Saturday, September 29, 2018

Weekend Musings: Teaching Well

We seem to be busier than ever at school, but the busyness is mostly associated with great goals and really positive endeavor. What's taking our time?

First, I'm digging into my goal of improving student feedback loops to encourage better learning experiences. That means solidifying a routine that works for all students. Currently the routine includes a weekly review packet, online assessments and exercises, classroom coaching/teaching, and individualized support, enrichment, and modification.

In the week ahead, I want to think carefully about the following:
  • Reviewing students' packets for accuracy, precision, and positive learning goals/practice
  • Helping all students to understand and complete the learning routines
  • Providing more individualized support for those that need a different approach, reteaching, or enrichment in specific areas.
I'm also working with colleagues to embed multiple science standards using the 5 E's approach into our environmental study experiences. This involves preparing a number of learning experiences, charting our efforts, teaching and responding to the students, engaging in the efforts, then reflecting and building upon what we have done so far. Over the summer and in the past two weeks we started this effort by setting goals and communicating with Mass Audubon Drumlin Farm Naturalist Educators about the focus of this study, engaging in related learning experiences, taking a nature hike as educators, working with the team to outline the study, and now working on all the related details. This is deep and rewarding work that will result in robust learning for students.

The year's start also involves supervising a talented student teacher and working as part of a dynamic teaching team. Our meetings have been long and worthwhile as we find ways to work with one another, support one another, and together meet the needs of all the fifth graders. This work takes a lot of good time each week and I expect that our efforts will result in very good attention and care for each and every fifth grade student.

There's a professional learning event coming up which has not been shared with us yet so I expect that I'll learn about that in the days to come. I find that good lead time for these events helps educators to be prepared and make the most of the learning. Often when the related information is last minute, the learning potential is compromised. That's why we try to stay ahead with communication to families with regard to the fifth grade program. With lead time, families can better support the program, ask related questions, and provide needed resources and other information to make the teaching and learning successful. 

Now it's time for more detail-related research and prep to support the learning for the week ahead, learning that will be apart of a robust, holistic program for all students. Onward.