all the details related to teaching/learning at fifth grade. I think the outcome of that thought will result in an improved program, one that serves children better.

With those details in mind, I want to zoom out to look at the big picture once again. Where are we headed and why?

Math: Place Value
This unit is taking time because not only are we teaching place value, but we're assessing students' current math knowledge, concept, and skill, teaching routines, and building a dynamic math teaching/learning community. To rush into the curriculum without this means less success overall. Further, to begin the place value unit in meaningful ways, I'm making the time to relay context, rationale, and meaning--why should we study the base-ten place value system and where does this system fit into the overall math context. For example, yesterday students had the opportunity to watch a couple of short videos about the history of the base-ten place value system, a history that shows students that the base-ten numerals were an amazing invention, an invention that allows us to make numbers infinitely large and small, positive and negative. Next we'll look at the idea of systems, and why the base-ten place value system is a system. After that we'll analyze the parts of the system, and then look deeply at the behavior of this valuable number system. All of this learning takes lots of practice and considerable time, however, a good, deep focus sets the stage for units to come.

Class Community
Today we'll tighten up the rules and protocols that set the stage for a kind, caring, and helpful class community. I'll slow down and deepen the teaching and learning and make expectations explicit in order to support our wonderful community of amazing students.

We've set the stage for great STEAMwork and students are eager to engage in this student-friendly and engaging learning. The next project is set to go, and we'll start that next Wednesday.

Next week and the week after that as teachers we'll focus in on science teaching and then bring that teaching back to our students. I know that students will really enjoy our new units of science study and learn a lot.

Our organization patterns are continuing to take shape. I'm getting used to the new student information system, and learning how to deal with the snags that the new system, like anything new, presents. I'm working with students to receive needed parent forms and information too. Soon I'll create student/family lists from student surveys and support students' showcase portfolio completion in preparation for upcoming parent/student conferences.

Professional Efforts
Mainly my professional efforts are focused in on what happens with students in classrooms. I'll bring that focus to the many professional workshops, meetings, reading, and study I engage in.