Sunday, 28 October 2007

The Teaching-Learning Circle

Its the end of the first quarter. I feel like I had the time to get ready for the first quarter during the last periods of quiet of the summer. Now, I am challenged to reflect in the chaos of October - the Halloween season. So, here I am looking forward to the second quarter.

What have I learned about my students?
What have I done well in my teaching?
What kind of experiences do they need now?
Do I set goals in each area?
How much time do I have to do this anyway?

The Halloween costumes have been made (pieced together really, don't get any grand ideas.) So, I do have some time today. The challenge now is to use the time and not get all caught up in the anxiety of Sunday.

So here I go:

What have I learned about my students?
They love to learn. My first six weeks have trained them in routines that help us to practice good literacy habits. I picked up the book about the essential five parts of literacy instruction last week. Sorry I can't think of the title at this point. Thinking back on the first six weeks of school I do feel like every day the children were engaged in important literacy. The majority of them have learned to be somewhat self-directed. I have tried to get some time to talk with each of them every day. After taking two weeks just to do running records, I am finally meeting with them to talk about their reading during their self selected time. They are starting to show me some of their preferences so I can make more recommendations. This week I have to look for books on cars, stories from "way back when" etc. I still need to have more baskets of books in organized categories for them. My library books are getting stale and I can tell they are ready to rotate through a new batch of books on display. They are incredible writers. I try to do a "coffee shop" sharing every Friday. They love this! It totally motivates them to write for each other.

What Have I Done Well in My Teaching?
I think I have worked hard on helping them to love using language in meaningful ways. They are singing, writing, reading, speaking without fear or intimidation. Now comes the time I sneak in with my observations to try and give them pointers through my modeling and personal conversations. Then we will see through more observations. The circle continues.

What kind of experiences do they need now?
I think they need more modeling in writing. They have great reading experiences. Now, I think I could model more writing in each subject area. Maybe I have them write about reading heavily for the next quarter. Then the third and fourth quarters will be heavier in writing in science, social studies and math in addition to the areas they are already writing in.

How Much Time Do I have to Do This Anyway?
I am giving myself this week to do report cards, plan for the next quarter and teach at the same time. I figure, if I have all my stuff together for report cards, I can spend my creative energy in planning. The more routine I keep things during the week of Halloween, the better.

I just hope I am not setting my standards too high - a reoccurring theme for me. Here's to some balance and hopefully a good week.

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