Friday, March 22, 2019

Friday Musings: March 22, 2019

It was a varied, busy week at our school. There wasn't a second of down time in the school and nearly a second of down time before and after school, yet all in all it was a positive week filled with math review and practice, science experiments, reading, and writing for our grade-level team, TeamFive.

The past few weeks have been extra busy due to the student-led family/educator conferences. While the conferences, I believe, are essential, they do require lots of time which means they tip the scale a bit in terms of not having enough time to do all the usual preparation, teaching, and response required on a weekly basis. I actually think that a better way to do conferences would be to dedicate two weeks a year as reflection weeks--during these weeks students and teachers would spend time reflecting in age-appropriate ways on the year so far. Then following the reflection period there would be two days set aside for student-led conferences that last 30 minutes each. With classes of 24 students that means 6 hours of conferences a day. I believe this is a more reasonable way to prepare for and include conferences which are a valuable component of the elementary school program.

With a busy weekend ahead, I want to think for a few minutes about the week ahead so I can then attend to the weekend's agenda:

Math Practice, Assessments, and Math Tech
Students will continue their fraction practice as they prepare for the unit test. Then at the end of the week, they'll return to some of the math tech expectations as they work to complete those tasks.

Science Assessment
Students will take an open-book science assessment that reviews all the physical science standards we've covered through numerous hands-on explorations. This will help them to solidify their grade-level physical science knowledge. They can take the online assessment with friends and as many times as they would like as a way to master the information.

Book Fair
Students will have a chance to visit the book fair and buy books if they would like. I'll send out a reminder to parents about this early in the week.

Reading Groups
My small reading group will likely finish the book we're reading this week. I have really enjoyed looking at the many ways that we can understand all the details in a story via visualization, asking questions, highlighting the main events, making connections, and discussing the story with this group.

Family/Teacher/Student Conferences
There's still a few more conferences on the agenda.

Professional Meetings
There's at least one and potentially two teacher meetings on the agenda.

Professional Efforts and Learning
I'll be organizing and assessing students' efforts on the fraction assessment and focusing in on two classroom questions:
  • What did we do this year that are definitely keepers for next year?
  • What classroom materials are a must and how are they best organized?
Answering these two questions will help me to organize the room, prepare order lists, and ready for the end-of-year clean up which I like to get started on prior to the hot, tired days of June.

Teachers' days are busy, varied days--to make a little time each week to collect your thoughts and focus on the what you've done and what's to come sets the stage for good teaching and learning. Onward.