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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Strategic, Holistic Teaching

When we observe students closely in a number of formal and informal ways, we learn about the supports they need to learn more and better. Once the initial observations and assessments are done, it's time to think strategically about how to best help those students gain a strong foundation in concept, knowledge, skill, and interest.

Today I looked at a host of scores, and in the past ten days, I've observed the students a lot. Now it's time for the team to work together strategically to prioritize and teach well. What do we have to do?

All Hands on Deck in Purposeful Ways
We are fortunate to work in a school that has substantial staffing and support, and the challenge here is to utilize our collective time and energy in ways that matter. This requires transparent goal setting, scheduling, and time-on-task with students.

Prioritizing
As we look at students' programming, we need to prioritize. For example, if you're a specialist working with an at-risk student who cannot read well, that's likely to be a first priority. If that student faces similar challenges socially, you may think about how you can build reading fluency and social skills at the same time. Or if you're working with math students, and find that some have little foundation in number sense, that's likely to be the place where you start.

Looking Ahead
As we look ahead, we know what's most important is that children learn how to learn, and retain confidence, a love of learning, and engagement all along the way. How we teach today will impact children tomorrow, and that's why a holistic lens and effort is imperative. We want to mentor, coach and guide children ahead in positive, holistic ways so they may clearly see and maximize their strengths as well as learn how to strategically work on their challenges.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Tomorrow: Directing the Teaching/Learning Path

Tomorrow is day 10 of the school year.  We've done a lot already, and now it's time to play catch-up to make sure that everyone has completed early year projects and learning efforts, endeavor mostly aimed at getting to know one another, building good relationships, and introducing initial learning/teaching patterns.

During the next few days, I want to focus on individuals--who is completing tasks and who is not? What do students need to achieve good learning and success? It's also a time to focus on routine--what's working well and what needs a bit of change to work better.

Essentially we're building a team, and preparing to learn as positively as possible in the days ahead.

Changing Patterns

Changing patterns is not easy, but it is often a good thing to do.

It's inevitable that we have to change patterns regularly, and it's best to take the time a new pattern requires in order to embed that pattern into your routine.

Too often we think that patterns can be quickly and easily changed, and don't give our children, students, or other family members the time time they need for the change.

In school this year, I'm paying a lot of attention to patterns. I'm watching carefully how students engage with the new school year's patterns, and making changes and providing more practice when needed.

I know that embedding good routines and patterns creates time for greater depth and focus with learning, teamwork, and engagement, so I'll continue to think about this and give the changing patterns the time it deserves in the days ahead.