Sunday, September 24, 2017

Week Four: 2017-2018 School Year

The schedule is beginning to take shape, and that means the planning will become more targeted in the days ahead. Targeted teaching and learning means making the time for the most essential teaching, leading, and coaching for every child, and those targets continually change as students demonstrate varying interests and needs. A day of play and good rest allows me to focus in on the teaching ahead with greater detail in the writing below.

TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More
This week we'll revisit the focus on team as we complete the marshmallow-spaghetti challenge again. I'll use the resources on this team page, plus the pictures from the last challenge to jumpstart the event. Later in the week students will reflect on the teaming and learning from this event.

Buddies: Students Teach Too
We'll also focus on learning in many ways this week including how to teach our kindergarten buddies about ones and tens in base-ten. Fifth graders will practice finger-counting with the kindergartners, and then they'll make a tens-chain up to 100 with strips of finger counters.

SEL: Open Circle
The week will find us at our first open circle where we'll again talk about teamwork. In general, the group is learning how to work as a team and respect one another's needs and focus as well as the learning/teaching focus of the class. The school counselor will lead us in this discussion in a big circle in the school cafeteria.

Math: Facts, Place Value and Assessment
Math will focus on facts and place value. We'll start with a discussion about short-term and long-term memory, and how placing those math facts solidly in the long term memory helps with math learning. Then I'll tell them that the results of their first facts quiz demonstrated where they are on this learning curve, and that this week's home study will help them gain greater mastery over this learning challenge. I'll give another set of online quizzes next Friday to see who is making progress, and differentiate the assignments and support in this mastery endeavor accordingly in the weeks ahead.

We'll also begin to focus with greater depth on place value. We'll discuss the concept of systems, and then discuss the base-ten place value system. We'll see a film on the history and creation of this system, and then make models of the system parts and behavior.

Students will take the Track My Progress and Symphony Math assessments this week too. These assessments along with class work, the place value pre-assessment, and other scores, informal assessments, conversation, and observation will help us to target the teaching and learning in student-friendly, positive ways.

Read Aloud: Metaphor for Life's Journey
Our read aloud will continue as we watch the young Merlin develop and change over time. We've already discussed how resilience and dreams can push a person forward even when times are tough. This week we'll focus a little more on the people that impact your journey as Young Merlin otherwise known as Hawk in Yolen's trilogy begins to travel with Ambrosious, the mage and mountebank, and Vivianne, his accomplice. We've made connections in this story to Harry Potter particularly since young Merlin is born of mortal and immortal parents.

STEAM: Solar Ovens
We'll embark on the solar oven creation project this week too. Working with partners, students will build a solar oven out of a pizza box and measure the increasing temperature of water in that solar oven. Next week students will have the chance to improve their designs and cook s'mores in their ovens. This should be a fun project!

Team, Learning, and Leadership Events 
The week also includes today's systemwide Family Cook-Out, grade-level team meetings focused on scheduling, projects, and field studies, the school Faculty Senate meeting, DESE's Teacher Advisory Council meeting, and the High School Back-to-School Curriculum Night (my son's in high school). All of these events will contribute to team and optimal teaching/learning focus too.