Wednesday, April 25, 2018

New Learning: Curriculum Changes

Changing and updating the curriculum takes time, energy, and attention.

Yesterday the students and I used a new material and lesson to explore volume. In all, the lesson was a success, but as I noted in yesterday's post, with hands-on explorations that involve a class of 25 or more, there needs to be explicit instructions about set-up, the learning process, and clean-up. You can't expect that students will naturally understand what needs to happen so that all 25 or 26 students can partake successfully with the activity. Once the explicit directions are given, then students have the freedom to explore, create, and problem solve--that's the fun part and the good learning.

Today I'll complete the same volume exploration with the third math class, and I'll lead another class with a couple of new science activities--activities that involve a fair amount of materials and the need for collaborative work. The project/problem solving work demands good collaboration, and that's a skill in progress throughout our lives and one where there's lots of potential for good coaching at fifth grade.

As I develop the curriculum program to better meet student engagement and new research, there are many new learning endeavors to lead, coach, and facilitate. With each of these endeavors, there's substantial new learning too. Also there's a fair amount of error since new learning is never perfect.

The local grant source has generously granted my team the money to turn my classroom into a co-lab, a collaborative lab for mainly math and science learning. I'm excited about the new tables and cabinets we'll receive to support this. I'm also excited to grow the kind of collaborative skills and project/problem solving learning that will go along with this.

New learning makes the job more interesting and successful, but it can also be challenging at times too. Onward.