Monday, April 20, 2020

School Days Spring 2020: Thinking Ahead

I love to combine physical work with good ideas and plans to think about. So today as I do the labor of making backyard and container gardens, I'll think about what needs to be completed to have a positive end to this school year and a positive start to the next school year.

Academic Progress and Growth
Our team will continue to promote positive academic progress and growth with two main focal areas including math achievement and the fifth grade signature biography project. The biography project includes reading, research, writing, and presentation. My colleagues have morphed the project to an online study event and our extended team of grade-level teachers will coach individuals and small groups ahead with this project. The other focus is math. Students have made terrific progress overall with math this year, and I'll focus on the areas left for deeper attention in the weeks ahead.

Fifth grade marks the final year of students' elementary years. The end of the year is marked by many special events. We'll likely hold on to some of these events whether school is open or not. Parents are busy working on yearbooks. I suspect we'll have some kind of car parade "clap-out" and a virtual fifth grade play/performance. I expect that parents may move the traditional pool party and picnic to late summer, if possible, to bring students together prior to their start at Middle School. Many people are involved in these decisions, but no matter what we do, we will certainly celebrate these wonderful fifth graders in unique and positive ways.

School Year 2020-2021
We'll have move-up day virtually or in person depending on state decisions made. I can imagine a virtual move-up day when fifth grade teachers meet with all upcoming fifth graders, and then move into Google Meet's new breakout rooms to talk to our homeroom students. We'll send a move-up letter with suggestions for summer study as well as an introduction to the fifth grade program.

Later in the summer, I'm sure that our teaching team will  meet on one or more occasions to discuss the year ahead. We had a great year this year, so I expect that we'll forward many of the same projects and activities that we included this year.

Classroom Set-Up
I left the room in fairly good order in March so I expect that I'll do some more work on the room at the end of the summer before the new school year starts. We'll have to think about how we'll help students retrieve their materials from this year. One idea I had was that students visit school one grade at a time at the end of the year if we don't return. That way we can say good-bye, play a game, clean up the room, and have some closure. That may be possible. Time will tell. If not possible, we'll probably have to invite fifth graders back at the end of August to retrieve their supplies and learning materials if they want.

This creates some structure for the thinking and doing in the days ahead. Onward.