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Monday, June 25, 2018

Significance: Decisions that Matter

These are great questions to lead your good work as a teacher.
There are always multiple avenues to consider, and we all need filters when it comes to these considerations--what are we going to focus on and what will we dismiss. To do this well we may want to think about significance--what is significant?

As I think ahead to 2018-2019, I continue to try to refine my focus to teaching that is significant, teaching that will result in the following success criteria:
  • happy, engaged students
  • good progress with all expected academic and SEL standards and goals
  • students who set goals, track their progress towards goals, and revise, modify, and enrich those goals as needed
  • engaging standards-based learning experiences that include a just-right challenge for every student
To do this well means that it will be important that I focus on these significant efforts:
  • scaffolded, collaborative standards-based project/problem based math activities that embed the math practices as students explore, problem solve, explain with pictures, numbers, and words, self-edit, peer-edit, teacher-edit, revise and present. This effort essentially means taking the good lessons that exist and making sure they are scaffolded, include hands-on activities, are led by a question/problem, and require a solution that includes a picture/photo/model-written-numbered solution which is edited, revised, published, and shared. 
  • standards-based science, STEAM, and environmental education lab reports that both lead, teach, and aptly promote students' academic and SEL learning efforts with opportunities for teacher/student explanations, feedback, and response. 
  • math reflection journals which require students to regularly reflect on their math learning with key vocabulary, math models, related expressions and equations, and explanations. 
  • formal and informal assessment to determine progress and needs on a regular basis.
  • a kind, collaborative, and compassionate classroom community that invites positive learning and caring relationships. 
  • positive, healthy routine of meaningful learning experiences, time for feedback/analysis, class meetings, explicit focus, adequate rest and care. 
As I zero in on these goals, I realize that the key will be to stick to these main teaching/learning events with care to help students learn in engaging ways as active leaders of their own learning. In this way they will know where they are related to learning/teaching goals and where they need or want to be. As their teacher and coach, I will help them achieve the goals set. 

Many, many decisions are made in schools everyday. There's no way that one teacher can be apart of all of these decisions, and that's why it's important to zero in on where you can have the best effect and where you can make an impact that matters.

This one word capsulated my teaching focus for 2018-2019