Saturday, September 21, 2019

Next week's focus: Last week in September 2019

It's true, the 68 children I teach and the many colleagues I work with have infiltrated my thoughts, dreams, and daily work--I woke up thinking about how to better plan the week to make space for every child's needs as well as for apt collegial efforts.

We have a terrific grade-level team with many, many dedicated staff members, families, and students. Now the key is to revise the schedule in ways that accommodate students' individual needs and interests more, and to maximize the collective teaching efforts of all the staff involved. What will we do?

Push in or Push out
This week we'll work to focus on best times to push in and push out with instruction which means when does a child learn best in the busy room of 22 students and 2 or more adults and when does a child learn best in a more quiet space with less people. Fortunately we have the staffing to make some of this possible. I looked at the schedule and based on last week's observations, during some of the noisier, more collaborative activities, I'll give a few children the choice to work in a quieter space with a lower teacher-student ratio. I think those students will prefer that choice.

Time to Talk and Process
There were a few issues that occurred last week during the busyness of classroom life, issues that I could not easily attend to for a number of reasons including the fact that I was taking care of many and orchestrating a number of activities at the same time. We have time and staffing in the schedule that makes time for deeper, more targeted conversation with individuals about more serious issues--issues that require more than a five minute conflict resolution. We'll plan those talks so we can deal with a few issues while those issues are small.

Student Study Review
The students have worked hard on a number of efforts since the start of school, and I need to make time this weekend to review that work. I want to see who is following along and who may have misunderstandings or did not make the time to complete the assignments. Then I'll follow up with those students to see how we might help them complete the needed practice. In some cases we may need to provide extra help and in other cases it may mean that we simply have to modify or enrich the expectations. A review is the first step to determining this.

Room Renovation
I write about this all the time. The room's basic set-up works well, but there's a need to clean up and re-organize a few corners and spaces. I'll work on that with help from the students next week as well. The classroom continually requires change and updating as the learning year moves along.

Take the Job Seriously
Every choice we make and act we do as educators matter. It's important to take the structures, opportunities, and expectations in place seriously and work within that framework to help every child learn with as much depth, engagement, and success as possible.