Spring break is over for us and it is time to get ready for SOL testing! My Fifth grade class will need about two days to come off of ”vacation mode” but we have no time for that! My focus will be maximizing my allotted time for each subject and giving my students that maximum time to practice the material. I have an amazing bunch of students! I have been extremely lucky to have gotten the opportunity to loop up with them from last year to this year. Covid learning took a toll on our learning trajectory and that is why it is so critical to maximize the opportunity to learn hands on. When I state I will teach with the end in mind. My first ”go to” in lesson planning besides looking at the time allotted for each standard of learning, will be what is it that I am wanting them to learn? The Learning Intention and Success Criteria is a huge component of the lesson planning piece. It is also important to review all the material that will be used for the lessons including Google slides, videos, practice material. To be honest, this is not something that I have always done before hand. I would start the lesson material and view it for the first time with my students. This often left me unprepared and scrambling for more information or practice material that aligned with it in case I had students who were more advanced and moved faster than their peers, or students who needed a little bit more practice.
If you have student notes to go along with the lesson plan, prepare them ahead of time for your students. I know that my students still need to practice taking notes, but I remain in control with the material and time allotted. If I did not control the time it would literally take them thirty minutes for one paragraph of notes, and that is not effective. What I will often do is create an Anchor chart and have them put that in their interactive composition notebook. I always have them use colored pencils during this time because ”color” brings life to the paper and to the brain for remembering.
There has been much debate as to whether we need to add more time onto the school day in regards to teaching students. Our school district has allotted to start school before Labor Day after many years of starting the school year the day after Labor Day. As a teacher of elementary school age students and a student enrolled in a Leadership course At Liberty University my position is that we do not need to add more time to the school day.
I have learned over the years that teaching curriculum with fidelity is a key to academic success. When my lesson is inadequately prepared, I can waste minutes or hourse of academic time allotments looking for things to cover, or researching material to go over with my students. Effective planning and preparation before the lesson leads to many valuable minutes and teaching opportunities added to my lesson time. I prepare student notes for my students, because I have learned that a lot of valuable time is spent having students copy notes that I can provide for effective study material. I do allow students to copy anchor charts and brief notes in their notebooks as we go, but the main core of note-taking is made before hand. I also share my students notes with their parents as well.
In terms of note taking, the Cornell method is an effective way for students to stay organized and the use of the bullet summary method works well for my Fifth grade students.
I do offer tutoring for my students during the school year. I offer intervention during one resource period for my tier three students and our elementary school is participating in an after school enrichment program. We also make this an opportunity to review criteria that student need help with after reviewing their data. Most of the intervention that takes place is in math and science.
Teaching is a ministry, and it is important for teachers to manage their time effectively outside of the classroom. It is imperative that our lessons are planned, but it is also important that we recognize time outside of the classroom is important for nurturing self-care to avoid teacher burnout.