Sunday, December 30, 2018

Teaching Well: The Focus of the New Year

My blog is a bit of a broken record as I continue to focus on same goals in the teaching/learning sphere, yet these goals are important and not easy to reach hence they remain the mainstay of my work.

A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place
As my teaching morphs, so does the learning environment. As much as possible I want the learning environment to be a student-friendly environment where students can easily access all the wonderful teaching/learning materials available to strengthen learning on their own and with others. This is a goal that continually evolves as I refine the materials available and teach students how to access, use, and care for those materials. As much as possible, I want my learning environment to be a studio/lab environment that promotes optimal creativity, making, collaboration, inquiry, exploration, and meaningful learning.

Deep, Meaningful, Engaging Math Study
The goal is to teach the standards and more via multiple deep, meaningful, and engaging activities. I know that learning like this is memorable and successful. The challenge here is to design the best possible learning events, events that scale from floor to ceiling with respect to reach and events that children want to study in school and beyond school hours. The greatest challenge in this work is to be able to design these learning activities so that students master, extend, and enrich the content in ways that nurture a love of learning as well as learning success.

Engaging, Collaborative, Successful Science Teaching
As my classroom morphs into an engaging laboratory of inquiry, exploration, and learning, I want the science teaching to also move in that direction. Science teaching requires a lot of thought, study, and set up--it's not a simple proposition in the elementary school day or environment. I hope to use last year's work and website as a starting point and then dig into the many materials and resources available to make this study more engaging and successful for all students. Students LOVE learning science and the challenge is to facilitate this in ways that result in mastering multiple standards, whetting students' appetite for more science study, and increasingly inspiring students' independent ability to manage and extend their own science learning.

Classroom Community
As the book Timeless Learning promotes, I want to become even better at kidwatching and responding. I want to know my students well, listen to their interests and needs, and respond in ways that empower their ability and interest in learning well. I also want to help students gain the social emotional skills, attitudes, and attributes that leads to optimal teamwork and collaboration. I want children to enjoy coming to school and I want the to see the classroom and school as their home away from home, a place where they are invited to learn in ways that are meaningful and engaging as they study content and complete projects in multiple disciplines.

Teamwork and Collaboration
In addition to kidwatching, I want to carefully observe and respond to colleagues, families, and other members of the learning community. I want to think carefully about what I can do to develop my ability to team with others to help make our teaching/learning community a successful, positive, and happy community.

To do this work well requires that I'm happy, energized, and healthy--this requires a positive at-home as well as in-school routines. Nutritious food, time for healthy activity, rest, and enjoyment all prepare me well to teach in meaningful, positive ways. A good personal routine is essential to teaching well.

The focus is not new, but remains an essential menu of what I hope to do in the year ahead to reach the goals set, goals that help me to teach math and science well in addition to contributing to and forwarding a positive, proactive learning community, family, and home.