Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Outlook and Today's Efforts

I typically like to be thinking about the future while I'm completing the day's tasks. I've read the reports about multitasking and I don't agree. I think that we can often work with parallel efforts for today and tomorrow at the same time. It depends what kind of work you are doing. So today while I'm xeroxing lab reports, passing out plastic cups, and prepping the science modeling station, I'll be thinking about the next steps in the school year and the efforts to come, efforts that include the following:

Sound Lab
Since I'm responsible for the physical science standards, that means I have to review standards that are not part of the fifth grade standards and standards that students will be responsible for on the MCAS. One area included in that is sound, so I'll be prepping a fun lab related to sound.

Science Research and Test
Students are responsible for taking a science test related to each area of the science curriculum. I'll create a practice test and final test using Google forms. The tests will include all the standards and be designed to work as a teaching test which means that as students take the tests, they learn. The practice test will carefully lead them through the language and choices, while the final test will include similar questions, but those questions will be more direct. Students will be able to take the tests as many times as they want to end up with a score they are proud of--the goal here is learning, not to get a grade.

Students have a long term science project and I want to create a simple rubric to match the project expectations. Next week they'll have some time to work on that project which does not have to be that sophisticated, but instead had been created to help students focus in on the essential questions of the unit.

Math Unit Four
We've had a very slow start to math unit four for lots of reasons. I'm looking forward to a good start to this unit, and don't want to rush it as the information students will learn is integral to the units that come after that.

Math RTI
On Friday we have a math RTI meeting planned. I plan to do a lot of listening at the meeting so that I understand systemwide efforts in this regard.

Thank You Notes and Student Surprise
I've been holding on to student thank you notes and a student surprise for a time when we can have a good class meeting. I'm hoping we'll find time for that soon.

TPL Meeting
I'm looking forward to this meeting mostly to show gratitude for the greater work the leaders of this group have been doing--the MTA professional learning division is really reaching out to support educators in countless positive ways. This is a tremendous resource for the state's teachers.

There's a bit of paperwork to complete related to the flu shot and tripship forms. Putting the field trip payment online saved a lot of time recently. Of course progress reports are due by midnight tonight. I suspect there will be a lot of tired teachers tomorrow.

Math Presentation for ATMIM
I'll work on this as time permits in the next month.

Writing Grant Proposals
I'll do some research this weekend and draft the reports to share, edit, and enrich with colleagues next week.

Friendship Week
I'll work with colleagues to forward this week the week before vacation and the week of Valentine's Day.

Portfolio Week
We'll prep those portfolios during the first two weeks after vacation. Colleagues and I will work on this and lead the students through multiple reflective activities as they prepare to present their learning highlights at the spring parent-student-teacher conference.

Local Union Bylaws
We're working to redraft these. I want to get all my notes together over the February break so that a colleague and I can begin some earnest work to get the final draft ready for the Board's edit, and eventually the membership vote probably next fall.

Professional Learning
The online special ed course I signed on to take didn't work again (I've tried three times), so now I'm on the lookout for a in-person course. I'll likely take a summer course via the MTA or a summer math institute that has been highly recommended to me. I've got a number of professional books to read too and I'll likely read those over the summer since the schedule of work to do now is already looking quite long. Further I applied once again for a couple of NEH Institutes that really interest me. I hope I get into one of those as they are terrific learning opportunities. Further over the summer, I'll review and build on this year's science and math teaching efforts, and probably learn to teach a new social studies unit related to the new standards as well.

Next Year
Overall I believe this has been a powerful year of teaching with our shared teaching model. We will likely build the model and teaching even more in the months ahead. Some ideas we will discuss will include the new social studies standards, this year's efforts to teach the new science standards, special education-regular education coordination, class make-up, field studies, special events, and more.

The list is long, but very positive. There's a lot of good learning and teaching ahead. Now it's time to get the final stages of the lab ready for today's learning.