Friday, April 19, 2019

The path ahead: Spring 2019

In many ways educators coach themselves ahead. This happens mostly because of the busyness that is school--there are many people to serve, and time is scarce to do the good coaching for one another. I think there's lots of room for improvement including efforts such as these:
  • Re-looking at and revising school roles, structure, and routines
  • Making expectations more explicit, reasonable, and matched to overall objectives
  • Greater distributive leadership and inclusive vision setting
  • Establishing and promoting schools as learning communities where educators, families, students, administrators, and community members play vital roles in doable ways
That said, I want to focus on my role in the days ahead and what that means for the good work possible.

Math Program
Students will engage in a state-created unit on fractions and computational thinking. It's a well-vetted and created unit that I'm excited to teach. After that they'll review for a systemwide test, then take that test, another systemwide assessment, and MCAS tests. I'll teach them the strategies that will help them do their best and encourage them to do their best on these assessments. I'll later analyze their performance and results looking for where the program hit the mark this year and where we can do better next year.

Students will embark on their Survival STEAM Series which is a number of STEAM learning experiences that involve making water filters, solar ovens, and plant packets. I'll connect this work to survival which fits nicely with many recent news stories, the book Hatchet which many students are reading, and students' natural curiosity and interest about what it means to survive on their own. During these learning experiences students will use multiple materials to apply the science, tech, and engineering standards to design, create, test, and revise their efforts.

Fifth Grade Play
I'll support the music teachers' and students' efforts for this wonderful grade-level performance--a performance that illustrates the strengths of project-based learning, learning that allows every child to contribute in shine in unique and positive ways. This performance also teaches children what it means to be a positive team member and what the awesome results of optimal teamwork look like.

Global Changemakers Project
I'll help students read, take notes, write about, present, and understand the lives of the global changemaker they've decided to study with depth. This is an intense, deep project that results in students' greater skill, knowledge, and understanding of the world around them. 

Climate Change Projects
I'll give students the time they need to complete and present their wonderful projects, projects that will help all of us to live and work with an Earth-friendly mindset and actions. 

Boston Walking Tour
I'll support students' day-long tour through historic Boston, a tour led by a knowledgeable docent who will teach children about the history of our country via multiple stories and visits to notable landmarks in the city.

Professional Learning and Activity
I'll work to shore up the learning materials and supports for all the learning experiences listed above. I'll also spend time with my team planning for next year and completing reports related to this year's efforts and student achievement.

Professional Demeanor and Home/School Balance
It's so important to have a good professional and respectful demeanor--this is sometimes a challenge in busy school culture that, at times, calls you to do more and be more than is humanly possible. Yet despite the challenge, it is essential to be ethical, respectful, and professional at all times. A good healthy home/school balance that includes nutritious foods, healthy activity, plenty of rest, and some away-from-school fun and recreation supports this positive ethical, respectful, professional mindset and actions. This is essential to the good work possible. Ways to support these efforts in your school life include the following:
  • wait time - don't feel like you have to answer all questions or requests immediately. It's often better to wait until you have the time to think and consider questions and requests with peaceful, restful time.
  • questioning - don't jump to judge or respond, but instead use questioning to clearly understand situations before judging the situation or responding.
  • less said - listen more than talk. Make time to listen carefully to what's happening, what's requested, or what's said. Be specific with your words and questions.
  • research - make time to collect and organize evidence that supports your requests, questions, needs as good evidence helps you to create claims and arguments that others understand and can support
  • reasonable - don't over estimate what you can do, but instead establish a good routine and reasonable expectations for your work and effort. 
  • good collaborators - choose the people you collaborate with and the efforts you commit to carefully. When you surround yourself with good people, you have the support your need to do a good job.
There's a couple more days to enjoy the vacation and rest up for the good teaching and learning ahead.  Making the time to establish a plan and remind yourself of the good work and guidelines you want to support will help you to make the final leg of the year a successful and profitable time for you, colleagues, students, and families.